WordPress.com v WordPress.org – How Do I Decide

Many WordPress beginners have a hard time understanding the difference between WordPress.com v WordPress.org. It can be a major point of confusion for new bloggers and those wanting to branch out on their own for the first time.

This article briefly highlights the pros and cons of each WordPress setup and why you may choose one over the other for your blogging endeavours.

The first and most basic thing to say is that they both work off the same framework, with the same core design. This means, in a nutshell, if you can use one you will at least be comfortable and familiar with the other.

WordPress.com allows you to start your blog for free and for that reason alone it is a popular choice for beginners. But ‘free’ here means there are certain limitations which are unhelpful. Particularly if you want to grow your blog into something more than an updated commentary on your pet subject.

Let’s look at the differences.

Just below I have included a great infographic from www.bluechic.com which highlights the main differences between WordPress.com v WordPress.org. This makes it really easy to see why we recommend WordPress.org as our preferred option when creating your new blog.

wordpress.org v wordpress.com start a beginner blog

WordPress.com

With WordPress.com you ARE able to

  • Leave maintenance, updating and spam issues to WordPress
  • Choose from several theme options with similar limited style but no additional functionality.
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You are NOT able to

  • Choose a brandable domain – your domain will always end in yourname.wordpress.com
  • Upload your own choice of WordPress theme – which gives your site the unique look you want to personalise and brand it.
  • Upload any WordPress plugins – these allow you to achieve certain functions without the need to be a coding expert
  • Make money from your site any which way you choose, like affiliate marketing – they impose certain restrictions

WordPress.org

If you choose WordPress.org (our recommended choice) you will have some small expense for setup. It is so well worth it.

You must first purchase your own hosting (we recommend Bluehost for beginners) and your own domain name (Namecheap is a reliable provider).

Your domain name should cost no more that $8 -$12 for a normal dot.com. Some really brandable names can literally cost thousands of dollars. The web hosting can be as little as the equivalent of $3.50 per month from Bluehost.

Once you have linked your domain to your new web-hosting service you can then install WordPress to your site. This is the full version of WordPress with unlimited possibilities.

You then have full control over

  • Your name – which will now show on search engines as http://yourname.com giving you better possibilities for branding and managing your business/blog.
  • The real estate is now totally yours to treat as you like (even to sell when it becomes worth thousands).
  • Which WordPress theme (style) you wish to use to get your desired look – free or paid – a premium WordPress theme (paid for) generally has better coding. Ongoing updates and support also means fewer problems in the future.
    I use MyThemeShop for some of my niche sites as they have a great range of styles covering many categories. They are keenly priced with frequent updates and great support.
  • Which plugins to install on your site – maybe for generating backups, for customer contact, image or video inserts or many other functions.
    The choice is open to you and again you can choose free or paid plugins.

Finally, with WordPress.org – you own the site – you monetize as and how you wish. It could be through affiliate marketing, selling advertising space, your own products, sponsors or anything else you like.

WordPress.com v WordPress.org – The Verdict

Wordpress Arriving at any conclusion here really depends on what your intentions are.

If you simply want to provide updates about a topic on an easy to use, free platform WordPress.com will allow you to do that. But so will Blogger, Tumblr and others in a similar way.

If your aim is to build any sort of business where you are serious about branding and promoting what YOU want you need to keep control of your asset long term. If that’s you then there really is only one way to go and that is a self-hosted WordPress blog with your own domain name.  It may seem a bit more hassle to get started but you really will be glad you did. Choose WordPress.org.
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