Writers are always writing. Especially the published ones.
Writing comes in a variety of forms, but one of the most prominent, especially today, is blogging. There’re many reasons for this, whether sharing tips with fellow writers, presenting a teaser for a work in progress or for creating buzz for an upcoming book. There’s always a story or message to share and the internet has expedited the process.
The question, then, is “which platform?” There’s no shortage of blogging tools, however, the focus of this article is on the one I vote as the hands-down, best blogging platform for authors and writers: WordPress. Here’s why:
WordPress Is Free-ish
For many, writing is a passion or hobby more than it is a large money-maker. All the more reason for expenses to stay at a minimum—especially when the publication of a book itself may have a substantial cost, depending upon the manner of publishing.
Whether signing up with a free account on WordPress.com or having an open source WordPress.org installed on your own hosting provider, cost is little to nothing.
While going the WordPress.com account is easier (and totally free), I highly recommend finding a company to host your website with a provider that either comes pre-installed with WordPress or makes the installation process super-easy. Here’s a few of the top reasons why:
- You’re able to setup and buy a custom domain like “mywebsite.com,” rather than a subdomain such as “mywebsite.wordpress.com.”
- The self-hosted framework allows for more expansion and customization.
- Many plugins are only supported by the self-hosted version.
Concerning hosting, many individuals recommend Bluehost which can go as low as $5 a month. I’ve had a decent experience (and support) from Media Temple which has its own affordable, WordPress-specific hosting plans.
Whichever host you select, ensure the service’s WordPress support is top-notch and easy to work with.
WordPress Has a Ton of Themes and Styles From Which to Choose
That’s right, a ton. Just within WordPress’ free theme gallery, there’s over two thousand to choose from and many other affordable options as well.
Fortunately, you’re more than likely to find a theme for the look and feel you’re after—and if not—you can find one that gives a wide array of customization options.
Here’re a few handy places to hunt down themes for your new site:
WordPress Is Incredibly Customizable
Similar to themes, the WordPress Plugin repository consists of 32,079 plugins alone—that doesn’t count the hundreds, if not thousands of plugins available for free through developers on their personal websites.
Each of these plugins has the ability to push, pull, or stretch WordPress to fit your needs—almost always, for free.
Here’re a few plugins I use regularly to make WordPress even more useful:
- BackupWordPress: Create your own scheduled backups of your WordPress website.
- Auto Post Thumbnail: Automatically create a thumbnail or “feature image” of your posts first image.
- WordPress Editorial Calendar: View your posts in a calendar format with the ability to drag and drop to reschedule and rearrange them.
WordPress Is Writer-Friendly
A point that must not be overlooked is the user-friendliness of the WordPress platform.
WordPress handles writing (and editing) effortlessly with two writing views. The standard view allows you to see all your tools and panels as you write, like so:
The other, possibly less known and wonderfully useful view is the “Distraction Free Writing” mode. This hides everything but your document and a few essential formatting tools so you can focus on writing:
Another essential part of WordPress is its “trash bin.” Just like the days of the typewriter, a writer may have a full trash bin before successfully writing one page of prose.
Thanks to WordPress, you’re able to dig into your digital trash can in the event you regret the deletion of the post.
WordPress Support Is a Dime, a Dozen
As we all well know, sometimes, technology goes wrong. Very wrong.
In a fateful moment, if and when something goes haywire with your blog, the solution is a few keystrokes away.
Being the free, popular open-source framework that it is, there’s a multitude of souls undergoing the same WordPress-related woes as you.
Simply take to Google (or DuckDuckGo, as I prefer) and type out your issue or copy and paste your error. As one who uses WordPress regularly and has developed themes on the platform, there’s no problem too small and no bug to complicated thanks to the www.
What Blogging Platform Do You Use?
Not a WordPress user? Do you have a different platform you’ve found more useful? Feel free to leave a comment, I would love to hear the tools you use to make your writing and blogging better!