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WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
What is the difference?!
Starting a blog can be a bit overwhelming at times because there is soo much information to learn. A common mistake that I see bloggers from all over make, is choosing the wrong platform. They start their blog on wordpress.COM rather than wordpress.ORG. Choosing the right platform is very important for your blog’s success. There are a ton of great benefits that you are missing out on if you are using the .COM platform and I would hate for you to lose out. So I wrote a helpful article for you to understand the difference between the two platforms. I want you to explode your blog potential!
Aren’t they the same? Which one is better? What is the difference? Do I have to pay? What are the benefits? Can I make money? Can I use ads? How do I switch?
All of your common questions will be answered below!
This is a free blogging platform. You do not need to be self-hosted because WordPress.COM takes care of the hosting for you. Therefore, you do not have your own .com domain address.
Why do people use it?
People who write as a hobby will generally use a free blogging platform. This is because they do not have the intention of expanding and monetizing (make money) their blog. They get to write and WordPress takes care of the hard and dirty work. So using a free hosted platform such as wordpress.COM us suitable for their needs.
- They do not know the difference between the two WordPress platforms
- It is free (up to 3GB of storage)
- They do not have to worry about paying a hosting provider
- They do not have to handle dirty work
- It is easy and straightforward
- They do not plan to monetize
Why shouldn’t you use it?
If you blogging with the intention of turning it into a career, it is not a smart choice for your blog success. You are extremely limited in what you can do on the .COM platform.
- You can only use default themes
- You are not able to customize themes
- You cannot download plugins
- Limited SEO control
- Limited analytics: You are not allowed to use 3rd parties such as Google Analytics
- You cannot use an e-commerce to sell products
- You can not monetize your blog
- Their own ads are displayed on your website
- You have to pay for more features (that you get free on .ORG)
- It is free for only up to 3GB of storage
- The pricing upgrades are ridiculous and still limit you
- Your entire blog content is owned by WordPress so you lack full control
- You will never be able to have your very own custom domain name
It is a content management system (CMS), meaning it can create and manage digital content. WordPress.ORG is a free open source platform that requires you to be self-hosted.
Why people prefer WordPress.ORG rather than WordPress.COM
This is the more suitable option for bloggers who are planning to turn their blog into a career and bring in income doing so. It is also a wonderful option for normal business websites. It allows business owners who do not have coding knowledge, the ability to easily manage their own website. Using WordPress.ORG gives you all the control and makes it easier to manage.
So what makes WordPress.ORG better than WordPress.COM?
- You have full control over your website
- You can have your own domain name of your choice
- Branding freedom
- Ability to fully customize themes
- You can upload themes from 3rd parties
- There is a plugin for pretty much everything and wordpress.ORG allows you to download them
- Control over your sites SEO
- You can monetize your blog
- You can use your own advertisements and make money from them
- You can set up an e-commerce shop to sell products
- You can allow users to sign up for memberships to your site
I’m currently using WordPress.COM…how do I switch to WordPress.ORG?
Before you can make the switch you need to choose a hosting provider and domain name. I recommend using Bluehost. It is the #1 recommended host provider for WordPress. You will also get a free domain name for a year when you sign up. Therefore, you will only have to pay for your hosting. There is a 30-day money back guarantee and the hosting plans start as low as $3.95!
*Related: How to start a blog today!
If you already have a domain that is okay. Bluehost will allow you to import the one that you currently have and you can choose to pick your free one at a later time.
Step 1: Log into your WordPress.com site
Go to your dashboard>tools>export.
Step 2: Export
You will be taken to a page where you will need to choose your exporting option. You do not need to pay to export your content. I know you may be a little nervous right now since you have no idea what you are doing but don’t worry! Follow this tutorial step-by-step and you will be okay! This will all be worth it in the end!
So anyway, choose the free export option.
Now, you will need to choose what content you want to transfer. I recommend all content.
Then click the orange download export file button. It is going to download as an XML file with all of your old site content. You will need to upload to your new site.
Step 3: Download WordPress onto your site
When you sign up with Bluehost this process is made extremely easy for you. It is a one-click install onto your new site and that is it! For a more in-depth tutorial on getting set up with Bluehost click here.
Once you have signed up with Bluehost and have WordPress installed, it is time to upload your XML file from your previous site.
