A question I get asked quite often is, "Should I start my blog on WordPress.com or WordPress.org?"
This is actually a really great question. In the beginning, I was confused about the difference between the two platforms and which I should choose as well.
I want to discuss the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and which platform I recommend for starting a blog.
Click here to check out my free tutorial that teaches you how to start your own money-making blog from scratch.
- How to Start a Money Making Blog for Beginners
- The Ugly Side of Blogging That Bloggers Don’t Share
- The First Blog Posts You Should Write as a New Blogger
What is WordPress.com?
WordPress.com is the free hosted version of WordPress.
When creating a WordPress.com blog, by default, your blog address will end with "wordpress.com."
For example, if I were to create a blog on WordPress.com, my blog address would look like this "beautifuldawndesigns.wordpress.com."
If you want to use your own domain name (without the "wordpress.com" ending), you will have to upgrade to the Personal plan for $8/mo. billed yearly.
When you first set up your blog, I'm sure you'll want to get your theme set up. However, keep in mind that the themes available for the WordPress.com Free, Personal and Premium plans are all pre-selected. This means you will not be able to upload any third-party themes. Uploading premium third party themes can only be done if you upgrade to the Business plan. The Business plan is currently $25/mo. billed yearly. For that price, you're better off going with WordPress.org. But I'll talk more about that later.
Here are a few more things to consider when it comes to using WordPress.com.
1. You can't install plugins unless you upgrade to the Business plans. Plugins are an excellent way to add functionality features to your blog. Without the ability to install plugins, you are limited with what you can do with your blog.
2. You can't use Google Analytics. Unless you upgrade to the Business plan for $300 per year, you cannot add Google Analytics to your blog. When it comes to traffic statistics, Google Analytics is the industry standard. In fact, if you ever decide to work with sponsors, they will ask for your Google Analytics data.
3. WordPress.com ads will be placed on your blog. WordPress reserves the right to place ads on all free blogs. If you want to have the ads removed, you will have to upgrade to a Personal plan.
If you have no plans of monetizing your blog and want a free and simple way to get started blogging, WordPress.com may be a good choice for you.
Due to its limitations, and the cost that comes with upgrading to a Business plan, I never recommend signing up for a WordPress.com blog.
What is WordPress.org (Self-hosted WordPress)?
WordPress.org is a free web software that you can download and use to create your blog or website.
This web software must be installed on a web server in order to work.
That means you will need to purchase hosting from a web host such as Bluehost (my recommendation). For the $25 that you would be paying per month on the WordPress.com Business plan, you're better off hosting your own WordPress blog for just $3.95/mo. using Bluehost. Plus, Bluehost will give you your domain name free for the first year, with no added cost.
Once you purchase hosting, most hosts provide the option to install WordPress onto the server with a single click. This is excellent because you don't need to be tech-savvy in order to get your blog setup. Here's my tutorial for setting up your blog if you would like some guidance along the way.
Once WordPress is installed, you will have full control as the administrator of your WordPress blog or website.
This means you will have the ability to upload third-party themes, install plugins, and edit the CSS to further customize your site.
Having the ability to customize your blog allows you to have a blog that's unique to you.
Additionally, there is a large community of WordPress users out there if you ever need assistance with your blog.
Having a self-hosted WordPress.org blog is a smart move, especially if you have plans on growing and monetizing your blog. Self-hosted WordPress blogs are looked at as being more professional, which is why they're a top choice for professional bloggers. Going self-hosted is easy, affordable, and will allow you to grow your blog without limitations.
If you're ready to start your self-hosted WordPress blog, make sure you sign up for my free 7-day email course that teaches you how to start and grow your WordPress blog.