Which One Should You Choose to Publish Your Website

WordPress.com is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world, and its self-hosted brother is no slouch either. Between both platforms, they power over 28% of the entire web. The problem is that they’re very different, which makes your choice between the two important.

At their core, both platforms are blogging Content Management Systems (CMSs), but they don’t share all the same functionality. Each is designed with different goals and a different type of user in mind. That means you need to understand what each offers you before settling down with either of them.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress. Then we’ll compare both CMSs in six different aspects. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s do this!

An Introduction to WordPress.com

The WordPress.com homepage.
WordPress.com is a powerful hosted platforms for all types of websites.

WordPress.com first opened its doors to the public in 2005. Back then, it was an invitation-only service, but as of 2017 it’s used to publish over 90 million posts per month.

The platform enables anyone to create an account and sign up for a plan. Its free tier permits you to create blogging websites using its built-in functionality, and opens them to the public. The platform’s more expensive plans enable you to use more advanced features, and you’re free to switch between them whenever you want.

WordPress.com is what’s known as a ‘hosted’ platform, since all its plans include server space you can use. Technically, the model is very similar to that of any hosting service, except that platforms such as WordPress.com lock you into a single ecosystem.

Although that may sound like a drawback, WordPress.com does offer a very attractive set of features. For example, you can choose themes to customize the style of your site, create blog posts in minutes, and even add new functionality to your website with plugins. Keep in mind that some features are restricted to premium plans, so if you want to create a sophisticated site (such as an online store), you’ll need to sign up to one of them.

An Introduction to WordPress

The WordPress.org homepage.
Self-hosted WordPress is the perfect option if you want to find your own hosting solution.

In many ways, WordPress.com wouldn’t exist without self-hosted WordPress. The latter was released in 2003 as an open source platform, and since then it’s gained an incredible amount of popularity.

Self-hosted WordPress (or just WordPress) is known as the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world. It powers nearly 30% of the world’s most popular websites, and some estimates say there are close to 60 million websites using it.

Unlike WordPress.com, WordPress requires you to set up your own hosting. That means signing up to a provider, installing the software, and linking a domain to your website, for starters. It’s a bit more involved than using WordPress.com, but in exchange, you get access to all the platform’s features without any restrictions. In many ways, using WordPress is like unlocking a full version of WordPress.com.

WordPress and WordPress.com Compared (6 Key Areas)

So far, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what makes WordPress and WordPress.com different. Instead of just telling you which platform is our favorite, we’re going to break down all their significant aspects. We’ll talk about ease of use, theme and plugin management, maintenance, and even prices. That’s a lot of ground to cover, but knowing these details is the only way to make an informed decision. With that in mind, let’s jump in!

1. Ease of Use

The WordPress.com dashboard.
WordPress.com is the way to go if you want an easy-to-use platform.

When it comes to ease of use, WordPress.com takes the cake. Both platforms are renown for being beginner-friendly, but there are several reasons why WordPress.com wins handily in this aspect:

  • It takes only minutes to get started. Anyone can get a WordPress.com website up and running in minutes, or as long as it takes you to fill out a few registration forms. Add a minute or two if you’re opting for a paid plan, since you’ll have to enter a few more details, but it’s still quick.
  • It features a streamlined dashboard. WordPress.com’s dashboard offers a lot of options, but not as many as WordPress does. Plus, all the important tabs are laid out in the open, whereas you need a little practice to figure out where everything is in WordPress.
  • Built-in analytics. The more you know about your visitors’ behavior, the better you can tailor your content to their needs. Almost every website these days needs an analytics solution, and WordPress.com offers a built-in option without the need to set up plugins.
  • In-house domain management. Most web hosts enable you to manage both websites and domains. However, WordPress.com makes things even simpler by including domain management right on your central dashboard. This may not be a feature you need to use often, but it earns them a point nonetheless.
  • Installing new plugins and themes is easy. If your plan supports these features, then installing new plugins and themes will only take you a handful of clicks. Plus, if you’re using options from WordPress.com’s library, chances are you won’t need to do any optimization out of the box.
  • You have fewer settings to deal with in general. Configuring a WordPress.com website is much simpler than a WordPress alternative, because you have fewer settings to deal with.