Step 4: Import XML file to the self-hosted site
On your new site, make sure you are logged into your WordPress Dashboard.
Go back to the tools menu and then click Import.
The next screen will display import options.
You are going to scroll to the bottom where it says WordPress and click Install now.
It will install the WordPress importer and then you will need to click run importer.
The next screen will ask you to upload the XML file.
Click choose file>your file>then click the upload and import button.
*Note: Your file size may be larger than 2MB if you had a lot of content on your previous site. If that is the case you have two import options. The first one is to ask your web hosting company to increase that upload limit temporarily, so you can upload your current XML file. The second option would be to split your file by using a WXR file splitter.
Once your content is imported you will have the option to assign it all to a new user or keep your current one. You will also be asked if you would like to import your attachments. Make sure you check this box so your images are imported as well.
You have successfully imported your old content!
Step 4: Redirect Users
If you have been blogging for some time and already have the following base from your wordpress.COM site, you do not want to neglect those followers. Make sure you share with them that you have redirected your site by either using a redirection tool, announcing your new changes on a social media platform (with those readers), or personally contacting them via email.
WordPress.COM does not offer a free redirection tool. Unfortunately, you will have to pay for the upgrade service if that is the option that you choose.
I hope this was helpful to you! I am excited for your new blogging journey and the world of potential that you just unlocked for your blog!
Before we dive into Google Analytics you will need to be on a self-hosted website. This means if you are using WordPress for your blog, you will need to be using WordPress.ORG rather than WordPress.COM.
For more details on how to set up a self-hosted blog click here. I have created a step by step guide for you.
If you are running an online business you are most likely aware of search engine optimization (SEO). If you are unaware of SEO, it is the process of receiving organic traffic to your website from search results. This is everything for people running businesses online because you want your business to be found! Without traffic, your business will not be successful.
*Related: What is SEO and why is it so important?
So we spend all of this time and money investing in services to help boost our SEO but how do we really know if it is working?
That is where Google Analytics comes in the picture. In my opinion, it is the best analytic tool on the market to give you an in-depth look at how your website is performing.
What is Google Analytics?
It is a free service offered by Google. It allows business owners to track how users/viewers interact on their websites. You can learn how people use your site, what they do on it, and how they were referred. See what social media platforms are resulting in the most traffic to your site. Track the amount of time that people are spending on your site and what pages are getting the most attention. View your bounce rate.
The analytics dig into a deeper depth allowing you to see the type of devices people are using and where they are from when they are browsing your site. This gives you an idea of whether users/ visitors are viewing your website more on a phone, desktop, or tablet. Also, getting to know what countries you reach is awesome!
If you sell products or use advertisements, you can link those services to Google Analytics. This allows you to track how those methods of marketing are doing. View your sales, time of day, numbers, users, etc.
All of these tools are important in maintaining a good marketing strategy. Have more control over analyzing all of the hard work that you put into your business. Analytics puts your hard work into perspective and gives you a visual of the payoff or room for improvement.
How do I get Google Analytics?
You can set up your analytics account here. The link will take you to this screen. Once you are here, you are going to click the green sign up free button in the top right corner.
Next, log into your Gmail account that you use for your blog. If you do not already have one specifically for your blog I would advise you to make one. It will make life easier keeping your blog business separate from everything else. You can create a Gmail account here.
When you have your Gmail account ready, sign in. Once again, make sure that you sign in with the account that you want to track your website analytics on. But if you wish to change accounts later, you can.
After you have signed in to your Gmail account, you can sign up for Google Analytics. Click the gray icon that says sign up.
You will be directed to the setup screen that looks like the one pictured below. Follow the steps by filling in the particular information for your website.
Keep all of the recommended data share settings checked. Scroll to the bottom and click the blue button that says get tracking ID.
This tracking ID is important because it is how Google keeps track of the activity on your website. With your tracking ID you will also be assigned a code to place on your website. Copy and paste the code into the header of each page on your website that you want to be tracked. The code should be placed before the </head> tag.
Most likely your blog will be built on WordPress. Therefore, adding the code to your site is made a little easier for you. Download the plugin Insert Headers and Footers. When it is finished downloading activate it and navigate to the plugin. It can be found on the dashboard of your site > left-hand panel > hover over settings > then find and click Insert Headers and Footers. Paste the code into the top box that says the code will be placed before the </head> tag. Then save your changes.
