In a January 2006 survey conducted by WordPressTutorials.com, 48% of respondents admitted to just starting to experiment with blogging.
The purpose of their blogs vary from promoting their products and services, to building a community in their niche market, podcasting, profiting from contextual advertising, and generating additional traffic and exposure to their target websites.
Close to 50% of those surveyed began their journey into blogging with free blogging services such as those offered by Blogger.com, a division of Google.
Over time, many respondents report a lack of features and control that influence their search for a platform that offers them choice, control, convenience and comprehensive features and capabilities. Enter WordPress into the scene.
WordPress is known for its open-source blogging platform, which means a host of developers have contributed their time and programming expertise in molding it to be the best it can be for the community at large. This also means you can begin blogging with WordPress today free.
You can download the files from WordPress.org, or simply install it from your hosting account's control panel (cPanel) through a feature called Fantastico.
Here are five compelling reasons that set WordPress apart as a superior blogging application.
Choice and control
With WordPress, you own your own blog. Your blog is not dependent on a blogging service's hosting or publishing service. In fact, you can install as many WordPress installed blogs on your host accounts, across as many of your domains as you want, and you enjoy full ownership and control over them.
Here's a shocking but real-life fact. Google has the authority to close your Blogger account if they dislike your blogging practices, or find your blog crossing the lines of their Terms of Service.
I've had numerous discussions with Internet marketers who have had the bad fortune of having their Blogger accounts shut down, thus losing thousands of dollars a month in contextual advertising revenue. Even with repeated attempts to discuss the matter with Google/Blogger, they receive no follow-up regarding their account cancellations.
Now these Internet marketers are all advocates of blogging applications like WordPress, because they have full control and accountability over their blogs.
As mentioned before, WordPress is open source, which offers you a free blogging application to use today. As a result, you can install multiple blogs across your many domains without any concern of incurring costs.
Compared with other blogging applications like Typepad or MovableType (owned by SixApart) that charge a monthly fee for you to blog, WordPress is a free to use application.
WordPress has a strong user and developer community, with comprehensive support and documentation.
With a strong user base, many of the “bugs” get worked out very quickly with revisions. Plus with so many users, there are many guides and workarounds featured on blogs created to help others in the community.
These developers create modules of code, called “plugins”, which offer enhanced performance and functionality for your blog. There are many plugins available for free downloads from developer blogs.
Here are a few of the unique features that WordPress boasts:
a. Convenient 1-click install
Installing a WordPress blog is a cinch with its 1-Click Install feature offered via Fantastico in a cPanel hosting company's control panel.
b. Convenience in customizing templates, themes and colors
Easily edit a WordPress blog's templates and colors via cascading style sheets (CSS), that work aside from the blog's main code, so that a change to the CSS enables those changes across the entire site.
In addition, there are many talented creative developers in the WordPress community who create themes or design layouts that enable you to switch your blog's theme with the ease of 1-click. Simply upload the designers' theme, and activate it in your WordPress blog's Presentation Theme control panel.
c. Customize blog directories to “ping”
Pinging is a notification to blog directories that your blog has a new page addition, and encourages them to visit your blog and index it into its database.
Blogger sets a default ping to only one blog directory. This limits your automatic notification for pinging.
In comparison, WordPress offers you a Notification Panel that you can insert additional blog directories to “ping”. This offers you a wider base – you're indexed by a host of blog directories – which helps in one-way links to your blog, and expands the exposure of your blog.
d. Connection times
When you're blogging with Blogger, you're dependent on their servers for publishing your posts. Because of the vast number of bloggers using their network, publishing times can slow down to a crawl.
However, publishing with WordPress is reliant on your own host company's server – which is typically much faster. Blogging with WordPress offers almost no wait time, and speeds up your blog publishing.
e. Categories and sub-categories
Categories offer you the links in the side navigation to provide sections that your visitors can click on.
One major frustration with Blogger is a lack of a categorization or sub-categorization feature. To offer links in the sidebar navigation, one has to wade in code to add it manually.
With WordPress, categories come standard. Simply add categories and sub-categories for easy organization and usability for your blog.
f. Comment capabilities
A comment is a feature that encourages your visitors to offer feedback or participate in a discussion about your postings. This feedback gives you an immediate connection with your visitors, and this platform helps you to determine how to serve the needs of your audience more effectively.
With WordPress, you can choose to either receive comments or not. Plus, there are features to help filter comment spam, which is a nuisance when comment spam software or services automatically enter irrelevant comments on your blog to receive links back to their blogs.
As a result of comment spam filtering, you can spend your precious time on productive activities instead of dealing with blog comment spam.
g. Cash-generating flexibility
Marketers and business people consider tools such as the WordPress blogging application with respect to how well these tools serve them to reach their desired outcomes – one of which is to generate profit.
With WordPress, you can easily add contextual advertising like Google Adsense or Yahoo Publishers Network ads. In addition you can add links to affiliate merchants, and also promote your own product and service offerings.
In summary, this report proves that blogging with WordPress is cost-effective, offers you choice, control, access to a community of users, support, and gives you a host of capabilities to help you save time, save money, while helping you generate revenue.
I encourage you to give blogging with WordPress a test drive on a test domain, or try it on one of your main domain's sub-directories. If you're using cPanel hosting, try the 1-Click install of WordPress. Be courageous in playing with it – it's fun and can lead to a very productive activity.