To expand on that last point, having fewer settings to configure can be a hindrance in some situations. Generally speaking, the more complex the site you’re building is, the more attention to detail it requires. That’s where a more ‘complicated’ platform such as WordPress can come in and save the day.

Just to be clear, when we say that WordPress is more complicated to use than WordPress.com, we don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s a simple assessment of how easy it is to start using the platform if you’re a complete newbie to it. WordPress undoubtedly has a steeper learning curve, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up quickly.

The great thing about using a platform as popular as WordPress is that you get access to incredible documentation and a very active community. If you want to learn how to build a particular kind of website, for example, chances are you can find dozens of articles on the subject (such as on our own blog).

Personally, we think that WordPress.com makes for a fantastic first experience when it comes to running a website. If you have zero knowledge of website development and just want to get your feet wet with something simple, then go with it. Plus, you can always migrate your WordPress.com website to WordPress anytime you want, so you’re not locked into the platform.

2. Theme Management

The WordPress theme repository.
WordPress themes enable you to style your website any way you want.

WordPress themes are templates that enable your website to adopt specific styles. To put it in other words, if your site is a house, think of themes as a coat of paint. Some themes are purely aesthetic, while others also add specific functionality to your website. More importantly, this is a feature that’s available in both WordPress and WordPress.com.

Despite being able to use themes on both platforms, WordPress takes the lead when it comes to this element, and here’s why:

  • It offers thousands of options. There are so many themes available online that you can find hundreds of round-up articles to help you choose the best ones for specific types of sites. It’s impossible to get to know them all, so stick with reputable sources if you’re new to the platform.
  • You can use any theme you want. You can set up any theme you want on your WordPress website. It doesn’t matter what type of web host you’re using, or what your site’s about. If you want to install a theme, you can do it.
  • WordPress enables you to use themes with advanced functionality. As we mentioned earlier, some themes do more than just style your website. For example, a given theme might include a site-building tool, whereas another comes with advanced video features. WordPress supports these types of options, but they’re more complicated to set up in WordPress.com due to its limitations.
  • You can customize your theme’s functionality. If you’re a developer (or you just like to tinker), you can tweak your theme’s code to alter how it works.

To be fair, WordPress.com also offers hundreds of options when it comes to themes (including both free and premium ones). The real downside is that you can’t upload and install custom options unless you’re using the platform’s Business plan, which is relatively expensive.

With that in mind, if you’re looking forward to using a particular theme to set up your new website, or you want the most choices, WordPress is probably your best option. On the other hand, if you want to set up a simple site, WordPress.com offers a library of stylish free themes for almost every purpose.

3. Plugin Management

The WordPress plugin repository.
WordPress plugins enable you to add almost any feature you want to your website.

Plugins are tools that add specific functionality to your WordPress or WordPress.com website. Just as with themes, you have both free and premium options available. In most cases, you can install any plugin you want on your website.

When it comes to plugin management, we have to award this round to WordPress once again. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • WordPress doesn’t limit what plugins you can use. When it comes to WordPress, you can install any plugin you want and have as many as you need running simultaneously. The only limitation you may run into is the cost of premium plugins.
  • There are thousands of plugins available. So far, we’ve yet to run into a situation where we needed to add a feature to a WordPress site, and we couldn’t find a plugin to do it.
  • You can customize how your plugins behave. Just as with themes, WordPress enables you to tinker with every aspect of how your plugins work. Keep in mind, though, that it can be dangerous unless you know what you’re doing.

As you might expect, WordPress.com also enables you to use plugins. However, that’s only true for Business plan users. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to use a free plugin or one that’s part of their library, you still won’t be able to set it up using a free plan.

In many ways, plugins are what makes WordPress such a fantastic platform. The CMS does its job out of the box, but the option to extend its functionality is just too good to pass up. If you intend to customize your website’s features in any way, then you should definitely use WordPress from the get-go.

4. Post Management

The WordPress.com editor.
The WordPress.com editor wins a lot of points for its style.

Posts are at the heart of what makes WordPress and WordPress.com so popular. Despite the fact that both platforms are powerful enough to run almost any type of website, blogging is still their strong point.