Now, Google will begin monitoring the traffic on your site. You can view your analytic details from your Google Analytic account or by using the Google Analytics by Monster Insights WordPress plugin. You can read more about the plugin and how to download it here.
I personally utilize the plugin and my analytics account. I like looking at my analytics account because it gives me more in-depth information and I have more control. Both are great and truly beneficial to your blog.
Link your analytics account to Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool that you can utilize to customize how your website appears in Google search results.
When you link your accounts together you have the ability to track how your website is doing in organic searches. You can set up your Google Search Console account by visiting this link www.google.com/webmasters/.
You will have to log in to your Gmail account that you used for your Google Analytics. When you login in you are going to see a screen with different options to verify your website. Follow the steps that work best for you to claim ownership of your site.
After you verify ownership of your blog it is a good idea to add an XML sitemap so Google will find your blog faster. But if you are using Yoast SEO plugin, it may conflict. So keep that in mind.
Be sure that you link your Google Analytics account to your search console. You can do so by logging into your analytics account and click on admin. Find property settings and click it. Then, you will see search console. Click it. Once you complete the steps to link your accounts together, you will gain access to even more details in your analytics dashboard.
Linking more accounts
If you have other accounts such as an e-commerce, you can link it to your Google Analytics account as well. There are lots of options to link with analytics to get access to detailed reports regarding how all of your marketing techniques are performing. But I am not going to go into depth of the individual accounts in this article.
Understanding Google Analytics
When you first install Google Analytics onto your website you will not be able to view data right away. The only thing you will be able to view is real-time visitors. The charts renew after midnight each day and will give you the entire previous day stats.
Below is a break down of each tab in the left panel.
This tab does exactly what it says. It displays real-time stats such as the visitors that are on your site at any given moment. It will tell you how many users are on your site at that point in time and it will tell you where they originated from. Referral examples are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, organic search results, etc. It will also tell you exactly what page they are on.
I use this feature after I share a new blog post to get an idea of real-time users who visit due to my post. I like to see what marketing methods are drawing in the most users.
The audience tab displays detailed information about your visitors such as gender and the country they are visiting from. As you can see in the left panel once you click on the audience tab a bunch of options is displayed to get in-depth details.
I utilize the overview tab most often because it gives me a summary of everything I need to know about my visitors in one tab. You can change the time frame in the upper right corner to an hourly, day, week, and month break down.
- Sessions: The number of visits to your website. If someone visits now and then revisits 10 minutes later that would be considered 2 sessions.
- Users: The number of individuals that visit your website.
- Page-Views: The total number of page views on your site. If someone views 5 different articles on your website that would be considered 5 page views.
- Average Session Duration: This is the overall average time that individuals are spending on your site during each session. The average is accumulated by all users.
- Bounce Rate: This is the percentage of users that are only visiting one page of your site and then leaving. The key is having a bounce rate under 40%. You want users spending time on your website.
- Demographics: This displays details of the country, language, and the city that your users are visiting from. You can click the demographics tab in the left panel to learn more about your users such as the percentage of males or females that are visiting your page. You can view the age group that you are attracting the most along with what your readers find interesting.
This tab gives you details of the various methods that are bringing traffic to your website. This is beneficial to check to get an idea of what marketing techniques and promotional methods are working to catch people’s attention.
- Direct: This is the percentage of users that visit your site by directly typing your domain name into the search bar.
- Social: The percentage of users that visit your website from social media such as a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram post.
- Referral: The percentage of users that were referred by other websites such as a fellow blogger.
- Organic Search: The percentage of users that discover your website/blog through keyword searches in major search engines such as Google.
You can also view details of more methods that bring users to your website through the different acquisition tabs.
This gives you more information about how the content on your website that is drawing in the most viewers. You can monitor the performance of your website such as site speed. You can view how long your website takes to load and get tips on ways to make it load faster.
This is a useful tab for people who are selling products on their website using e-commerce. You can set goals and track your sales. If you use e-commerce you will need to manually link accounts with Google Analytics to get tracking details.
Now, you’re ready to take control of your analytics!
The fact is most people do not click past the first page of results in any search engine unless they are looking for something specific or doing some sort of research. If you want your business website to be getting views being in the top search engine results is extremely important.
