I love what I do, I mean like love it! I was working with a virtual assistant in warming up their WordPress.com website and they advised me they were told it’s unprofessional to use WordPress.com and obviously they didn’t care about their business.
If you’re expecting me to jump on the bandwagon and berate users of WordPress.com this post will be very disappointing.
Last time I viewed the statistics, WordPress had over 400 Million users. They offer a free or low cost option in WordPress.com and many startups have used it. I used it.
Shame on you! Shame on you for suggesting someone doesn’t care because they are not positioned with major startup capital.
As a Strategist I have assisted many people with self hosted and free WordPress sites. Which would I suggest? Self hosted has the greater benefit for long term use. There are many writings on the difference between WordPress.com (free) and WordPress.org (hosted) so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.
If the budget is there start self hosted. Self hosted means you choose a host provider that has already installed the WordPress platform for you or will allow you to install it and you pay them for hosting your website on their server.
I know that it is not always possible when you’re getting started so the following tips are for WordPress.com users.
1. Though you’re not self hosting yet if you plan to do so within the next year I suggest searching out your host provider and purchasing your domain name from them. Make sure they offer the ability to forward the domain to your WordPress.com and bonuses are that it comes with an email address that’s @yourdomain.com OR you have the ability to purchase an email address.
2. It’s also a bonus if you can do stealth (masking) forwarding. This isn’t a necessity but it is a bonus because it will enable your site visitors to only see @yourdomain.com
3. WordPress.com also offers domains. However, you may have to do some behind the scenes work to move it to your hosting site when you’re ready to self host. You can obtain your domain anywhere you’d like just be aware when you’re ready to move it you will have to do a domain transfer or point it to your new site.
4. WordPress.com doesn’t have as much functionality as a self-hosted WordPress but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice presentation. Here’s a tip: stay clean and minimal. Stay away from bold colored backgrounds. Go white and supplement with images that convey your brand identity.
5. Speaking of images, there are so many places that offer free ones. And honestly I see the free ones on so many sites. Try using unique images, something different. I’m a stock photographer and it could be a substantial cost to get unique images from a stock house. You can see some of my images on GETTY IMAGES here.
I’m currently working on bundles (read more on that here) for those who want something that isn’t overused and on every virtual assistant site you visit.
I’ll be posting new bundles soon so be sure to subscribe so you get the updates.