With that in mind, let’s talk about how both of them handle post creation and management. WordPress.com has an edge in this category, since:

  • It offers a stunning editor. From a functional standpoint, both the WordPress and WordPress.com editors work the same. However, the latter looks a lot better.
  • Improved post management. It’s easier to schedule posts, set excerpts, create sticky posts, and even submit posts for review by other team members using WordPress.com than it is with WordPress.
  • Built-in sharing features. Social media is an essential part of any website’s identity these days. WordPress.com understands this, and comes with integrated sharing buttons for every major social media platform (and even a ‘like’ feature for Facebook). WordPress, on the other hand, requires you to add most of these features in using either plugins or code.

Even if WordPress.com’s editor looks better, that doesn’t mean WordPress is a slouch when it comes to this aspect. Its editor is nothing amazing to look at out of the box, but it gets the job done, and you can customize it in any way you want. For example, if you want an experience that resembles that of WordPress.com, you can use a plugin that overhauls the editor’s style. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even replace your editor entirely with site-building plugins, which enable you to put together websites using pre-built blocks.

With that in mind, it’s difficult to award an outright win for post creation and management to either platform. If you’re looking to use a powerful yet simple editor that looks great, then WordPress.com is the best option. However, if you like the idea of completely replacing your editor with something different, then WordPress may be a better bet. You’ll have to look through a lot of plugins to find precisely what you’re searching for, but if you like customizing your tools, then it’ll be a fun experience.

5. Ease of Maintenance

Creating a WordPress backups.
Backups are an integral part of maintenance for any website.

In most cases, running a website isn’t as simple as creating a new post every now and then and reaping the rewards. There are a lot of tasks that go into site maintenance, including creating backups, checking your site’s statistics, optimizing its performance, domain management, and more.

Each of these tasks is complex enough to warrant its own instructions, and when you put all of them together, they can take up a lot of your time. Assuming you’re looking to use the platform that requires the least amount of maintenance, you’ll want to consider WordPress.com. Let’s talk about why that is:

  • It doesn’t require you to take care of backups. Hosted services such as WordPress often take care of backups on their own. They have so many redundancies in place that your website is unlikely to suffer any downtime or run into errors, since they vet any plugins and themes you use (except for Business plan subscribers).
  • You have access to built-in analytics and traffic numbers. WordPress.com enables you to check out your site’s statistics with a single click. It also provides you with detailed insights as to your best-performing posts, authors, subscribers, and more. It’s not as detailed as using Google Analytics, but it gets the job done for a built-in tool.
  • Built-in domain management tools. This isn’t the first time we’ve brought this up as a pro, but it’s worth repeating. WordPress.com enables you to manage domains right from your dashboard. Other hosting platforms usually hide these settings behind clunky panels, so it’s a welcome change.
  • You don’t need to optimize your website’s performance. As with most hosted platforms, WordPress ensures that each of its sites loads as fast as possible, whether you’re a free or premium subscriber.

WordPress enables you to take care of all these maintenance tasks as well. The difference is that you need to be more hands-on. For example, you’ll need to set up a backup plugin and configure it, so your website creates copies of itself on a schedule. Likewise, if you want access to analytics, you’ll need to find a way to integrate WordPress with a service such as Google Analytics.

If you’re new to running a website, all those tasks may sound like a chore. However, they’re often things you can automate after you get past the initial hurdle of setting them up. Likewise, there are a lot of web hosts that take care of some maintenance duties for you. For example, we take pains to ensure that our WordPress websites run fast, and we do backups for all our customers (which you can access from your cPanel).

Having said that, WordPress.com definitely takes the crown when it comes to ease of maintenance. If you’re the kind of person who prefers to focus on content creation over menial tasks, then hosted platforms are probably right up your alley. Keep in mind, though – as your website grows, you’ll likely need to upgrade to a paid WordPress.com plan, so those perks do come at a price.

Likewise, WordPress is still a viable option even if you’ve never taken care of a website before. It’s an easy-to-use platform, and if you don’t mind going through a tutorial or two, then you can make short work of things like setting up backup solutions. Finally, you can also choose your web host carefully, and look for one that takes at least some of those tasks out of your hands.

