Is WordPress blogging for you? Although WordPress has become the de facto blogging platform standard, it’s not for everyone. I can say this with confidence, because I’ve been using WordPress since it was hatched, in 2003. It was a nightmare in its first few years, but a huge benefit too.
By “WordPress”, I mean the self-hosted version, rather than the free WordPress.com version.
The same applies today. WordPress blogging can become a nightmare for some writers, because “free” isn’t what it used to be. In days gone by, up until a few years ago, a diligent blogger could rely on reasonable traffic in return for the time he spent on his blog.
Today, writers contact me to tell me that their blog “isn’t working,” or they ask what they can do now that their blog’s not getting traffic. As late as 2012, you could do minimal search engine optimization (SEO), and minimal promotion of your blog, and you’d get traffic.
WordPress blogging is amazing, but…
Should you decide to go the WordPress route, you’ll face twin challenges: time and money.
WordPress takes management time. You will change themes often in your first few years, and you’ll do a lot of tinkering. You can and should use that time to write, if you don’t have a pressing need to tinker with your website.
And although your web hosting provider offers free WordPress installs, you will spend money. Sometimes a lot of money, because you will almost certainly need paid assistance.
So WordPress blogging may not be for you, if:
- You’re pressed for time to devote to blogging;
- You just want “an author website”;
- You already have lots of followers on a social media network.
There’s another challenge too, promotion.
Your blog needs promotion too
Writers who new to blogging aren’t aware that you need to promote your blog posts. So they’ll write ten posts, and expect a flow of traffic. It may happen, but it likely won’t.
Do you need WordPress?
You may. It depends on what you want to achieve.
WordPress may indeed be the perfect solution for you, if you need to:
- Work with a team on your blog (you may be in an author collective, or perhaps you’re working with other writers on freelance gigs);
- Use your blog as an online store. Many writers are selling things like ebooks, classes, and printables. A plugin or two turns your WordPress site into a money-maker;
- Manage lots of clients. A WordPress website can be a less expensive option than paying for an online booking, invoicing, payment, and delivery system.
If you don’t use WordPress, what else is there?
Perhaps you just want a website, and blog. If so, I recommend an all-in-one solution like Squarespace to my students.
(I need to mention that I have no connection, commercial or otherwise, with the company. I’ve used it for years, like it, and find it reliable with minimal upkeep.)
A page on LinkedIn or on Facebook may be all you need.
Please don’t think that I’m trying to turn you against blogging, or heaven forfend WordPress, because I’m as in love with blogging, and with WordPress as I’ve ever been.
It’s just that today, writers who are solo operators need to do a lot with their time and money to keep their income flowing. I’ve heard many people offer blanket “use WordPress” advice, and it may not be the best advice for you.
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