5 Reasons to Start a WordPress Blog
It should be no surprise that when I started this blog, I chose WordPress to host it. Well, I chose WordPress as my creation tool. I’m actually running a self-hosted site (which I’ll talk more about later). But WordPress is king when it comes to running any website efficiently and effectively. Maybe you’re not convinced (maybe you’re not even convinced you want to start a blog at all), and that’s why I wrote this post … to inspire you with some reasons to start a WordPress blog. Read on to find out more.
1 – Everything You Write Will Be Saved in “the Cloud”
If you’re anything like me, you like to write. You write a lot — anywhere and everywhere you can. I used to write everything down in spiral-bound notebooks. I’d fill up notebook after notebook after notebook … and that system worked until I had children. Then, suddenly, all my notebooks started disappearing, and I’d find them later filled with drawings and stories written in child scrawl (and sometimes my scribbled-down ideas would be written over or torn out).
The drawings and words were adorable, and it was very heartening to see that my children are so creative. But I wanted to use that paper! Now, with WordPress, the screen is my canvas. And I can generally keep my children away. They don’t know how to log in to my blog dashboard… yet.
I’ve written things and saved them on computers too since I was a very young child (back when we had floppy disks that were actually floppy), but I soon found out how unreliable that was … Computers crash and burn, and sometimes you can’t restore the data that’s on them. I can’t tell you how many story ideas I’ve lost because I didn’t save them before my computer decided to die. You can solve the computer dying problem somewhat by emailing everything to yourself after you write it, but who remembers to do that all the time? I don’t.
When you create your posts in WordPress, you can write, edit, and save everything in “the cloud.” I’m still not exactly sure what the cloud is, but I know I like it a lot because it automatically backs everything up for me. Many people will tell you to write your blog posts in a Word document first, and then copy that into WordPress just in case WordPress crashes, but I’ve had more trouble with Word crashing and not restoring my documents than I have with WordPress, so I can’t see how that’s a very good idea. If you’re really afraid of something like happening, you can start out with Google Docs (which also saves to the cloud), but again I’ve had more trouble with lost documents on that platform than I have had with WordPress. I love WordPress’s automatic backups. I trust them 100%.
2 – You can Pick and Choose among numerous themes
Chances are, if you’re starting a blog you want people to read it. And the first thing people are going to notice when they come to your blog is how it looks. Your WordPress theme is what determines this. There are hundreds of available WordPress themes for websites, both free and paid. I’ve never felt the need to purchase a premium theme. The free WordPress themes look and work just fine, as far as I’m concerned.
My current theme is the twenty-sixteen one. I love how clean and non-distracting it is. There’s plenty of white space, which is especially important for online reading. It kind of feels, to me, like you’re reading your favorite magazine. And that’s pretty cool!
3 – The Plugins Make your website awesome … and profitable
This is one of my most favorite things about a WordPress blog, and it’s the #1 reason why I totally recommend you start your own self-hosted site. I use GoDaddy, but a lot of people recommend SiteGround. I’ve heard some good things about Bluehost and A Small Orange as well. The main thing is: you want to host your own site. Yes, I know WordPress.com gives you “your own site” for free (Notice I put your own in quotes? There’s a reason for that!). I even went that route for my own site, mishaelaustinwitty.com. But I totally regretted that decision because I quickly learned who was really in control of my site. You got it: WordPress!
One of the main things missing from a free WordPress.com blog is that you don’t have access to all those awesome plugins (condensed, yet fully functional software programs). You do have access to some, but not all. And I wanted access to all of them, which is why I decided to self host when it came time to start this blog.
Plugins add some totally cool (and often useful) functionality. There are plugins for almost anything you can think of. You can add a contact form to your site. You can get plugins to make it look like it’s snowing on your website. And there are even plugins that can help your make money. For example, check out this great list of 15 Great WordPress Plugins to Help You Make Money Online.
One of my favorite plugins is strictly aimed at improving SEO (search engine optimization) functionality. SEO is what helps search engines like Google (or Bing or Yahoo) find your site. And, believe me, you want them to find your site. If they don’t find it, nobody else will. Then you won’t get your message out to the world, and you certainly won’t make any money from it (which is really, after all, why a lot of people start a blog in the first place).
