I'm often asked these 3 questions :
- one is : “what is the difference between a site and a blog?”
- another is : “is it expensive to have a site?”
- and also “what is the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?”
I answer the first one in this other post I write today and the second and third questions here below. I also write a detailed post for the 3rd question.
For the price, basically, the answer is, between 0 and several dozen of thousands
Now of course it will depends on your needs.
Hosting (+ domain name)
Do you expect several hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, or just a few hundreds?
The answer this will tell you where your site must be hosted, on a site platform, like wordpress.com, virtuaza.net, etc? or you want to self-host your site, either on a shared plan, or you'll need your own dedicated servers with/without your own system administrator.
Knowing that will show you the price range between 0 and several thousands a year.
What is good with the serious hosts, is that you can start on small shared plans and upgrade to dedicated servers in case of need.
Here is the detailed article about hosting, where I guide you what to choose. Yes, Virtuaza multisite platform is among the range of solutions, but as it won't suit every need, I also talk about and recommend other hosts. See the comparison chart.
Do you need your own domain name? basically do you want yourname.com? or is it ok to have your name as a subdomain, for example yourname.wordpress.com ? Basically, if free site, you won't be able to have your own domain. Some host take care of your domain name and the price for the domain is included in your plan with them.
Do you want to pay a webdesigner to create a customised visual look and feel or you find it OK to use a premium theme (for WordPress) that you (or someone else) can tweak (colors, logo, etc), see what's available. Virtuaza can work with designers, on freelance contract, on a case by case
Do you want to manage your content or pay someone to do it?
I strongly recommend the use of WordPress, once installed it's easy to add and edit content, upload media, post from your smartphone, integrate external contents like youtube videos, list of tweets, your latest facebook public posts, etc. And the WordPress documentation is very good.
Now the question about the difference between WordPress.com and .org is there… on WordPress.com, your site is hosted on their servers, you can add a fews premium functionalities, but not everything is possible, see the comparison chart again. Same on Virtuaza.net, we defined a list of plugins (additional functionalities, see below) to be available for our customers, this said we are open to study new possibilities and add other plugins to our network.
When we talk about WordPress.org it means it's the WordPress program, that we can download and install on your hosting account (or the hosts I recommend use a script to have WordPress installed for you). So the WordPress files with the code and the plugins files for added functionalities, as well as the database and your media upload = your site.
However, to manage the content is very similar everywhere, as it is the same program, and there is the use of the same “WYSIWYG” (What you see is what you get, almost).
On Virtuaza network, or on your self-hosted site maintained by Virtuaza, we can install a specific tool called a builder, which can ease even further the edition of your content. See details here :
Virtuaza can help you to get started but the goal is mainly to have you being able to manage your content.
There are several other CMS (Content Management Systems) different that WordPress, I used to work with another one, a great little script, very well coded and with a friendly community but WordPress having a huge community, you can find ready-made solutions for a lot of different additional needs (see below). If you want to work with CMS Made Simple, Joomla or Drupal, we might help you find another developer.
Sometimes, there are special needs, it's important to be clear on what's necessary. Even though it's easy to add functionalities with plugins, if someone is creating the site for you, it may result in a lot of additional hours of work.
I recently did a site for free for a friend's charity, and in the beginning it was “we present what we do in simple pages”. Then, day after day, more needs were mentioned, such as “a different text in the sidebar, for each page”, the possibility to add events, and ticketing, a fundraising donation membership (more than just a donate paypal button). This requires research, time and tweaks. For that friend it was not a problem, as I happily helped her, but for a customer, some precise specifications is conducted to avoid surprise on both sides. This is included, and this is not and can be done for this additional price.
If you do not need anything specific than simple site (= some pages of text and media, + some posts of news), it's not the same as the need of a multiple users community with forums, group and private messages, with several authors and customized gallery and the whole completed by an auction e-commerce classifieds and booking site 🙂
WordPress.com and virtuaza network hosted site will take care of your updates. If you are on self-hosted you must update your WordPress installation and plugins/themes by yourslef. One of our services is just that, to take care or maintenance on your self-hosted site that we installed for you. See details here.