WordPress is one of the most popular CMS (Content Management Systems) on the web. One of the reasons it is so popular is because of the great variety of ways WordPress can be used. On this blog post, I am going to describe the 4 levels of WordPress from a hosting/deployment/management angle.
I’ve covered WordPress quite a bit in our Tech Blog, but not the various ways it can be installed/owned or not-owned, etc. Let’s start at the lowest level, easiest to get started on, and no cost of participation: the WordPress hosted website.
1. WordPress Hosted Website
Level: [BEGINNER] Cost: [FREE]
WordPress offers websites hosted on their servers that are free. They all come on the .wordpress extension, so your site will have to be yourwebsite.wordpress.com. Other that the inconvenience of having to explain the long domain name, the customization of the site is very limited. They offer a couple of free themes in the WordPress hosted sites, but nowhere near as many as self-hosted WP.
2. Self-Hosted WordPress/ Free Theme
Level: [INTERMEDIATE] Cost: [$]
The next level of WordPress is self-hosting and using a free theme. This will require a hosting account at a hosting company. The cost will be between $3-10 per month for hosting and $15 per year for domain registration. A self-hosted WP site can select from hundreds of free themes right inside the WP back-end console or search the web for thousands of free themes. A self-hosted theme can be edited and customized much more than a WordPress hosted site, mainly because of the access to the Appearance > Editor area which houses the core file structure. Free themes do not perform as well as pro WP themes and offer much less customization options.
3. Self-Hosted WordPress/ Professional Theme
Level: [INTERMEDIATE] Cost: [$$]
Going up even further in 4 levels of WordPress hierarchy is the self-hosted professional theme option. On sites like Themeforest, one can find extremely well programmed and designed professional WP themes. These will have much more customizable options than free themes and rank higher in search engines like Google and Bing because of the better coding structure. Pro themes offer support where free themes often only have a community where questions can be submitted. One of the most important reasons to go with a pro WP theme is security. Pro themes are much less likely to get hacked than free themes because the free theme code is available to all and easier for hackers to get their hands on versus shelling out $60 for a pro theme and getting that code.
4. Self-Hosted WordPress/ Custom Theme
Level: [ADVANCED] Cost: [$$$]
The highest level of WordPress is a custom theme. Typically starting from scratch or from a base template, a developer will custom code a complete WP theme for just that site purpose. The value with this approach is being able to customize the WP site to fit exactly your needs and not any extra as often comes with themes built for general use cases. Also, Google and Bing will recognize the custom nature of the code and typically give higher value to these sites. This reasoning is due to the repeated nature of code in generic templates being considered a smaller form of duplicate content. Truly unique code and custom written content is a recipe for SEO success.
Here at SkyPoint we build both pro and custom WP theme based websites. We also offer training, guidance and support on how to run the popular CMS.
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