Homestead on the Range has come a long way since we launched our website in 2013. Our site was originally self-hosted. We eventually moved to WordPress.com and have found it to be the best solution for our needs.
If you are launching a new website for your farm, small business, or personal enjoyment, or if you are dissatisfied with your current arrangement, you might consider hosting your site on WordPress.com. Here’s why:
No site is immune to hackers. Maintaining the integrity of a self-hosted site, especially one that uses a database, can be an absolute nightmare.
Our previous setup was an amalgamation involving WordPress.org (the free open-source version), a theme, and a multitude of plugins. In short, a patchwork quilt of sometimes incompatible pieces, all regularly requiring updating and all regularly breaking when updated. WordPress.com is a complete package, and it updates in the background. No supervision required. (And no vetting of plugins to sort the good ones from the malware!)
2. Intuitive Design Process
The WordPress.com interface is incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. You don’t have to know anything about coding in HTML or CSS to get started (although learning these two languages will give you greater flexibility). A step-by-step interface will take you from absolute beginner without a site to a WordPress user with a great design in no time!
Want to go the extra mile and make your space on the web reflect your brand or just your personal taste? Pick a theme that looks nice to you. Then use the Customizer to change fonts, select a color scheme, upload a header image, and set up sidebars and footers. You can also create your own one-of-a-kind homepage with drag-and-drop elements called blocks, letting you display headings, images, text, or your latest posts in just a few clicks. It’s really that easy.
WordPress.com sites come optimized for search engines and user experience right out of the box. While they do have tools that you can use to enhance the performance of your site, if you don’t want to deal with this side of things pretty much all you have to do is polish your old content up from time to time.
3. A Plan for Everyone
WordPress.com offers five plans, so there is something to fit every budget. The basic plan is free. For a custom domain name (e.g., myfarmwebsiteexample.com instead of myfarmwebsiteexample.wordpress.com) or to remove ads from your site, select one of the paid plans. Last but not least, pricing. You can literally start out for free if you don’t mind some advertising and having your site listed as a subdomain of WordPress.com (not recommended for businesses). A paid plan will remove all ads and let you have your own unique domain name, as well as give you access to personalized support. The lowest-level paid plan is still extremely inexpensive. Subsequent plans with more features (e.g., more options for monetizing your site) are also affordable. The highest packages offer almost total control over all aspects of your website.
4. Excellent Documentation and Support
Have a question? WordPress.com offers extensive and easy-to-understand documentation to guide you every step of the way. Plus, if you get into a real bind, you can browse the support forums or contact their extremely responsive staff.
Need more reasons to consider WordPress.com? Check these out:
- You own anything you write or post.
- Visitors can easily opt to have posts delivered directly to their inbox.
- The WordPress Reader makes it easy for people to discover your site as soon as you begin posting.
And then there’s a whole host of nice features we use daily and love, such as the pre-built layouts and patterns to spark your creativity, the built-in share buttons and contact forms, and the attractive gallery feature (check out this page from our gallery). The entire system is novice-friendly and super easy to use.