6. Pricing Options

WordPress.com's plans.
WordPress.com offers four plans, each for a different type of user.

Last but not least, there’s the financial element to consider. To start off, let’s talk about WordPress.com’s pricing plans. It doesn’t matter how big your website is or what its purpose may be, you only get four plans to choose from:

  1. Free: This plan enables you to create simple websites with 3 GB of storage space, community management options, and access to free themes.
  2. Personal ($4 per month): With the Personal plan, you get a free custom domain thrown in, all the features from the Free tier, and 6GB of storage. Plus, you receive access to WordPress.com’s support channels, and the ability to display your site without ads.
  3. Premium ($8.25 per month): This plan provides you with 13 GB of space, access to all of WordPress’ free and premium plugins, and advanced design options. More importantly, you get the option to monetize your website using WordPress.com’s WordAds program.
  4. Business ($24.92 per month): WordPress.com’s best plan provides you with all the features we’ve covered so far, as well as unlimited storage and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools. Best of all, it supports the use of custom themes and plugins, and comes with Google Analytics pre-integrated.

As far as we’re concerned, there are only two plans you should consider if you’re using WordPress.com: the Free and Business tiers. The reasons are simple. First, almost no company offers powerful free hosting packages (because they aren’t cost-effective), but WordPress.com does. If you don’t mind its limitations, then by all means use the Free plan, attach it to a custom domain, and you’ll get a robust website for nearly nothing. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the full WordPress.com experience, you’ll want to go right for its Business plan.

However, you should also consider that $24.92 per month can get you a whole lot more if you’re using WordPress. Take our shared hosting plans, for example. The most expensive one is only $9.31 per month, and it provides excellent performance for medium traffic sites. More importantly, that monthly fee enables you to use self-hosted WordPress, which gives you all the features of a Business plan for a fraction of the cost.

Before we call this round, though, let’s break down some of the hidden costs of hosting a WordPress website:

  • A hosting plan. Prices for hosting plans vary wildly depending on what type of services they provide and who your provider is. Generally speaking, though, you should be able to find decent WordPress shared hosting options for about $5 per month or less.
  • Registering a domain. How much you spend on one of these depends on which Top-Level Domain (TLD) you choose. In most cases, .com options start at around $10-15 per year.
  • Premium WordPress themes and plugins. Some of the best WordPress plugins are available for free. The same is true for themes, although a lot of people prefer to use premium options. In our experience, prices for those are usually between $20 and $100.

Knowing this, we can say WordPress.com’s Business plan isn’t a bad deal if you have the cash to spare. For that money, you get powerful hosting, a custom domain, and access to a collection of premium themes. However, WordPress still wins from a cost efficiency perspective.

With WordPress, you should be able to get a website up and running for less than $5 per month, with an extra $15-20 thrown in for your domain. It may not be able to handle as much traffic as WordPress.com’s plans, but it includes all of WordPress’ features out of the box, and you have a lot more options when it comes to upgrading it (depending on your host).

Which Platform Should You Choose to Publish Your Website?

We’ve covered a lot of ground, so let’s take a minute to recap what the strengths of both platforms are. WordPress.com excels when it comes to ease of use, post management, and maintenance. However, its shiny coat wears off a bit when you realize that you can’t use custom plugins or themes unless you subscribe to its Business plan.

WordPress, on the other hand, wins when it comes to plugin and theme management, and it’s usually more cost-efficient. However, the platform does have a steeper learning curve, and handling maintenance tasks can be more time-consuming.

With all that in mind, here is a summary of what type of user should consider opting for each platform:

  • WordPress.com. This platform is great if you want to build simple websites with its free plan, or you don’t mind shelling out for the Business tier. More importantly, it’s great for people who don’t want to handle repetitive maintenance tasks and just focus on content.
  • WordPress. Self-hosted WordPress is undoubtedly the most powerful option. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind troubleshooting and wants to tweak every aspect of your website, you’re in luck. Plus, you can use any custom plugins and themes you want, which is a deciding factor for many users.

By now, you should have a clear idea of what platform you want to use, so all that’s left is to get out there and start working. Before you leave, however, you may want to check out either this guide on how to get started on WordPress.com or this tutorial on what your first steps with WordPress should be. Best of luck!


