A Slice of Spam – In Praise of WordPress

spam Amazing blog!  Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?  I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.  Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed…  Any ideas?  Kudos!

The above is a copy’n’paste of a Spam message I received here.  Now, this is a good example of how Spam can give the illusion of being genuine and thereby suck you in.  However, the amusing part is that the message raises some interesting points, points which are actually deserving of an answer.

Ignoring the fake praise, let’s look at the rest of the message:

The opening question is, of course, far too general to be easily answered.  However, I believe the rest of the message qualifies the question sufficiently.  It would appear that we’re being asked about blog writing, not book writing.  So the second question becomes the important one.  Would I ‘suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress’?  That, in itself, raises a question in response: what are your intentions – do you intend to try to make money from your blog?  WordPress is, in fact, free however you apply it, but if you’re installing it to your own web site, then you’re probably paying for that, and it won’t be cheap if you’ve opted for a large amount of server space on your host.  I would tend to regard that, then, as semi-freeFully-free would be opting for the form offered by WordPress.com at its basic level (you can opt to purchase upgrades or even the full ‘Pro’ package).  With .com, there are definite restrictions, and some may catch you out.  You can’t advertise freely.  Anything you advertise has to comply with strict limitations, usually meaning that you can advertise your own items, as long as that advertising doesn’t dominate your blog.  You also can’t use certain facilities of web page coding that are supported just about everywhere else.  For example, JavaScripts are barred.  These restrictions are based on .com protecting themselves and, therefore, all their patrons.  You will also find that links to certain sites are not allowed and, if used, will either be removed automatically or may even see your blog suspended.  This can prove awkward, especially if you utilise most free web hosts, because those are so often exploited by people you really don’t want anything to do with!  If you can accept the restrictions, then .com is an excellent choice, as it has many features you’d have to install for yourself with the alternative version.  One of the most important features of .com is Akismet, which is one of the best Spam filters I’ve ever come across!  Akismet will protect your blog like no other system.

The other WordPress option is WordPress.org.  This requires you to have a web host of your own.  A word of warning: the way some free hosts are structured makes it very complicated getting WordPress to work properly!  Assuming that you can get things the way they need to be, the first thing you’ll discover is a basic version of the platform.  You will have to install a theme and various plug-ins to get close to .com standards.  You will, however, have far more choice in what plug-ins to install (you can’t install any in .com) and you can do just about anything you want – subject only to any restrictions your host might have imposed.  I won’t attempt to go into it all, beyond saying Akismet is worth having. along with JetPack.  Note that some features that come free with .com are pay-for in .org!

OK, so WordPress is covered.  Would I choose WordPress above all the other blog platforms?  You bet I would!  It’s far more flexible than any of the alternatives.  You can, if you wish, use it to create a complete web site, and with the right theme, it will look professional.  As a platform, I don’t believe it has any serious competitor.

I think that answers the message…

~ Steve

P.S. Interesting article: All About SEO on WordPress.com

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About Steve

An author since the age of 13 years, writing again dominates my activities. My "Imagineer-ing" blog is my primary site. Also: Beginner knitter since November 2010. Favourite knitting techniques: cable and lace. Beginner cross stitcher. Beginner jewellery maker. With the promotion of self publication and all the other work that has been going on here, Dad decided around 2am this morning (22/11/2013) that it was time to begin his next adventure. He was seen off earlier the previous evening by myself, my brother, my sister in law, and my sister, as well as his wife (our mum), and an enigmatic being known only as A Lorraine. After this time of story telling, laughing, crying, joking and mickey taking, we saw how tired both mum and dad were, and we decided to leave them under the (sometimes) gentle care of The Lorraine. When Dad found the timetable for his travels, he let Mum know gently, which woke her from her drowsing, then, with the same gentleness he showed in this universe, he boarded his favourite mode of transport, the Interdimensional Steam Train, and set off with a smile and a wave. For those of us closest, that smile was a reminder that his pain has ended, and the wave, an indicator that he will pop in to all those that knew him, from time to time. Usually at the most inconvenient and in opportune moments he can. While we are sad that he is no longer here, we are happy he now has no pain, and is experiencing more extraordinary things that his writers mind will be frantically weaving into a new story. Posted by Son Damien

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