Battle of the WordPress Platforms. WordPress.com vs WordPress.org vs Rainmaker

Hakkeyoi (はっけよい)!

Let the CMS Battle Royale begin

Do you ever feel like being in business is a fight for your life? We both know the marketplace is an arena for competition. And to win this battle you need to be at the top of your game. Having better marketing than your opponents is essential to success.

A well thought out, and strategic marketing plan gives you an advantage and makes you the favorite to win. This content strategy is the game plan you need to stick to to bring home the prize.

Your website and blog are two of your most precious business assets. In fact, with a well-designed integration, they are the most valuable marketing asset you own.  And they should be the home and heart of your content marketing efforts. They are where you execute most of your content marketing strategy.

In my opinion, you should only trust them with WordPress.

This substantial post (2500 words) will compare the WordPress.com, WordPress.org and Rainmaker WordPress platforms. Read on to see which is just right for your business or personal blog. If you don’t have time now, bookmark it and read it later. And I would recommend doing so on your desktop, laptop or tablet. This decision is crucial for your business.

Let’s start with a quick point about WordPress as a site and blogging platform.

As I said in a previous post about WordPress:

It is the best CMS (Content Management System) for small business.

More than 25 percent of the world’s websites are built and run on WordPress. And that percentage is increasing every day. WordPress itself says, “over 409 million people view more than 15.8 billion pages each month” on the platform. Matt Mullenweg started it in 2003.

It is open-source software. That means the software is free, and it is a database driven platform. A worldwide network of developers, designers, and companies like Mobile Atom Media support WordPress. Many of these dedicated souls are continually building website themes for WordPress. And even more developers build “plugins” to add functionality to it.

WordCamps occur yearly in cities across the globe. They are where bloggers, developers, and designers can learn even more about it. WordPress.tv has hundreds of videos covering almost every aspect of it. The site, codex.wordpress.org, has everything there is possible to know about it.

There are several versions of a WordPress website or blog. They include WordPress.org sites, WordPress.com sites, and customized versions of WordPress. The Rainmaker platform is one of the later.

I have clients on all three platforms and which one is best for you will depend on your unique business needs. This post aims to help you make that decision.

No matter which platform you use, it is best to have a professional assist you with setting it up. Theme selection, plugin selection, widget choice and placement, typography, search optimization, hosting, speed, security and your site’s aesthetics are all things that can benefit from the attention of a pro. Hint, this is what we do at Mobile Atom Media. 😉

So what are the differences in the three platforms?

WordPress.com – the Makushita (幕下) division of WordPress CMSs

To paraphrase from my previous post:

Matt Mullenweg’s company, Automattic, hosts WordPress.com sites. The hosting is free. … Your web address (also known as your URL) would be your website domain.wordpress.com. There are around two hundred themes to choose from, but you can’t customize them for free.

You will only have the functionality Automattic provides. And you cannot add any plugins developed by third-party developers. It also has a limited amount of storage capacity for your content. And if Automattic wants to, they can run ads of their choosing on your site.

You can pay Automattic for extra functionality. Showing your website domain.com rather than your website domain.wordpress.com is an example. You can pay to have a customizable theme, extra storage space, email support, and as of August 2017 third-party plugins and themes.

At this point, it is going to cost you what a basic WordPress.org site would. But, you will not have the complete control of a WordPress.org self-hosted site.

The advantage is that you do not have to maintain the site by updating the operating software and themes. If you are a small service-oriented business, a WordPress.com site can work well for you.

If you only want a personal blog, it is perfect for you. It can also work well for small service oriented businesses.

WordPress.org – the Jūryō (十両) division of WordPress CMSs

Again, to paraphrase my previous post:

A WordPress.org site uses the free WordPress software that the site owner downloads, sets up and pays a service to host. You have complete control over it. Choose from thousands of customizable themes and plugins to get the exact look and functionality you want.

You select your hosting service and can integrate it with your email provider. You will have to maintain the site by updating the operating software, theme, and plugins. It is the content marketing home you own. It is your house and can be as big as you want it to be.

WordPress.org is what most businesses use, including ones in the Fortune 100.

Rainmaker – the Makuuchi (幕内) division of WordPress CMSs

Rainmaker is a WordPress platform that lets you:

get more power from WordPress with less hassle. Build powerful content-driven websites, start a sophisticated membership program, sell digital goods the smarter way, and much more. Even better, never waste valuable time with plugins, complicated code, hosting, maintenance, or upgrades.