Your choice of CMS will impact what type of site you can build, what features you have access to, and even which web hosts you can use. With that in mind, it’s important to do your research before settling down.

When it comes to WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com, we wholeheartedly recommend the former. Despite not being as easy to pick up as WordPress.com, it’s still beginner friendly, and it packs an immense number of features. WordPress is the clear winner in most aspects, so we can only recommend WordPress.com if you’re looking for a simple platform to handle a straightforward website, such as a modest blog.

Which platform do you prefer: WordPress or WordPress.com? Tell us why in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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The WordPress.com Year in Review (and Resolutions for 2018)

The WordPress.com Year in Review (and Resolutions for 2018)

The WordPress.com Year in Review (and Resolutions for 2018)

It was quite a year for the WordPress.com community, and we’ve got a lot to look forward to.

Some years go by slowly — not because they’re busier, but maybe there’s just more out there in the world to stop and notice. We hope the WordPress.com and Jetpack community offered you some of those moments this year.

Maybe it was a helpful chat with someone on our Happiness team, or maybe you discovered a cool new feature that made business or blogging even easier. Perhaps you read something on WordPress.com that inspired you. We just want to say thanks for being here, and we’re excited to see what you all accomplish in 2018 and beyond.

Below are some highlights from the year in WordPress.com — and make sure you check out WordPress.com Discover to see more favorite moments from 2017. Happy New Year!

Viral Hits and Notable Moments

• TIME, powered by WordPress.com VIP, announced its Person of the Year — The Silence Breakers.

• WordPress.com blogger Hospey used an online resume to score an internship with Chance the Rapper:

• Baby Ellie became the youngest person to thru-hike all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail! She made the trip with her mom Bekah and her dad Derrick, who wrote about their adventure.

• One user got a nice surprise: JK Rowling tweeted their blog post:

• Robert E. Kelly and his family became worldwide celebrities when his appearance on the BBC was interrupted by his children. “We are just a regular family, and raising two young children can be a lot of work. Because of that, it seems that the video has resonated with parents around the world,” he wrote on his blog.

• Over at Longreads, Laurie Penny wrote the site’s most popular story of the year — The Unforgiving Minute.

• We wished a happy 11th anniversary to Smitten Kitchen, one of the web’s most popular and longest-running food blogs.

• INFJoe, the cartoon persona of artist and blogger Aaron Caycedo-Kimura, released his book Text, Don’t Call: An Illustrated Guide to the Introverted Life.

The Year in Building Your Business

This year we worked to make it even easier to create the perfect website for business and ecommerce — from fashion to fitness, salons to school fundraisers.

In March we introduced unlimited themes for Premium and Business plan users so you can experiment with more designs — including the new Radcliffe 2 theme for small business. We made it easy for you to collaborate in Google Docs and publish straight to WordPress.com and Jetpack-powered sites. In May we launched Business plan support for third-party plugins and themes, giving you total control over customizing and monetizing your site:

Of course, no website is an island: it’s more important than ever to distribute your blog posts and pages across social media, so in July we introduced social media scheduling, allowing you to plan tweets and Facebook posts far in advance and resurface popular posts from your archives:

social scheduling

Then in August, we made it even easier to earn money from your site with the new Simple Payment feature:

To top it all off, we teamed up with Rebrand Cities to bring 10,000 small businesses online, and we partnered with inspiring folks like Creative Mornings and legendary designers like Michael Bierut and Marian Bantjes to create new sites with students in Appalachia as part of Project A3.

The Year in Photos (and Making It Easier to Post the Perfect Shot)

You published some incredible images and illustrations in 2017! Take a look:

Ascending the Andes

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb – Nelson Mandela.” Thirdeyemom ascended the Andes, and captured this stunning photograph.

Illustrations by Jeremy Graboyes

We fell in love with the illustrated work of Jeremy Graboyes, a Washington, D.C.-based artist who specializes in pen-and-ink and watercolor.

Child laborers of Bangladesh

Photographer Sophia Hsin documented the child laborers of Bangladesh. The Vancouver-based Hsin is using the project to raise awareness among consumers about how some products enter their food chain.

