The reasons are tenfold. Using a blog that is hosted/powered by one of the largest, best, coolest, … (fill in what you like) … companies in the world gives you many advantages:
- No need to worry about upgrading your version, which can be a pain when it comes to WordPress. Sure they added a cool feature to upgrade on the fly, but still …
- No need to create backups (not always recommended)
- No need to worry about security. I mean it’s Google we’re talking about. Sure you can nag about downtime etc, but that can be an issue with your selfhosted blog as well.
- Integration with your Google-account
- Managing a Googleblog has never been easier
- Reliability and speed are not an issue
But I thought this post was about WordPress?
Yes it is. On occasion (or several), you need more control for your blog. Or you need to have more functionality from it. You need it to behave more like a website than a blog.
In comes WordPress, a blogplatform that can be used as a full fledged content management system. Important to know is this: You need to take care of some issues after your fresh installation. These are:
By default, your pages/posts will look like this:
where p is the post id.
You really don’t want them to look like this. First of all, it doesn’t say anything about the content you can find on the page. Second, you need to think about your SEO. Having key words in your link will benefit your website, and ultimately, your ranking.
So you want to change the way your WordPress blog handles your permalinks. Log into WordPress with your admin account, and then click on ‘Options’. Next click the sub-category under options entitled ‘Permalink’.
In the edit box just underneath where it says, ‘Use the template tags above to create a virtual site structure:’ type the following:
For faster performance, it is better to include a unique variable such as the post ID number within the permalink structure. To finish click the update permalinks button. Voila, that’s that.
2. Fight spam
Download and install the Akismet plugin to catch comment spam. Unfortunately, WordPress is a very popular platform. Therefor it is also often targetted by spammers. If you let your guard down, and you don’t protect the comments-function of your blog, you’re bound to be swarmed by spam.
Therefor, go to the Akismet website and claim a key (it’s free!!) to use the plugin on your blog. It uses filters to automatically delete/flag spam.
3. Drop the version string in your Meta Tags
Most of the times, WordPress will put this little piece of code into the header of your blog:
meta name="generator" content="WordPress " /
Very annoying. Basically it displays the version-number of the WordPress installation in your code. WordPress gets updates pretty often, so a version number will look like 2.0.8. If you don’t update your vesion often (and you will have to if you plan on using WordPress!), displaying your ‘older’ version-number in your code can attract hackers and scriptkiddies.
4. Protect Your Blog With a Solid Password
After the installation of your blog, WordPress will autogenerate a password for you that will look like 125f8fh2852g58@55. A long string of letters, numbers etc. Sure it’s difficult for us mere human to guess, but for computers (hackprograms) it can be a lot easier.
So be sure to change the automated password into something a little more diverse.
These are only the first steps you can do in order to protect and/or manage your new WordPress blog. There are a bunch of security-related things you can do afterwards, but these are a bit more technical. Maybe I’ll make it into a follow-up post.