I’ve been asked to talk briefly to the pros and cons of WordPress, in the ODLT’s session on the RMIT Digital Ecosystem. Not all the elements of RMIT’s system could fit into a single seminar, so I appreciate the opportunity to talk about a thing that falls outside RMIT, and to quietly point to what we know of a wider realm of practice at DSC.
WordPress is not WordPress.com
The first thing to understand is the difference between WordPress and WordPress.com. WordPress is a content management system that is free software. WordPress.com is a blog/website hosting service using the WordPress content management system.
WordPress.com is simple but limited
Setting up and managing a blog and website using WordPress.com is relatively simple, but with that simplicity comes limitations. You can create pages and sub pages, menus, add and embed media, set up number of widgets and extensions, customise the design based on the layout template you choose, and register a domain name of your own. You generally can’t customise or extend your site beyond these things though, and many more advanced web publishers soon feel frustrated by them and want to try managing their own installation of WordPress.
Help for WordPress is a bit split up
It is in this difference between WordPress and WordPress.com that the biggest problem with using WordPress.com is found. The plethora of help resources spread across the web are spilt between help for managing your own installation of WordPress, or help in using WordPress.com services. They are different, but similar enough to frustrate everyone. If you’re using WordPress.com its better to stay within their help resources as much as possible.
You’ll end up doing more, running your own WordPress
Running your own installation of WordPress is more complicated than simply using WordPress.com services. Most people start with the .com service, and some decide to manage their own installation. While significant gains in flexibility, design and extended features can be found, along with those come significant overheads in managing and maintaining the installation.
Featured image: Wordcamp Bulgaria by Margarit Ralev on Wikimedia Commons