WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world right now, by quite a long way. It’s a pretty amazing technology that lets you build beautiful full-featured websites without any technical skills or programming.
But did you know there are actually two different flavours of WordPress? And they are very different? There is WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Which one you choose will is very important. I am going to talk about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and there is one I am going strongly recommend. And I’ll give you the reasons why. So let’s find out about WordPress.com vs WordPress.org!
WordPress.com is a hosted blogging platform, like Blogger or Tumblr. You can basically create a free WordPress website, and they will host it for you (in exchange for running ads on your site). So you don’t have to go buy a domain name, organise hosting, install WordPress, configure plugins, or anything.
If your site is on WordPress.com, they will do a good job of hosting it, but they really own your site. They can monetise it, run crappy ads on it, and you can’t do anything about it (and will probably struggle to make money from it).
And banner ads are not good (I don’t recommend them even if you have your own site with your own hosting). It just looks a bit cheap and lame, especially when you are starting out and have a small site.
Also, not having your own domain name isn’t great. A domain will instantly help with your personal brand and credibility. It will help you to stand out, and help make you look like you know what you’re an experienced professional.
That being said, WordPress.com is very quick and easy to get going with. It doesn’t require any special software or setup or any technical skills at all. If you can use Facebook and Gmail, you can get started with WordPress.com!
There are also now some “high tier” paid plans for WordPress.com. You can pay them money every month and they can point your blog to your domain name. They also won’t run ads on your site if you pay. If you pay a lot, you can even run ads on your own site.
But there’s a better option.
WordPress.org is the actual WordPress software itself, that you can install on your own web server with your own domain name. It is open source software, which means it is free and always will be. Always!
If some host is trying to charge you money for installing and using WordPress, tell them to get lost!
Now WordPress.org is just a platform. You will need to get it hosted somewhere, so you’ll need a domain and web hosting. But that’s easy.
I strongly recommend wordpress.org, i.e. having your own site on a hosting platform with your own domain.
You will struggle to get people to really respect your site if it is on a wordpress.com domain – anyone who has a serious blog or site will get their own site and name, so if you don’t have one, nobody will take you that seriously.
Also if you have a WordPress.org site, it is yours.
You own it, you own the traffic, you own the domain, you can have your own custom domain email addresses, the works.
You can sell banner ad space on it though I don’t recommend you do that right away. There are better ways to monetise a blog, especially at the beginning.
Ads don’t make much money until you have 20,000 or so visitors per month and that can take a while to get to. Until then, you’re not really making any money and you’re making your site slower and uglier for no real benefit.
And most importantly, you can install plugins! WordPress.org has a huge library (tens of thousands) of plugins. Some of them cost money, but most of them are free! And there are plugins for everything.
For example, there are plugins for capturing email addresses and hooking them up to an autoresponder! This means you can use your WordPress blog to start building an email list, which is one of the most valuable assets you can own.
There are also plugins for SEO, improving the performance of the site, changing the widgets, social media sharing, and countless others.
The only downside is you have to buy a domain name (they cost a few bucks, whatever), and get hosting (it costs 5 or 10 dollars a month, pretty damn cheap). I think these are pretty small costs for what you get.
The best plugin I recommend is actually a big family of themes, plugins, landing page builders and more called Thrive. It offers everything you need under the sun and only costs a few dollars a month. So if you are serious about succeeding with your blog, you should definitely check out Thrive. Everything on this blog is built on Thrive.
If you’re going to make a WordPress blog (and I think it’s a good idea), you should really go with wordpress.org and get your own hosting. So what are the options? Well there are hundreds, and many of them are pretty similar.
BlueHost is one of the biggest players in web hosting. They are a lower level player, with cheap rates and pretty basic deals. Many people new to blogging go with BlueHost. If you are just getting started and don’t have a big budget, BlueHost is a really good option. They also offer free SSL, which is nice. However, if your blog takes off, you might find BlueHost don’t offer premium performance.
If you have a bit more budget and want a more powerful service, SiteGround is an excellent choice. They have a wide range of packages, all the way up to Virtual Private Servers for people who are really going places. They offer more bells and whistles than you would probably need, and if you have an existing blog, they will migrate it for free.
I hope you found this article useful!
If you are keen to go down the blogging journey, you might want to check out my free guide on how to start a blog.
Or if you already have a blog or know a bit, but want to take a shortcut to serious profits from your blog, check out my review of Bloggii. It’s a great course where two top internet marketers show step-by-step how to grow and scale up blogs to massive profits with not a lot of work.