Street photography in Puerto Rico

Omar Z. Robles brought dance and street photography together. Robles captures moments with dancers around the world, from the streets of Cuba to Hong Kong. (Above: dancer Courtney Stohlton in Puerto Rico.)

We also wanted to simplify the process of sharing your gorgeous images: You can now connect your Google Photos account and insert images straight from Google, as well as export photos from Lightroom straight to WordPress.com.

The Year in Publishing on the Go

mobile apps

Photoblogging is even better with a world-class mobile app. We made a ton of improvements to WordPress for iOS and Android, with a brand new editor, new features to manage your site, and a whole lot more.

A Warm Welcome to WordPress!

Did you know that nearly 30% of all sites on the internet are powered by WordPress? Here’s just a small sampling of the new sites we welcomed to WordPress.com, Jetpack, and WordPress.com VIP in 2017:

Resolutions for 2018

We resolve to keep working to make the web a better place — and work with all of you in the WordPress.com community to keep building your dreams.

What do you want to accomplish in the coming year? Tell us in the comments.

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How to Choose the Right Blog Post Layout For Your WordPress Website – The A2 Posting

A website mockup.

Three things can make or break a blog – writing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and design. Even if you nail the first two, your WordPress blog may not get much traction if it doesn’t have visual appeal, and that includes how its posts are laid out.

Most blogs include a central page where visitors can see all your latest content, laid out in whichever style you choose. An attractive design and clear, easy-to-understand layout help you position your content in the best light possible, and encourage visitors to read more.

In this article, we’re going to talk about why your blog post layout matters. Then we’ll introduce you to three popular styles, why they work, and when you should consider using them. Let’s jump in!

Why Your Blog Post Layout Matters

The A2 Hosting blog.
The way you style your blog posts can affect your site’s performance.

In many cases, people will find your blog thanks to a link from another article or a search engine. If they like your content, chances are they’ll want to check out more of it. To do that, they may end up visiting the main page where all your latest posts are displayed (sometimes called an ‘archives page’ or ‘post library’).

For a lot of blogs, this post library doubles as their homepage. That means it’s twice as important for its layout to be easy to navigate and stylish. Here’s why:

  • Layouts affect readability. Depending on your design, your post titles and blurbs may look too small or might not be responsive, which negatively affects readability.
  • Post design impacts how easy it is to click on each article. Generally speaking, you’ll want to use layouts that make it easy for visitors to enter each post quickly.

Ultimately, a lot of people pick layouts based on which one they like best. That’s a valid approach, of course, but it’s also smart to choose a design that offers the best user experience possible.

3 Blog Post Layouts You Can Use in WordPress

Keep in mind that not all themes support the layout types we’re going to talk about. However, we’ll point you towards some plugin alternatives to implement these styles if necessary. Let’s get started!

1. Lists of Posts

A screenshot from our blog.
List are straightforward and easy to read.

A list-based layout is the most straightforward design you can use for your blog posts. It’s usually a simple vertical succession of blog posts, which includes their titles, featured images, and short excerpts from each. This style may seem basic, but it does offer a fair number of upsides.

A list-based layout is:

  • Easy to read and navigate. A list of posts is simple to understand, and people can scan through items quickly (as long as your titles are clearly visible).
  • A classic style people are accustomed to. Most people are used to vertical navigation, and your posts will be easy to read and navigate through on mobile devices.
  • You can adjust the width of your list. Most modern themes and plugins enable you to change the width of your blog posts, to increase readability across devices.

Many blogs use this format, and there are good reasons why. As far as we’re concerned, simple is often best, which is why we use a list-based layout for our own post layout. Plus, you can always make things look more stylish by playing around with the size of your featured images, the look of your Read more buttons, and the fonts you use.

The good news is that almost every theme enables you to use list layouts for your post library. For example, this is the default style for the Twenty Seventeen theme, as well as its predecessors. Just check out the demo for any theme you’re considering, to see if it includes this layout as well.

2. Grid-Based Layouts

An example of a grid layout.
Grid layouts are modern, and enable you to display a lot of posts on a single page.