The All in One SEO Pack is the best way to optimize your site. It’s easy to use (even I was able to figure it out), and it’s totally free. I first discovered the All in One SEO Pack going through the training at Wealthy Affiliate. I made sure I filled out all the plugin information for each of my blog posts, and I saw some major traffic improvements in no time (Google is now my #2 source of traffic (behind StumbleUpon). If you’re at all interested in making money with your site, you HAVE to have access to plugins. No way around it.
4 – you can have a blog and a website all rolled into one
Say you’ve got a product to sell, and you want to start your own website to sell it. WordPress is the best way to do that. Online stores are great, but blogs are even better. With a blog, you have more content that is updated on a more regular basis. Remember SEO? Search engines love updated content, and they love frequently updated content even more.
And with a self-hosted WordPress blog, you have complete control over both your online store and your blog. You don’t have to split the profits with anyone (like Etsy, who charges you an upfront listing fee AND takes a cut of every sale). You keep EVERYTHING you make, and you’re at the mercy of NO ONE. WooCommerce is a free plugin that can easily up you create your online store in minutes, and if you use Bluehost for your hosting, you can automatically integrate it into your site. This is especially awesome if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge (or interest in the technical side of blogging).
5 – If you don’t want to do it yourself you can easily outsource
Speaking of not having the knowledge or interest to do some things for your blog…
One great thing about having a WordPress blog is that there are a lot of people who know a lot of things about WordPress, and they would be more than happy to help you figure things out (or do things for you – you just have to allow them to sign up as an admin) … for a price.
Note: If you’re willing to let someone else sign up as an admin on your site (I do not recommend this), it has to be someone you really, really trust. Preferably, this will be someone you know personally, outside of the online world.
But there are tons of blogging tasks that you can outsource without giving someone else access to your site, like:
- Create custom infographics to correspond with your blog post.
- Create content upgrades – Give some added value to each and every blog post.
- Design social media graphics – Images to share, share, share … and get more traffic to your blog
- User test your website or blog – Do you really know what your site visitors’ experience is like? A user test will tell you.
- Write blog posts/articles – Note: You will still have to upload these yourself, but it can save you a ton of time. Writing takes forever. I’ve been working on this post for DAYS.
- Design blog graphics – Blogs are visual, so you have to add pictures to enhance the user experience. Somebody has to come up with them, and finding the right image (like writing the best content) can take time.
- Create custom forms – Remember that contact form we talked about earlier? It’s got to come from somewhere.
- Create a favicon or logo – What’s a favicon? It’s a special image that can help add identity and branding to your site. And if you don’t know what it is, you might need someone to help you design one.
- Design printables or ebooks – This can fall under the category of content upgrades, or these can be freebies you offer to email list subscribers.
- Write email sequences – After you get email subscribers, you will need to send them something, which means more writing … and more time spent writing. Let someone else do the work for you.
- Design an ebook cover or landing page – you’ll need something to drive potential email subscribers to your freebie offer. That’s what a landing page does
- Do keyword research – This is a biggie, and a lot of people don’t know where to start. You can find someone else who knows their stuff and can help you pick just the right keywords to rank on Google and get more visitors to your site.
- Create a content marketing plan – Do you have a plan for your blog … or for what to do with the content after you create it? Don’t know where to start? Let someone else come up with the plan for you.
- SEO audit – How does your site measure up in terms of SEO? The right virtual assistant will be able to tell you.
Where can you find someone who can do all these things for you? You’re not likely to find one person who can do ALL these things, but you can find several people who can do one (or more) of them. If you hire a bunch of different people to do things for you, then you’re going to want to find the best price possible. And there’s no better place to find the best price on a bunch of helpful services than Fiverr.com.
You can literally find someone there to do each of these things, starting at only $5!
So, this is the first half of reasons for why you want to choose WordPress for your blog, but they’re pretty good ones, huh? Just wait till you see what comes next!
Which of these reasons resonates with you most? Is there something I’m missing? Let me know in the comments.