With these descriptions in mind, let’s jump into the details and differences. If you need to, select the screenshots to see a larger version in a new browser tab. We will be looking at WordPress dashboards as well as page and post editors.

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Web analytics drive decisions that lead to conversion

If you don’t measure it, it doesn’t exist

Let’s start learning how to use analytics to make decisions that lead to conversions.

If you have read my earlier posts, you have now learned how to use copywriting on your landing pages and posts in order to drive the actions you want visitors to take on your WordPress site and blog. You have also learned how to drive traffic to your site with search optimization.

After you start benefiting from visits to your site, blog posts and landing pages you want to increase that traffic. You want to make sure more of it leads to subscribers to your email list, sign-ups for your free content and most importantly eventual customers. For that to happen, your content must convert. And the only way for you to know if it does is to analyze your site’s traffic.

(THIS POST CONTAINS FAIRLY TECHNICAL TERMS. PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS FOR DEFINITIONS)

Web analytics will show you who is coming to your site and almost everything about them. They will show you where your traffic is coming from in terms of geography.  And which search, website, email or social media links are sending you traffic. Various metrics will show you what pages and posts your audience visits, how much time visitors spent on your site, and the amount of traffic per day, week, month, etc.. They will show you how visitors entered, navigated through, and exited your site. You will be able to infer the search terms they used to find you as well.

With all this valuable information, you will have the data you need to optimize your website. You can conduct a complete content analysis of your entire site. With web analytics, you will be able to determine if your content is meeting the goals you have set for your site. You can also see if your content is achieving the objectives you have set for it in your content strategy.

You can see which blog post subjects resonate with visitors and produce more content for that category. And you can see which subjects are weak and then produce less content for them. You can A/B test the copywriting on your landing pages, email sign-up forms, long and short-form copy and call to actions. Use the results to improve your copywriting and increase conversion.

You can also A/B test aspects of your site’s design.  These include images, navigation, typography, color, and positioning. You can test media formats, links, forms, free trial lengths and pricing schemes. Use the results to optimize your design. This optimization also lets you convert more visitors into customers and clients.

Image of Google Analytics page inside WordPress backend

Google Analytics – Free and (Easy to get help with)

There is a variety of tools for measuring your website’s traffic with. The best one for small business is Google Analytics. Here is why:

  • It is free.
  • It provides tracking code to put into your website’s head that tracks every page and post.
  • It shows you how much of your traffic comes from desktop computers, tablets, and phones.
  • It lets you use Universal Analytics‘ multiscreen tracking to see visitors’ unique behavior on various devices.
  • It lets you see traffic that comes from your email marketing and social media posts.
  • It allows you to access Google’s Web Master Tools. These tools allow you to see the demographic information of your visitors (and much more).
  • It tells you the percentages of new and return visitors.
  • It lets you analyze visitor behavior on your site.
  • It allows you to segment and analyze your audience.
  • It allows you to set goals for your content and see if that content meets them.
  • It provides valuable information about your ecommerce site’s performance.
  • It lets you see if your paid search ads are driving traffic to your site.
  • It provides you with benchmarking data so you can see how you compare to other websites in your industry and niche.
  • It provides a large number of reports for the metrics we have been discussing.
  • It allows you to create custom reports.
  • It works with plug-ins for WordPress that let you get a quick overview of your traffic each time you log in to your WordPress site.
  • It is the world’s most popular analytics solution so there is a great deal of information available about how to use it.

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How to make sure your blog posts are seen and read

If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.

Let’s start learning how to write a blog post and how to get the most out of them for your small business.

Posts are Most of Your Content Marketing

If your blog is the heart of your content marketing world, your blog posts are its lifeblood. They are what will move visitors from being prospects to becoming customers. They are what you will share with social media to draw people to your site so you can convert them into customers. And they are what you will promote in your email marketing to current customers in order to deepen loyalty and gain a larger share of their wallets.

Blog posts are the most important form of your marketing media.

Blog posts will be where you establish thought leadership in your industry. They will demonstrate your expertise and authority. They will create trust and get people to like you and your business. They will build your brand and your business. They will draw relevant traffic to your site, the types of visitors that will buy your products. Your posts will show your value up front. They will qualify your leads. Paradoxically they will generate leads best if you don’t try to generate leads. If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.

