Lining Things UpWed, Jun 8, 2011
In the past day or so I’ve re-worked how I manage my jdhancock.com domain, and in the process I’ve learned a bit more about WordPress.com.
- Domain purchased at Network Solutions
- Domain and website hosted at a web hosting company
- Email hosted at a web hosting company and forwarded to a GMail account
- Domain (still) purchased at Network Solutions
- Domain and website hosted by WordPress.com
- Email hosted by Google Apps for Domains
Why Switch to WordPress.com?
I’ve had a mostly-static website since the mid-1990s, but I had not updated it for several years. I had grand plans for rolling out a new trim, fast-loading, HTML5-based, static website and was actually in the process of doing so (thank you HTML5 Boilerplate). But the more active I became on social websites, the more I realized that a static site was not going to keep me happy long-term. I needed a blog-style platform for what I wanted to do.
I chose Wordpress.com because I wanted a solid and time-tested platform. It’s certainly not a perfect choice, and I had many other options, but so far I’m happy with it.
So why not choose …
Wordpress.org? I’ve hosted my own Wordpress installs before, and while I can do it, I believe for what I want to do here the flexibility doesn’t outweigh the overhead. I really just want to focus on content right now. But if I ever change my mind, the move to a hosted WordPress installation is pretty easy.
Squarespace? It’s awesome. I really like what they’re doing. But the service is just not evolving as quickly as I had hoped, and that worries me a little. Wordpress.com has a longer track record, a relatively enthusiastic user community, and more frequent innovations.
Tumblr? I have a Tumblr account. When their servers aren’t down, I love it.
Blogger? I never found Blogger to be that compelling as a platform, although there are some great people using it.
LiveJournal? I’ve just not seen a lot of love for them lately, unfortunately.
I chose Google Apps for Domains because … I had no choice. This is the only option available if you want your WordPress.com website and email address to have the same domain. In the process I had to move not just my email account but some others as well, which I wasn’t 100% happy about. Which leads to my crash course in …
The WordPress.com Way
The most important thing I’ve learned is that WordPress.com is Apple-like when it comes to features: they do have interesting features but not a lot of options. Generally speaking, the features you have only work one way: the safe, time-tested WordPress.com way. The downside is they probably don’t have all of the features you want. But the upside is that they work really, really well. So as long as you’re happy with the features they have and way they work, you’ll be happy with WordPress.com. I had to “let go” of some of my more controlling tendencies and try to accept new ways of doing things. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it?
After all the changes, as of right now, the website and email are working fine. My custom Tumblr address is not working properly at the moment, but hopefully it will be back online shortly.
Now that everything is mostly lined up, I’m happy I’ll be able to focus on writing.