It takes work to be at the top just like any other aspect of life. Most people think that being at the top of search results is simply a matter of paying for a program. I hate to break it to you but it is not that simple. There are a lot of things that are factored into whether you appear in search engine results and where you fall in the ranking.
Common reasons your website may not appear
- Your website has not been indexed yet by the search engine (it is new)
- Your website is not optimized for search engines
- Your keywords and tags usage
- Your website has been removed by Google or any other major search engine
Let’s investigate further…
Your website has not been indexed yet
You may wondering what it means for a site to be indexed. Indexing a website is the process of adding each individual site to Google search. The reason your website may not have been indexed on Google is because it could be new. You may have recently published your site live and Google has not had time to send its spiders (in technical world) to crawl through your website. Google spiders crawl through you site to go through links, view content, and basically build a site map to be indexed on Google. All of this is a process, that could take a week or more. If it has been longer than a couple of weeks and your site is still not indexed on Google that is where we may have some other issues.
Your website is not optimized for search engines
The process of crawling is what determines whether your website is up to par with Google. Your content, tags, keywords, and other relevant information to your website are important when your website is being crawled through. You want your website page content to match up with relevant keywords and tags so it appears in search results. If your content does not match up with your keywords, descriptions, and tags Google will consider your page not optimized.
Your keywords and tag usage
Be sure that you are using keywords and tags relevant to your content. Keywords and tags are used to help your site be more discoverable. For example, you want to use a meta tag to write a brief summary or description of your business. This paragraph will appear in the Google summary under your website name. You do not want your description to be something random that has nothing to do with what your business is or has to offer.
Your website has been removed
If your site is not optimized for search engines such as Google. You will be removed from appearing in search results in general.
Having a website is not all about your business. Most importantly, it is about user experience. Your website should be user-friendly, responsive, mobile ready, and engaging. You want to make your potential customers intrigued by your website.
Here are 10 reasons why your website may be driving customers away…
Quality content is an extremely important factor to gain customer attention. You need to prove to your customer’s that you can offer what they want. You do not want to make it seem like you are just trying to promote your business. You want to show customer satisfaction is important to your business.
If you offer a product that could be useful to someone, display evidence to back your product up. For example, if you are selling a supplement talk about the benefits it can offer to someone and persuade them why it would be beneficial to them. Really engage your customers in the product.
If your website has poor navigation people will most likely just click out of your page. Navigating around your site should be simple and easy to get to. You can do this by displaying your navigation bar at the top of each page.
3. Load time
Slowly loading web pages can be frustrating to users. Most people do not want to spend time waiting for a page to load. They will most likely just click on to the next web page. Be sure that your web pages are loading up quickly to prevent losing customers.
You can speed up load time by…
- Reducing images and media size
- Clean and organized coding
- Reliable and well-known web hosting company
Poor web design will make visitors think that your business is not professional and up to date. Having a unique and modern web design will assure users that you value your user experience.
5. Information overload
Displaying too much information on your website and not enough pictures, media, appplications, etc. You will overwhelm your users. A lot of people will not take the time to read through a lot of information if it is not something that is of interest to them. Keeping information consise and straight to the point is most beneficial to users. It allows people to get their questions answered quickly.
6. Lack of information
Although, having too much information can be an aspect driving your customers away not having enough can be as well. Important information should be on your website such as contact details. Do not keep users questioning. Valuable information should be accessible to them on your website saving you and the customer time.
Most people nowadays have a smartphone. Therefore, they are more likely to visit your website from their mobile devices rather than a computer. It is extremely important that your website is responsive to different screen sizes and mobile friendly.
Grammatical errors will always stir people away from what you are trying to display. People will not take your business seriously and will think that you are not professional. Always be sure to proofread content on your web pages and make necessary changes before they are live.
9. Lack of reviews or testimonials
When people are looking for a new product or service they are most likely going to read reviews and testimonials. This gives them an idea of how good the product is that your selling or the service that you are offering. Without a rating people are more likely to choose a more reputable and trustworthy business who offers the same thing. When people use your products or services always request a review to display on your website.
10. Autoplaying music or ads
I am sure you get annoyed when you visit a webpage and there are annoying ads playing in the background. Your users do not like this either. When you add videos or ads to your site, have them click to play only. Doing so will improve your user experience.