Next up, grid-based layouts display posts side by side, and use featured images as the key elements within the grid. Sometimes, these layouts use card-based design, devoting part of each ‘card’ to a post title and excerpt, and the rest to a featured image.

Either way, grid-based post layouts are very popular these days – and with good reason. Let’s talk about their two most significant upsides:

  • You have more room to display posts. The side-by-side approach enables readers to view several rows that include multiple posts.
  • Card designs provide you with plenty of customization options. If your grid uses a card-based design, you can play around with custom background colors, shadows, and more.

It’s important to remember that horizontal blog post layouts can be tricky. You want to include more than one post per row, but not so many that each element is too crowded. If that happens, you’ll have less room to display your posts’ excerpts. Aside from that quirk, however, this style is an excellent choice for blogs with modern designs.

If you’re interested in implementing this type of layout, a lot of popular themes include it, such as Divi. However, you can also add it to any website you want using The Post Grid plugin.

3. Masonry Layouts

An example of a masonry layout.
This type of blog post layout is both unique and stylish.

Masonry layouts are actually a variant on the grid design we discussed above ago. In this case, all the grid boxes are pushed together, and some of them have different sizes.

This type of blog post layout looks quite unique when you see it first-hand. Here are some of the reasons we recommend this style:

  • It enables you to highlight posts. In most cases, you can choose which posts get the ‘biggest’ spots on your grid, so they attract more attention.
  • It’s visually stunning. A lot of post layouts can be very bland to look at, but this style appears compelling if you use high-quality featured images.

The only major downside to this layout is that in most cases, it doesn’t enable you to include post excerpts. It will simply include your featured images and titles, so those elements will need to be strong enough to attract attention.

To achieve this layout, we recommend using the Grid Plus plugin, which also supports regular grids and carousels. You can find a video on how to set up the masonry layout for your blog posts on the plugin’s homepage.


In many cases, people will pay just as much attention to your blog’s style as they do to its content. If you put effort into making sure both aspects are outstanding, you should be drowning in regular visitors in no time. With that in mind, one of the best ways to stand out from other blogs is to try and find the perfect post layout for your website.

There are plenty of styles you can choose from, but these three offer a solid mix of functionality and style:

  1. Lists of posts: They’re easy to read, and most themes include this option.
  2. Grid-based layouts: This layout offers a solid mix of style with functionality.
  3. Masonry posts layouts: They’re incredibly stylish, but in most cases, you can’t include post excerpts.

Do you have any questions about how to pick the right post layout for your blog? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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4 Non-Blogging Niches WordPress Is Perfect For – The A2 Posting

A woman typing on a computer.

WordPress may have started out as a blogging platform, but nowadays it’s a lot more than that. In fact, this Content Management System (CMS) powers almost 30% of the entire web. If you think of WordPress as only for blogging, you’re missing out on a ton of its features.

In our opinion, the best thing about WordPress is how customizable it is. With the right plugins and themes, you can build nearly any type of website you want, including online stores, portfolios, business sites, and more. Once you see what WordPress is really capable of, you’ll probably be a user for life.

For this article, we’re going to talk about four non-blogging niches that are perfect for WordPress. We’ll tell you why the platform is a solid fit for each type of site, and show you some outstanding examples. Let’s take it from the top!

1. Online Stores

An example of an online store.
WordPress can help you create modern online stores.

WordPress has many strong points, but it’s not built for e-commerce out of the box. However, that doesn’t mean the platform can’t work for online stores. In fact, by using the right plugin, such as WooCommerce, you can quickly start selling digital and physical products over the web.

Let’s talk about why you should consider using WordPress over a dedicated e-commerce platform:

  • Ease of use. WordPress is renown for its ease of use, and its top e-commerce plugins can be picked up quickly as well.
  • It’s often cheaper than using a dedicated e-commerce platform. You can set up WordPress on any web host you want, and you’ll often find plans that start at less than $5 per month.
  • It’s a secure platform. WordPress is always under active development, and you can use plenty of tools to improve your store’s security even further.

Some people might think that e-commerce plugins are only a good fit for small sites. However, a lot of popular online services rely on them to make sales. For example, OptinMonster provides lead generation services to over 300,000 websites, and uses Easy Digital Downloads to power its subscriptions:

The OptinMonster homepage.

