Many clients have come to us with WordPress.com blogs (blogname.wordpress.com or a custom url purchased through WordPress.com) wanting us to do custom design work for them. While it is possible to do some customization, we are so limited in what we can do with the layouts we have chosen to work only with self-hosted, WordPress.org blogs.
The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
WordPress.com is great way for beginners and people who are not interested in earning money from their blog to get a blog online quickly and easily. You can sign up and create a WordPress blog immediately, for free.
- Free and easy to set up
- upgrades, spam and security are all taken care of for you
- back-ups are done automatically
- Info is hosted on WordPress.com servers, so you are much less likely to ever have your site crash or go down
- Tons of generic themes are available but you cannot use a custom theme like a Designer Blogs theme
- Can’t use plugins
- Cannot have ads on your site
If you are a professional blogger who is looking to make money, if you want to run a business or you are professional in your field you should consider WordPress.org (also known as self-hosted WordPress).
With WordPress.org you are required to buy your own web hosting and download the WordPress software to your host. I think this is where people get confused… WordPress.org software is free. Web hosting is not.
- SEO friendly
- Upload Themes
- Upload Plugins
- Complete control over coding
- Freedom with Adsense and other ads
- Hosting costs money. Anywhere from $7 a month to thousands of dollars for a high traffic site (I’ll address this in another post)
- You have to be tech savvy or be willing to hire someone who is
- You are responsible for spam control
- You have to do your own back-ups and upgrades
Which is Right for You?
In my mind, I find WordPress.com to be very similar to Blogger. You have a nice, simple, budget-friendly setup. But if you are a serious blogger and want to own your content and have complete control of your design, self-hosted is going to be the route you want to go.
For help getting a self-hosted WordPress.org blog set up, you can follow this step-by-step tutorial for instructions.
And for those of you who are visual like me — here is a visual breakdown: