WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org – Product Review
Why We Transferred to WordPress.org
When we first started PhotoBotos.com, it was intended to be a platform for Charlie to post his images and receive feedback from the Community. Since then, we have been on a ride that was completely unexpected. Over the course of a couple weeks, PhotoBotos went from “Charlie’s Online Photo Album” to a site that amazing photographers from around the world wanted to share their images on (kudos to Charlie). Not only that, but, we also acquired a huge following of people from all walks of life that would come to PhotoBotos everyday to “Travel With Us”. Essentially, we unknowingly created an open forum in which ideas are exchanged, images are showcased, products are reviewed, etc. Given the aforementioned, we decided that the permanent direction of the website would be to find the best photos of the most amazing places and share them with our incredible Community….. unfortunately, we felt that WordPress.com was going to hold us back from accomplishing this and that is why we switched to WordPress.org.
PhotoBotos.com has been using WordPress.org for several days now and wanted to take a few minutes to answer the questions that we have been receiving on the transition. For us, initially, we perceived the move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org as a HUGE ordeal and exhausted ourselves researching the pros and cons of moving. We kept asking ourselves, “Why don’t we see any professional bloggers using the free WordPress.com platform for their blogs?” Well, there are a ton of reasons that we found for this and I will attempt to highlight them the best that I can here today.
I can summarize the downside of moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org in a couple quick paragraphs, which I will do below – in the meantime, let’s look at the main reasons that we choose to move to WordPress.org.
Where Did My Website Go?
What a scary thought!! Some people that I have talked to spend twenty minutes a week blogging while others are online 24-hours a day. What if you logged-in one day to find that your site had been removed and all of your content lost forever? WordPress.com has the ability to delete your site without notice and without backing it up. Needless to say this was a huge concern for us! We were worried that if we posted a photo that they didn’t approve of or if we had a string of uncensored comments that we didn’t get to in time, etc. then we might loose everything that we have worked so hard on.
As I mentioned above, we transitioned from a site that Charlie could post his photos on to a site that amazing photographers (Charlie included!) around the world want to post their photos on – with that being said, we feel that we have a great amount of responsibility to get the Featured Photographer’s photos out to the masses (somehow we turned into marketing guys!). WordPress.org gives us more freedom with plug-ins and our SEO optimization.
Coupon Codes are huge these days and WordPress.com won’t allow them. For those not familiar with coupon codes, a coupon code is entered at checkout when you purchase an item online – they typically give you a discount while paying a commission to the referrer. Now that we are rolling out a lot of Product Reviews, it only makes sense to pass along any codes that we can obtain for our Community. Why pay more than you have to? Coupon Codes create a win-win situation.
Affiliate Programs and Advertising
These are two more things that WordPress.com keeps a tight grip on. You are allowed to be an Amazon.com Affiliate to a certain extent but there are a lot of horror stories out there about bloggers overstepping the boundaries that WordPress.com has set up and they get their blog shut down. As far as advertising goes, WordPress.com is rolling out WordAds but you have little control over the content.
We realize that we aren’t going to become millionaires on PhotoBotos, but, we do want to have the ability to Affiliate with companies. A good example of why we want to Affiliate was brought up in a conversation the other day… Suppose someone offline asks us for a good book and we make a recommendation. There is a good chance they might go to the book store and buy it – same premise here… but by buying it through PhotoBotos we can make a couple pennies for each dollar spent.
See those Amazon.com search boxes in the left column? Let’s say you search for a “Digital Camera” (or “Dress”, “Kindle”, “Magazine Subscriptions”, etc.) and then make a purchase after you are redirected to Amazon. PhotoBotos will earn a couple of pennies for every dollar that you spend on Amazon without any additional money coming out of your pocket. Who wouldn’t want to have that on their website? If you had a search box on your website we would go through you prior to buying something from Amazon!! (You aren’t allowed to use your own!)
I use Google Analytics a ton for my “real job” as a marketing director. It is similar to “Site Stats” on WordPress but has a lot more information and gives you a much better understanding of what people do when they come to your website. Since our goal is to promote our Featured Photographers as much as possible it is very important for us to know where people are coming from, what page they started on, what page they left from, how much time they spent on the site, what operating system they are using, etc. Don’t worry, it is not as “Big Brother” as it sounds, but, it does help to know basic information about your viewers to make their experience as great as possible.
WordPress.org is not much different than WordPress.com
See that screenshot down there? Look familiar? Everything is basically the same except you have more options such as Plug-ins, etc. I know a lot of people are worried that they will have to become a computer coding genius in order to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Well, worry no more because now you know that it is almost the same in either place.
The Downsides of Transferring to WordPress.org
Money. You have to spend money! Not a lot of money, but, it costs money. You have to subscribe to a new host which can cost as little as $6.95 per month. You also have to start paying for Akismet (the spam guard for your comment section). We are paying $5 per month for our new Akismet subscription.
We don’t have a “Like” button anymore on our posts! We were receiving about 500 “Likes” for each post everyday. It was great but, unfortunately, WordPress.org doesn’t allow the Community to “Like” posts.
Besides the two points above, we don’t have any other complaints about moving over to WordPress.org.
The Transfer Process
Talk about an easy process! Here are the steps that we took:
- Signed up at BlueHost for a hosting package (we choose Pro for about $20/month)
- Went to the “Store” in our WordPress.com Dashboard and purchased a Guided Transfer – we felt more comfortable with a WordPress.com “Happiness Engineer” transferring our blog over to the new host.
- The day after we purchased the Guided Transfer we received an email from a Happiness Engineer asking what day we wanted to transfer over to BlueHost – he also asked for our BlueHost password.
- On the day of the transfer we were told not to upload any new posts or make any changes to the website and at 2:00pm that day I received an email from the Happiness Engineer stating that they were going to start the transfer.
- At 2:30pm that same day, I received another email from the Happiness Engineer that the transfer had been completed. Wow! That was quick.
- The Happiness Engineer gave us a new link to where we Sign-In to our account and we were done.
Apparently, you can ask the Happiness Engineer that transferred the blog for you as many questions as you want for two weeks. Everything is basically the same so we haven’t had to ask him anything.
By transferring from WordPress.com to WordPress.org we gained a lot more freedom with PhotoBotos.com. Yes, it does cost money now, but, the out of pocket expenses should be recouped from advertising and affiliate programs. We no longer have to worry about potentially getting shut down and loosing all of our content and have access to tons of Plug-ins now.
WordPress.com is great, but, for our purposes, WordPress.org is far superior. If we would have known what we know now in the beginning we would have started with WordPress.org.
I hope that this has been helpful. Feel free to ask any questions about anything that I might have missed in the comment section. Don’t forget about that Amazon Search Box over there… hahaha
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