Wandersoul Co.

What Exactly *is* WordPress.org?

It turns out, they were right — no one hustles harder than someone who needs to make it work. This pandemic has hit all of us in different ways. I count myself among the lucky because the financial impacts of the virus have only just begun to affect me in tangible ways. When I realized that, I pouted for a minute, and momentarily (very momentarily — I’m talking mere minutes) put some of my bigger dreams on hold to search out a temporary, location-dependent part time job to keep me going. You know what though? Absolutely none of the local job listings I saw — no matter if I was well-qualified — gave me any kind of inspiration.

You know what does inspire me? The clients I work with, the adventures I take, the formerly 40-hr a week remote job that has had to cut my hours, but where I’m more passionate about my work than ever before. I’m not ready to give up my independence and freedom, and it turns out I have the tools right at my own fingertips to make my dreams come true.

I won’t go back to a job that locks me in one place, but instead I’ll show up right here in service of you, and I’ll continue to dial in the details of WordPress web design for some of the most magical people I know.

So let’s start at the beginning.. What exactly is WordPress.org? What does self-hosted mean, and what makes it different from WordPress.com?

I think this is one of the hardest things about website building to understand if you’re a unfamiliar. The learning curve felt so steep, until I actually made the leap and saw how easily customizable these sites could be. Making the jump from working within WordPress.com/Wix/Weebly to building self-hosted sites was one of the most difficult things I have had to learn when it comes to web design, and I think that’s simply because I couldn’t find an answer that really explained what the differences were. 

I want you to be informed about why a self-hosted WordPress website is right for your business. I’ve taken some creative liberty here but I think this analogy works:

Imagine your website is a house. Afterall, it’s the online address that houses your business.

Websites built on WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly & Squarespace are all pre-fabricated homes that are rented out in an HOA community. There are a lot of rules, you don’t own the place, you have very little say in the customization outside of the visible decorations you add. Sure, there are a few models to choose from, but in general they’re all similar and you’re only capable of changing the aesthetics. There’s very little maintenance cost because you call your landlord (WordPress.com/Wix/Weebly) when you have an issue.

Self-hosted websites are like custom built homes in the location of your choosing. You choose where to build (your hosting provider), you choose a strong foundation (WordPress.org), you make sure the nuts and bolts are high-end (Elementor) and you hire an interior designer to set you up with some great choices for customization (Astra or Hello theme). Once in a while the designer might need to hire out a contractor (plugin or custom CSS) to get the job done. You own it, the sky is the limit in terms of customization and you can have all the bells and whistles — two car garages, dual sinks, marble countertops, wet bar, movie theater room — you’d like. Maintenance costs are higher because you own it and have to pay to keep it in tip-top shape.

Imagine your website is a house. Afterall, it’s the online address that houses your business.

Websites built on WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly & Squarespace are all pre-fabricated homes that are rented out in an HOA community. There are a lot of rules, you don’t own the place, you have very little say in the customization outside of the visible decorations you add. Sure, there are a few models to choose from, but in general they’re all similar and you’re only capable of changing the aesthetics. There’s very little maintenance cost because you call your landlord (WordPress.com/Wix/Weebly) when you have an issue.

Self-hosted websites are like custom built homes in the location of your choosing. You choose where to build (your hosting provider), you choose a strong foundation (WordPress.org), you make sure the nuts and bolts are high-end (Elementor) and you hire an interior designer to set you up with some great choices for customization (Astra or Hello theme). Once in a while the designer might need to hire out a contractor (plugin or custom CSS) to get the job done. You own it, the sky is the limit in terms of customization and you can have all the bells and whistles — two car garages, dual sinks, marble countertops, wet bar, movie theater room — you’d like. Maintenance costs are higher because you own it and have to pay to keep it in tip-top shape.

The options, plugins and themes I mention above are the exact ones I use to build custom websites for my clients. We start with WordPress.org hosted on SiteGround — who have excellent customer service — then add Elementor (Pro), the Astra theme and a suite of plugins necessary to keep the website fast, safe & secure. Elementor offers customizable responsive settings, so we can be sure your website looks its best on desktop, tablet or mobile screens.

Who doesn't want a fully customizeable online home for their business?

If you’re magic too we might be a great fit for working together. Let’s have a chat and see how I can take your small business online today.

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