Theme Business on WordPress.com, WordPress.org and Envato

Are you thinking about using WordPress to start your own business? Many people already use WordPress.com as their platform of choice for their blogs, but WordPress.com can also become the home of your online business. They have all the features and tools you may ever require to spearhead your professional presence on the web. Should you have any enquiries, they also provide the needed support.

Whenever someone decides on establishing an online presence for his business, he should focus on creating a standard website instead of a blog. Although WordPress.com is a great blogging platform, it can easily adapt to serve your needs for a website. If you want to create a website with them, you should take some important steps.

These are as follows:

Use pages instead of posts.

The two distinguishable content types at WordPress.com are posts and pages. The post type is the supreme choice for bloggers. If you, on the other hand, want to establish your online presence through a website, the page content type grants you the option to generate static content. Quite often new users of the CMS create an About post, not realizing that what they should have done instead is to create an About page. In order for someone to generate the necessary structure for a website, he should publish pages containing important information – services, hours, their location, etc.

Generate a static page to serve as your homepage.

By default, your website at WordPress.com displays a chronological order of your most recent posts. When you create a website, you would probably wish to use a welcome page as your home page so that your potential clients can learn more about your business. Setting up a static front page can be as easy as selecting the desire page through the Reading Settings of your WordPress dashboard.

You should consider adding a blog page too.

It may look like a blog is unnecessary for a new business website. However, you can always set a Blog or News page separately from the home page of your site to display the most recent, fresh and easily updated content.

But what about the business themes on WordPress.com? How can small business owners choose which theme to use for their website?

For the users of the WordPress.com Business upgrade, the best place to look for themes is the Theme Showcase. There users can choose any number of premium themes for their websites. However, if a user has acquired his theme from another theme repository, it would not be possible to use this theme for a WordPress.com Business website.

Although WordPress.com Business is a costly upgrade for some budgets at a price of USD 299 per year, there are some tips that may be of help to you.

First of all, nearly all of the features and upgrades the WordPress.com Business upgrade offers can be purchased separately, with the only exception being the unlimited premium themes and live chat. If this upgrade is too costly for you, you can always start with a free theme featuring a customizable widget area and a header.

Secondly, apart from using a custom widget and header, you can also make the most out of services for photo editing like PicMonkey to create a unique header. You can also improve the appearance of your website through the use of Image Widgets in your sidebar. The idea here is to apply customization without the need to purchase the Custom Design upgrade.

And thirdly, the custom domain is also a necessary upgrade. It ensures your website looks more professional and you can keep it by renewing it. Owners of businesses invest great amount of effort in their company, which means you should ensure you have registered and secured the right domain.

But should a business owner choose WordPress.com over WordPress.org and what differentiated the two?

WordPress.org is the place where you can download the installation files of the CMS, which is an open source system that powers 23 per cent of the Internet at present. The website also offers you tons of plugins and themes at no cost at all. What is more, WordPress.org contains the most thorough documentation of the CMS, has the strongest community support, and is the source of the latest WordPress news. It allows developers to actively contribute to the development of the core code of the CMS, its accessibility and translation.

In contrast to WordPress.org, WordPress.com is a commercial website where you are limited with the amount of customizations you can make if you want to host a free site. Otherwise, you will be required to pay a fee each year to remove restrictions, although the website uses the same software freely available at WordPress.org.

Another difference for Business owners, and not only, is that the WordPress.com is a hosted service. This means that you don’t need to look for a reliable web hosting service or worry about installing the CMS. All this is included in the service.

But how should business owners choose WordPress.com over WordPress.org and vice versa?

There are several considerations to take into account before you make your choice on one of them. These are limitations and freedoms, cost, development and maintenance.

Comparison of costs

Even though WordPress is a free CMS, hosting a WordPress website is not. In order to host such a site, you need a domain and hosting, and if you decide on WordPress.org, you can purchase a pretty cheap host from BlueHost or Go Daddy. You will also need to register a domain, which usually costs no more than USD 10 per year.

Once you have your website set up, you will need to decide which themes and plugins to use. As mentioned earlier, WordPress.org has tons of freely available themes and plugins. Although they are not so advanced as some themes and plugins used by business websites and online stores, they are a good first start. Premium themes and plugins can be bought later from websites like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or ThemeLead.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, comes with upgrades and plans. The basic plan is free but only includes basic customization, shows adds, grants only 3GB of space and doesn’t allow video storage, eCommerce or the use of premium themes. The premium and business plans cost USD 99 and USD 299 respectively, allow advanced customizations, more space, and many more features.

If you aim for the most inexpensive solution, the free basic plan of WordPress.com is the one for you. However, you will be limited to their free themes and will not be able to use a custom domain name.

WordPress.com’s plans can be very expensive for a business owner, though. And if you need to make a lot of customizations at the lowest cost possible, you should stick with WordPress.org.

Limitations and freedoms

If you install WordPress on your own web server, you are not limited to what you can do with the CMS. You can use any number of free and premium plugins and themes, use cPanel or FTP to add, remove and edit files, play with server settings to boost performance, and fully control your content without displaying any adds. WordPress.com, on the other hand, comes with certain limitations. This is in the business model of WordPress.com, which provides the convenience of a readily available WordPress environment. Because they maintain the CMS, you don’t have to deal with code or have thoughts about security and any such related issues. You have the choice of whether to pay for certain upgrades in order to activate a different theme or remove adds.

If your first concern is the full control over your website, you should go with WordPress.org.

Development and maintenance

Being fully in control of your website is a big responsibility. It asks for both regular maintenance and updates. Security and vulnerability are also issues you will have to take into account. Additionally, should you experience problems with your server, you will be required to contact your hosting provider.

Unless you hire someone to take care of the website for you, maintaining it may not be easy.

On the other hand, the professionals at WordPress.com will take over the responsibility of development and maintenance for you. You will rest assured that plugins won’t break after you upgrade your WordPress installation or that your website will go down because your host is experiencing problems.

If you don’t want to deal with technical issues and don’t have the skill to maintain your website, you should sign up with WordPress.com.

In contrast, if your skills permit it and you have the necessary time, then go with WordPress.org.
My recommendation for a starting business is WordPress.org. It is the less costly solution which gives all the freedom a business needs to establish the looks and feel of its brand through unlimited customization options.

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