This example highlights the fact that WordPress isn’t just a blogging platform. With the right customizations, you can handle any type of online sales you want, and scale your business as much as possible.

2. Business Websites

An example of a business website.
Even massive businesses such as Toyota use WordPress now and then.

Every business needs a website. It provides you with an excellent way to reach new customers, build trust with existing ones, and even keep people updated about what’s going on in the industry. Plus, it’s an important tool when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

What’s more, WordPress packs a lot of features that can help you create modern business websites. For example:

  • WordPress websites are easy to maintain. The way the platform is built makes it easy to handle complex tasks in minutes. For example, you can schedule backups and content from your dashboard.
  • It’s easy to find WordPress professionals. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. That means it’s easy to find professional help if you run into a problem.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). WordPress makes it easy to stay on top of SEO tasks, thanks to plugins such as Yoast SEO. It simplifies the process of attracting brand-new visitors to your site, which can lead to more business.

One excellent example of a business that uses WordPress is The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company homepage.

This is a straightforward website, which focuses mostly on news, information about the company, and career opportunities. However, the fact such a famous company uses WordPress effectively says a lot about the platform’s adaptability and potential.

3. Social Networks

An example of a social network.
WordPress social networks enable your users to create profiles, send messages, and much more.

When people think about social networks, they don’t often think about WordPress. To be fair, the platform doesn’t power any social media juggernauts like Facebook or Instagram. However, it can be the perfect solution for modest online communities, thanks to plugins such as BuddyPress.

You may not know this, but there are several services that enable you to create custom social networks. With that in mind, let’s talk about why WordPress is a worthy option:

  • It’s much cheaper than specialized social networking software. This type of software is very niche, so it comes at a premium (unlike WordPress, which can be set up for a few dollars in hosting).
  • You’re using open-source software. With WordPress, you can customize any aspect of your social network. Specialized software, on the other hand, tends to be a black box you can’t tamper with.

As we mentioned earlier, WordPress makes an excellent fit for small online communities (think a few hundred users). Take Little Sketchers, for example:

The Little Sketchers homepage.

This social network was built using BuddyPress, and it looks fantastic. With plugins like this one, you can enable users to create profiles, publish updates, and more, which is all you need for a basic social network.

4. Portfolio Websites

An example of a portfolio website.
WordPress is an excellent platform for creating professional portfolios.

So far, we’ve talked about online stores, business sites, and social networks. Now, let’s focus on something a little less complicated – portfolios. This type of site might not be as technically advanced as an online store, but a professional-looking portfolio is crucial if you’re a freelancer or simply exploring career options.

Let’s go over a few reasons why it makes sense to power your portfolio using WordPress:

  • It enables you to create any type of gallery you want. There are dozens of gallery plugins that offer just about any style you’re looking for, to display your work in all its glory.
  • You can add contact forms to your website. Just as with galleries, you can have your pick of contact form plugins. This feature is useful for engaging prospective clients.
  • It supports client testimonials. This is an essential element to build trust with your clients, and there are several tools that make adding them simple.

Portfolio sites can be very subjective. However, we’re a fan of designs that mix style with outstanding functionality, such as DaInk:

The DaInk homepage.

This gorgeous portfolio site isn’t all style. It has a very clear navigational scheme, and it includes all the information clients need, including past projects, contact forms, and more. These are all things you can do easily with WordPress.


If you’re not sure which platform to use for your next project, you should consider WordPress. It’s easy to pick up, versatile and customizable, and can do a lot more than just power simple blogs. All you have to do is find the right plugins and theme for the job you have in mind, and you’ll be able to design nearly any kind of website.

For example, these four non-blogging niches do a great job of showcasing how versatile WordPress can be, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg:

  1. Online stores: WordPress offers dozens of easy-to-use e-commerce plugins.
  2. Business websites: With WordPress, you can build scalable and secure business websites.
  3. Social networks: WordPress is an excellent option for small online communities on a budget.
  4. Portfolio websites: The platform offers dozens of features that make building online portfolios easier.

Have you ever used WordPress for a website that wasn’t a blog? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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