I have chosen to work only with WordPress.com websites (as opposed to self-hosting WordPress software). This is because I like the ease, security and peace of mind that this affords for both my clients and myself. I don’t have to worry that any plug-ins installed may be compromised and allow a hacking attack.
I therefore do not create from scratch any templates (design) but instead use the templates already written by WordPress.com but can action any styling requests using CSS (computer code that allows styling). In this way, my clients get websites with professionally designed templates without a hefty fee and can swap to another template at any time with the press of a button.
All software updates are done automatically by WordPress.com; so as well as my clients’ websites being safe and robust, it is a very cost efficient way of having a website/WordPress website. I usually only work with small enterprises and organizations and WordPress.com covers all their needs.
The advantages and disadvantages of this are detailed below:
Advantages of a WordPress.com website
- Very reasonable monthly charges of £3 if Personal Plan is selected.
- Easy to upload content and maintain yourself through the provider’s dashboard– an online ‘portal’ in which you access your account and create and update content without having to know any HTML or other web code. You don’t have to ask your web designer every time you want to make a small change to your website.
- Can have standard webpages such as a Home, Contact, Services or About page as well as comprehensive blogging functionality.
- You can choose from a large range of widgets (plug-ins) to incorporate into your webpages for more interest and information.
- With the basic plan, very basic selling of own products from website with a PayPal button or either upgrade to the WordPress.com e-commerce plan or have your menu link to another e-commerce provider such as Big Cartel.
- Easy to share with social networking sites with a ready-made online community.
- Can have own specific business web address (URL) .
- WordPress provides good search engine optimization (SEO) right out of the box.
- You don’t have to worry about internet security, ensuring your site displays well across all web browsers and devices, backing up your web pages or future proofing your site for devices or web browsers not yet developed.
Disadvantages of a WordPress.com website
- Limited functionality – you can only implement on your site features and functions that have already been integrated with WordPress.com.
- Styling is limited to themes already designed and provided by WordPress.com (unless you take out the Business Plan at £240/year) – you pick one that suits you. There is some limited flexibility in styling of headings, colour and layout with some of the 200+ free themes or upgrade to the Premium Plan (£84 per annum) which gives access to the CSS (the coding which allows you to have more flexibility on the styling [look and layout] of your web pages) and gives you access to all the Premium paid-for themes.
- You have to have what is provided with the styling and functionality of image galleries
- Completely reliant on WordPress.com for everything now and in the future. Bear in mind that although you may be happy with the service today, further down the line, they could implement/alter something without your authorization that is unacceptable to you and you will have to live with it.
Changing to a self-hosted WordPress website at a later date
Your WordPress.com website can be exported to the self-hosted WordPress.org, so it’s not the end of the world if you start with WordPress.com and wish to move over to a self-hosted WordPress site in the future – and vice versa.
Third party integrations
WordPress.com integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Mailchimp, Eventbrite and Google calendar.
I will ask you to create the relevant online accounts, with my assistance if required, to ensure that you will have ownership and complete control at all times, of all aspects of your website.
My payment terms are a deposit of 1/3 of Pale September fee agreed in quote is due before work begins. A final 2/3 payment (adjusted again for changes in estimate if necessary) is due upon completion of site as specified, before site is published on the Internet.