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WordPress.com

Free
Reviewed
March 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Wordpress.com

Best hosted web design software

Pros
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Hundreds of ready-made templates
  • Custom domain names available
Cons
  • Limited ability to customize
  • Few text-formatting options
  • Cannot place advertisements on website

Bottom Line

WordPress.com is a free online web design program that allows everyone, especially beginners, to create a good-looking and functional website or blog in a matter of hours. Start by naming your website and selecting a theme from one of the hundreds available, and you'll get a blank page on which to drag and drop the page elements and widgets you want, rearranging them until you're satisfied. WordPress.com can also host your website, so you don't need any technical computer knowledge to keep your site up and running.

Setup

Up and running quickly. Jill Duffy of PCMag.com says, "Commit to WordPress and you can't go wrong," and she gives the product an Editor's Choice award. Setting up a WordPress.com website is simple and straightforward: Enter your email address, create a user name and password and name your first website. You're then led through a series of choices to create your website, starting with selecting a theme from more than 200 designs and customizing the header with your website name.

Everything that you need to design your webpage is on the dashboard screen, with the tools categorized on the left side of the screen. You don't have to worry about your initial decisions, because everything, except for the website's URL and name, can be changed at a later date. There's also a feature to import existing blog content from Blogger, Movable Type, TypePad, Posterous, Vox or LiveJournal.

Ease Of Use

Drag and drop everything. WordPress.com has extensive flexibility for you to create new web pages, update existing ones and post blog entries. Everything is drag-and-drop, and you can see your changes instantly. Templates have one or two sidebars to use, and whatever widgets you place in them appear

Features

Hundreds of free layouts. The free version of WordPress.com provides all that you need to set up, run and monitor your website. You get web hosting with 3 GB of storage, automatic backups and software upgrades, multilingual themes and comment tracking. However, your domain name will end in a .wordpress.com suffix, unless you purchase a custom name. Upgrades, including 10 GB of storage, custom designs and premium themes, are available individually or bundled at a discounted price.

Creating text for your web page is done onscreen; if you have knowledge of HTML, you can view and edit the code as well. Widgets such as site search, entry archiving and user comments can be added with ease. The downside is that you cannot use any widgets other than those provided, and you cannot code your own.

WordPress.com provides tools for site management and organization. Tracking and publishing tools are built into the software, and the statistics give a real-time view of the traffic to your website. You can use the tagging and categorization features to broadly and narrowly organize your blog content. There's also a well-reviewed free app to post to your WordPress.com website from your iPhone or iPad.

Our Sources

1. PCMag.com

Review Credibility: Very Good Receiving 4 out of 5 stars, WordPress.com wins an Editors' Choice award at PCMag.com. Jill Duffy applauds its dozens of widgets and wide customizability of the templates provided. It's ideal for bloggers of all levels, but it needs a little investment of time upfront to get the hang of using the program.

Review: WordPress.com, Jill Duffy, Not dated

2. Macworld

Review Credibility: Very Good This review highlights the free WordPress.com app for accessing your website from an iPhone, or iPad. The app is "sufficient for most uses" in posting updates and managing your website, Kirk McElhearn says.

Review: Review: WordPress for iOS Stands Out for Bloggers on the Go, Kirk McElhearn, Nov. 27, 2012

3. TopTenReviews.com

Review Credibility: Very Good WordPress.com receives a gold medal in this 2013 roundup of blogging software. Designed for novices, WordPress.com has a wide assortment of customizable templates, and the posting box is easy to use. The reviewers like the tracking tools, but they don't say anything about using the webpage creation features of this product.

Review: WordPress, Editors of TopTenReviews.com , Not dated

4. PC Advisor

Review Credibility: Good WordPress.com receives an overall 3.5 out of 5 stars from Simon Williams in this PC Advisor review. He gives it the maximum 5 stars for value, but he says the editing features could do with a "more hands-on approach." He points out that the photo editing is basic and does not like the lack of a WYSIWYG text editor.

Review: Automatic WordPress Review, Simon Williams, Jan. 18, 2013

5. About.com

Review Credibility: Good Blogging guide Eric Miller praises WordPress.com's "simple but powerful ways" to organize content, namely the category and tag features. Miller appreciates the spell-check feature, not found on all web design programs, and highlights the import function, which allows users to bring in posts from blog sites such as Blogger and LiveJournal.

Review: Review of Blogs from WordPress.com , Eric Miller, Not dated

6. Computerworld.com

Review Credibility: Good Preston Gralla comparing two programs on setup, adding content, social networking and other features. He concludes that both are excellent choices for a hosted blogging service, but WordPress.com has a wider range of tools for adding content, more widgets and superior customization.

Review: Blogging Service Shootout: Blogger vs. WordPress, Preston Gralla, March 13, 2012

Web Design Software Runners Up:

WordPress.org Free

1 pick by top review sites.

Serif Webplus Starter Edition Free

1 pick by top review sites.

Squarespace $8 per month

1 pick by top review sites.

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