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Today, I want to touch on one of the biggest questions newbie bloggers have: ‘should I use WordPress.com or WordPress.org?’ I’m going to briefly go over the three main differences between the two so that, hopefully, you’ll get an understanding of what’s best for you and your business. To start with, I’m going to assume that you already have a vision for your blog – it might be that you want to maintain it as a hobby, turn it into a business using affiliate links and selling courses, or turn it into a shop front to sell your own products. Whatever your vision, I want you to keep it in mind as you read the following points; and by the end of this post, I hope you’ll know whether you should be using wordpress.com or wordpress.org.
First things first, let’s talk domains. When using WordPress.com you don’t actually need a personal domain. The free version of WordPress simply allows you to add what would have been your personal domain in front of .wordpress.com – meaning that the full domain of your website would be yourblog.wordpress.com. Now, when it comes to professional websites, this type of domain just isn’t something you see. If you want to look professional, you’ll need your own personal domain – ‘yourblog.com’. And whilst it is possible to use a personal domain on a wordpress.com site, the process is a bit complex; you have to first purchase the domain elsewhere, upgrade your wordpress.com package to allow the use of domains, and then associate your domain to your blog. Oh and then you still wont have as much freedom as using wordpress.org.
On the other side, if you use wordpress.org you’ll usually get a domain thrown in for free with your hosting packages. You can get a hosting package for around £2.99/pm these days, which is cheaper than some of the wordpress.com upgrade deals! Not only will your website appear more professional with a personal domain, but you can also create professional email addresses that match it, like firstname.lastname@example.org. You can do all of this with your hosting provider when you sign up to use wordpress.org, making it all fuss free. No going back and forth trying to stick different pieces together.
The following point can be a deal breaker for a lot of people. When using wordpress.com, you’re not allowed to use third-party themes. WordPress.com say ‘we are not able to support uploading of custom WordPress themes on our service’ because they want to keep your experience as simple as possible. So if you choose to use WordPress.com, you can say goodbye to those beautiful themes you’ve been looking at on places like Etsy, or the one you’ve been wanting to design yourself. The same rule applies for plugins. When using wordpress.com, you can’t use plugins that haven’t been approved, so your library of over 29 thousand plugins is dramatically reduced. Long story short, whilst you can still create a beautiful blog, you really don’t have as much freedom on a wordpress.com site.
However, if you use WordPress.org and host your own WordPress site, then any theme you want, any plugin you want, any design changes you want, you can download, manipulate, and use to your heart’s content! You’re totally free to make a custom website that looks and works exactly how you want it to. Your professional blog doesn’t have to be restricted. Total freedom!
You may have heard all different kinds of things on this subject. Now WordPress.com does allow you to make money with your site, but there are quite a few restrictions. For instance, if you’re planning on putting ads on your site, you’re only allowed to use AdWords – the official WordPress.com advertising program available for site owners. Oh, and to use AdWords, you have to upgrade your wordpress.com package. The upgrade can actually be more expensive than hosting your own wordpress.org site. Crazy right? You’re allowed to use affiliate links on wordpress.com as well, but of course, there are restrictions to this too. Thinking of opening your own shop? Well, wordpress.com does let you sell your products through PayPal, but you won’t be able to do it through the use of third-party applications like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads – which makes it super easy for you to create a professional looking store front.
So what does wordpress.org allow you to do to make money? ANYTHING! Yes, you read it correctly. You can make money any way you want with a wordpress.org site. It’s your own hosted site, so nobody can tell you how to use it. You aren’t restricted by ad limitations or what affiliates you can use; you have complete control to set up shop in whatever format you prefer and your users don’t have to use PayPal! That’s right, include the ads you want, be an affiliate for whomever you want, sell your products the way YOU want! You get it now, you can do everything the way YOU want.
OK, so those were my three main points when it comes to the difference between using wordpress.com and wordpress.org for your business. As you can see, wordpress.org allows you so much more freedom. You can easily expand your online empire without having to worry about moving to another blogging platform later down the line. I honestly believe that if you have ambitions with your blog, if you’d like to take it seriously and turn it into a business, then wordpress.org is worth the investment.
If you’re set on creating your own WordPress.org website, well, you’re in luck, I have created a small downloadable pack that shows you how to set up your hosting, domain, WordPress site and how to include your first pages and posts. So you don’t have panic at the first hurdle. Seriously, setting up your own self-hosted site so much easier than you think, and I’m with you every step of the way. Just download it using the form below!
Step-by-step instructions so you can start your website the right way.
When you’ve created your own site, let me know in the comments how easy you found it with this pack, and share your link so we can see you take the first steps in the online world.