There’s no doubt about it, WordPress is a remarkable platform for publishing, but beware the pitfalls of self-hosted blogs and websites.
I struggled for about two and a half years with my WordPress.org self-hosted site. The issues were unstoppable, and the forums to mend the problems, equally unstoppable. You find yourself getting entwined in an ever-deepening maze of ‘solutions’. The blog is too slow? Speed it up with a plugin! Insecure? Protect it a plugin! Plugins giving you problems? Sort them out with a plugin? Alternative, take a masters degree in WordPress coding and sort these issues out yourself.
There are more plugins and coding solutions available than most of us have had hot dinners, but quite often they add to the dilemma, rather than taking it away.
Then you get kind of obsessed with one issue or another. Mine was site speed. I thought, ‘oh, I must ensure it loads in less than two seconds or no one will stick around to see it.’ I tested it on pingdom from Dallas to Holland, I installed caching to speed it up, Wt3c or is it W3tc, I’m sorry, I get confused with all of these acronyms.
This caching performs all sorts of wondrous tweaks to your coding to make your site go tops, and it’s recommended by all. Took me a good while to understand how to use that one without making the site crash each time I installed it. Ah, but you need MAX CDN to make the configuration truly work, you see W3tc on its own, is like a horse with three legs.
I could go on, the amount of time wasted on plugins, themes, tweaks, and baubles for my self hosted WordPress site doesn’t bear thinking about.
In the end it was that old familiar, the internet hacker who did me in (I had just sent a nice message around to subscribers inviting them to submit material via the website) I discovered a blank white screen with a horrible little informational about how my site was down.
After that it was Gotohellgodaddy, no more self-hosted WordPress SmurdPress for this girl!
The end up?
Well, I don’t have so much ‘control’ over things, but I do have a secure website. Leave the security, the speed, the theme-ology and coding to the experts, forget your addiction to plugins, never mind about AdSense and all that malarky, (I think I made £29 in the whole period). Above all, relinquish your need to ‘tinker’, leave all those forums behind and concentrate on what you really care about. In my case, writing and publishing.
Soooo much better, wish I’d done it years ago. The costs? Minimal compared to the time and money wasted trying to vanquish the self-hosted version of WordPress. With WordPress.com I can host my domain for £15 and buy a nice theme and that’s it.
Or, I can spend just over £200 for a ‘business’ site, and have the dubious advantage of switching themes as often as I like. WordPress has a bank of ‘premium themes’ some of these can be overpriced and under-coded but it’s still way better (for me) than going the self-hosted route and uploading a theme from the developer.
My advice, find a good theme? And stick with it.
With the business version of WordPress you do get e-commerce if you want to sell stuff on your site. That may be worth it for some, but if you just want an efficient site to showcase your material, then you don’t really need all of that. A good, £70 or £80 theme and £15 to host your domain and eh voila!