Why WordPress is the Best Blogging Platform, Period

After researching several different blogging platforms, I have finally decided on a stand-alone version of WordPress. (You can find the hosted version at WordPress.com.) After spending a day migrating my old blog, playing with the user interface (UI), and investigating the themes and plug-ins, I am hooked. If you are going to start your own blog, you should be going with WordPress.

Why Move to WordPress?

Previously, the site ran on a custom (read: “slapped together”) content management system (CMS) I built almost a decade ago, when CMS and blogging were neither cheap nor mainstream. It was a great way to test out new programming ideas, and basically flex my mad geek skillz. It was not so great for blogging; using a custom system means building every new feature yourself, working ten times as hard to get the same search engine optimization (SEO) enjoyed by commercial blogging engines, and spending more time administering the site than blogging.

How To Migrate to WordPress

If you are using another blog engine (like Blogger, MovableType, TypePad, etc.), WordPress has built-in wizards to “import” your posts and media. If you’ve got a custom CMS, like me, you only have one good option: RSS. If you can export your posts in RSS format, WordPress will convert the RSS into posts, and store them in your database. I can’t say how well this will move images and other media; I didn’t bother doing this, as my site is mostly text, and I don’t mind manually re-inserting the few images I have.

The short story is that the import went smoothly, and when I was finished, I had all 348 posts, with their associated comments, categories, and tags intact.

Why WordPress Wins

Whether you are an old guy ranting about the government, a stay-at-home mom documenting her experiences, or a prolific, for-profit pundit, WordPress has you covered.

Ease of use. WordPress is simple enough that you can sign up and be posting in less than 5 minutes. But this is true of most blog communities; what sets WordPress apart is what else it can do.

Customizationabilitynessification. WordPress can be as basic or as super-powered as you want. In one day, I “re-designed” my site by picking a “theme” (a custom site layout, also called a “skin”), and added spam filtering, Google sitemaps, links to social networks, a PayPal donation button, a “maintenance mode” screen, Google Adsense, links to posts related to the one you are reading, and more. Sharing this “platform” lets you leverage all the work that other users put into improving it.

Cost. How does “free” sound? Sure, some other blogs are free (and some, amazingly, charge money), but what the other side of that coin?…

Making money from your blog. If you host your blog on their platform, there are usually restrictions to prevent you from making any money. WordPress.com is no exception (unless you are really popular, in which case they may allow you to insert ads and other money makers). The beauty of WordPress is that once you’re ready to grow, you can get your own web host, install your own engine from WordPress.org, and customize it with no limitations. All for free.

(Note: MovableType.org has moved to this model as well, but they have fewer plug-ins and related extensions. Expect other blog platforms to follow suit, but not to match WordPress’ momentum. Basically, no other platform offers WordPress’ flexibility for any price, let alone $0.)

Findability. Search engines will find and catalog your posts quicker if you use one of the major blogging platforms. There are lots of things you can do to make your web pages more appetizing for the search engines; this process is called search engine optimization (SEO), and there are dozens of WordPress themes and plug-ins expressly designed to tweak your site to be as irresistable as possible. WordPress blogs– even those not hosted on WordPress.com!– have been shown (admittedly unscientifically) to appear in search engines faster than other platforms.

Support and community. While all the blog platforms have loyal users, support forums, and how-to posts available online, none are as rich and comprehensive (save perhaps ExpressionEngine) as those for WordPress. No matter what you want to do, 99% of the time, a quick trip to the Codex or Google search will get you your answers.

What do you think?

Blog platforms are changing and improving all the time, and if you have newer (or better!) information, please let me know in the comments and I will make any necessary revisions.

  1. #1 by Manitowoc Ice Machine - June 3rd, 2009 at 00:57

    WordPress rules and that is true the advantage pointed out in the article are quite true. Its just an awesome product. I have nearly 10 blogs that run on wordpress.

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