I’ve been “seriously” blogging for almost three weeks. But, I’ve been studying and failing at this blogging thing for the last year or so. In fact, what you see today are the fruits of what I’ve learned over the past year of wanting to make blogging work. Being part of Blogging Communities allows me to see everyone’s struggles and victories. And one of the biggest challenges for many is figuring out wordpress.com and wordpress.org, right when they are starting.

 

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Wordpress.com and WordPress.org

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Before We Start

I’m not going to cover the basics in this post. However, I highly recommend that you read up on the following terms if you haven’t already. For more posting guides, click here. Anyways, back to the terminology:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • URL
  • Domain
  • Host
  • Server
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Monetization
  • Disclaimers
  • SEO
  • Ads

Also, be aware that there are very significant differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. My Advice is that you take some time figuring out why you decided to start blogging. Also, how will you reach those long term goals you have set for yourself? That’s another thing, I’ve seen plenty of people write posts about making a blog in 10 minutes. But honey, trust and believe success does not come over night. We will talk about that another time. Today we will talk simply about the differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org.

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WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress is a global blog web hosting company owned by Automattic. Automattic is a web development corporation that not only owns WordPress.com but also the open source blogging software: WordPress.org. Other projects they are involved with are Akismet, bbPress, BuddyPress & Gravatar. Automattic was founded in 2005 as well as WordPress.

The major difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org is who’s hosting your website. Notice that WordPress is a global web hosting company. This means that WordPress has the ability to “host” your site. But which one has the ability to do that: WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is your global blog web host. This means:

  1. You don’t have to worry about installing the WordPress software.
  2. WordPress.com manages the server for you.
  3. You don’t have to worry about your host.

Now, you may think that based on these three conveniences it is a sure tell what you are going to pick. However, WordPress.com can come with some really significant limitations as a blogger:

  1. By default, your blog name will include .wordpress.com. (i.e. flukypixels.wordpress.org). Unless you purchase a domain through them which at that point costs a bit depending on what you choose.
  2. You are limited when it comes to customization: You can’t upload themes (let’s call them “outfits” to dress your blog with) or plugins to provide a tailored customer experience for your customer/reader.
  3. In order to remove the WordPress branding, you have to pay for the premium upgrade.
  4. The free version does not allow advertising. So if you are considering monetization through ads that will be difficult unless you pay for premium upgrades.
  5. Limited Analytics

Worpress.org

WordPress.org is the open source blogging platform almost everyone talks about when you go through your Facebook groups. This software is downloaded onto your server. From there a myriad of options to customize your website opens up. But, what do you need in order to get started? Please be advised that with wordpress.org you have full control of your website. And this also means that you are responsible for finding a host like GoDaddy ($3.99), Bluehost (the cheapest at $3.95/mo), etc. You also have to make sure that the server is maintained (GoDaddy and Bluehost can do that for you), backing up data(plenty of plugin options) and actively updating the website. WordPress.org is open source and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting which is where the expenses are. This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted WordPress.

With WordPress.org you can:

  1. Fully customize the “look and feel” of your website. You can go all the way and hire a web designer or you can go to marketplaces like ThemeForest.com and purchase beautifully designed themes. In fact, this theme on my site comes from there.
  2. You can create a unique experience for your readers. Want to start a community website with forums? There’s a plugin for it. Want to offer access to special content, you can lock certain areas of your site for that. The possibilities are really endless.
  3. The UI (user interface) is super simple and easy to use. But if you are stuck in something there are countless of guides from basic installation to the top plugins must-haves.
  4. You can monetize your website without restrictions in many different ways (GoogleAds, Amazon Affiliates, Awin, to name a few).

So which one should you choose?

It really boils down to two things: Do you want to monetize your blog and how much control do you want to have over your website?

WordPress.com is great if you are planning on blogging for personal reasons.

But over 90% of WordPress.org users are satisfied and would recommend wordpress.org as THE go-to for bloggers, entrepreneurs, business owners etc. I mean Facebook, Disney, BBC, MTV, Sony & even Beyonce are a few of the brands and celebrities that trust and use WordPress for their sites.

Just food for thought,

Emely

Wordpress.com and wordpress.org