Posts are also an excellent resource for your sales and customer service teams. They can share posts in their email conversations with clients and prospects. They can even be used to educate new employees and win over vendors. They can help you gain access to capital. Blog posts are the most. So, let’s look at how to write a blog post.

What to put in your posts

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Power tools you need in your content marketing toolbox

There are many marketing mediums requiring strategic and creative tools in order to be used successfully. 

Marketing Essentials

The power tools you need in your content marketing toolbox

Most businesses are small businesses. And yours is probably no different. Unfairly or not you, have to compete with larger and better-funded opponents. Content Marketing is a weapon that your David can use against their Goliath. But to do it right, you have to have the right tools. This post lists many that can help you attract visitors to your website and convert them into customers.

There is an ever-growing myriad of digital marketing mediums and platforms. And they require many marketing tools in order to be used successfully. These include strategic and creative tools. In this post, I want to share some useful lists of mostly free ones that I’ve come across. I will also note which tools I use in the various categories to create effective content marketing.

Before I get into the lists, let’s look at the dominant player in content production tools, Adobe. For your in-house design and marketing efforts, Adobe’s Creative Cloud products are a no-brainer. Programs like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator allow you to create project proposals and marketing pieces that as are as professional as any on earth. This service is a paid cloud-based toolbox that is an incredible value in my opinion. The price is around $50 a month and up. You get every creative program Adobe makes and always have the most up to date version.

See all the Adobe Creative Cloud programs here
. They allow you to create print advertising, websites, eBooks, videos, podcasts, animations, mobile apps, and more. So if you are creating your content marketing pieces, I recommend using what I do, Adobe Creative Cloud.

However, the lists below include free and nearly free marketing tools that let you do some of the same things designers do with Adobe’s professional-grade products. You must have a strategic plan in place before begin creating any marketing content, and a few of these lists describe tools for developing one.

So whether you want to create some of your content marketing in-house, are a freelance designer, or just want to understand what your agency or content strategy partner is talking about when it comes to production – here is some useful knowledge to absorb.

Read through the post first and then go back to check out the lists and other links. Bookmark this page to reference later. It is extensive, and you may want to peruse it at your leisure.

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Understand the elements of design

Good design makes you look professional and inspires trust. Good design lets your content stand out. Read this and understand the elements of design.

Marketing Essentials

To understand content marketing – first, understand the building blocks of great design

Good design is classic yet modern with the minimal amount required to achieve its purpose. This truism applies to Graphic Design, Print Design or Web Design. Design is good for your bottom line. Invest some time in reading these articles to learn more about the building blocks of good web design.

Great design is critical to your business. Your web and email design must not only be good they must be responsive to in order to work on mobile devices. These principles are also vitally important to your digital publishing efforts.

After reading this post and the links below, you will better understand the design elements that go into your content marketing. Then you will have a good idea if your web design dollars are well spent. Pay particular attention to spacing, typography and the psychology of color.

Elements of Design

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Make an online Impression with these 9 articles on Typography

Photo of metal type representative of typography

Advances in server-sourced fonts have brought great typography to web design. Read this and use it to make your most important content, your copy, readable.

Marketing Essentials

Want to let your copy shine? Use web fonts to get attention.

Thanks to the advances in server sourced fonts great typography is coming into the web design process in a big way. One of the most important pillars of quality design is now getting its day in the online sun. It makes your site look professional and trustworthy. Most web professionals consider typography the foundation of web design. Without it, you will get nowhere in making a great first impression.

Some useful sources for web fonts include Typekit (paid) and Google Fonts (free). One takeaway to remember, pay particular attention to your font pairings and use fewer than three.

Check these nine articles out and begin mastering web typography.

Required Reading – Typography

1. Aligning Type to a Brand

2. One More Time: Typography Is The Foundation Of Web Design

3. Eight Important Factors of Good Web Typography

4. Responsive Typography: The Basics

5. The Anatomy of Web Typography

6. How to Make Pragmatic, Purposeful Typography Choices

7. Mixing Typefaces: Tips and Techniques

8. Typographical twins: 20 perfect font pairings

9. 10 Popular Google Web Fonts

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