When comparing both, wordpress.com vs wordpress.org, it can be hard to figure out which is best for you, especially if you have no prior experience.
When I started my blog, I didn’t even know there was a difference between wordpress.org and wordpress.com. I thought the only one that existed was wordpress.com and that’s the one I went with at the time.
Everyone usually says WordPress, and they stop right there. No .com or .org, so I automatically typed wordpress.com and that’s how I registered with them. It was very easy to use and it did everything I needed because my goal wasn’t to make money blogging.
At the time, all I wanted was a creative outlet where I could talk about my experiences and things I love. Soon though, because of the growth my Instagram account experienced, brands started reaching out to me for sponsored posts. Not only on my Instagram but on the blog as well.
That’s when everything shifted and I started looking at my blog with different eyes. It wasn’t long before I had to merge it to a self-hosted WordPress.org site.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase. This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products or services that I use and love myself.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: which one should you choose?
First, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions:
- Are you starting your own blog just for fun or do you want to monetize it and treat it as a business?
- Are you willing to set aside a big chunk of your time for your blog? Or is it going to be very sporadic?
- Are you planning on using different features and plugins?
If you want to treat your blog like a business and monetize it, you should go with WordPress.org. If you’re willing to spend a good amount of time on it and learn the different things you can do with it in order to move it forward, you should go with WordPress.org. If you’re going to use different features and need plugins to do what you plan, you should go with WordPress.org.
When you choose wordpress.org, you have to have a reliable hosting company to “store your website in”. I use Bluehost for that, which costs only $3.49/month. I will explain more about it later, but first, you need to read about the pros and cons of going with each of the options.
Let’s go through the pros and cons of each of them, so I can help you make sense of this decision a little more.
Pros and cons of WordPress.com
As I said, in the beginning, I chose WordPress.com, because I thought it was the only platform available with that name. When I started viewing my blog as a business, I started reading and watching videos all about blogging.
Soon, it became clear they were two different things, and if I wanted to succeed I would have to make the switch to WordPress.org. That’s because WordPress.com didn’t have nearly as many features as I needed. It also didn’t allow me to make a lot of customizations in my theme. I could only go so far with the customizations I wanted to make. The website would never look 100% my own.
Pros of wordpress.com:
- WordPress.com was very easy to navigate;
- WordPress.com was free to get started with;
- It had all the features I needed (if I wanted to blog for fun and didn’t expect much of it)
- It had a community of bloggers, making it very easy to connect with them
Cons of wordpress.com:
- In the free version, my domain had to have “wordpress.com” in it (www.isabelfreitas.wordpress.com);
- The cheapest paid version is $99/year. When I signed up with them, it didn’t give me any access to plugins. The features are very simple. If you want plugins you have to go with the Business Plan, which costs $299/year. That’s a lot more expensive than going with a self-hosted WordPress.org website;
- You have limited SEO control since you can’t have any plugins;
- Your website has to display “powered by wordpress.com”;
- You can’t create an online store if you decide to add your own products or even affiliate products;
Pros and cons of wordpress.org
Pros of wordpress.org:
- It can be monetized;
- It’s also FREE to use (although you have to pay for hosting);
- All kinds of plugins allowed (meaning, you have the freedom to use as many features as you want);
- All SEO features, which will allow you to be highly ranked on Google and other search engines (based on how well you optimize your site and other criteria);
- Possibility of adding an e-Commerce store to your site;
- You can create membership sites;
- You have the freedom to choose your own hosting package, which will allow you to have a better speed, depending on the size of your site;
Cons of wordpress.org:
- You have to pay for hosting and for your domain name (with Bluehost you get a FREE domain name and it only costs $3.49/month. That’s still cheaper than hosting it with wordpress.com if you want all the features we talked about);
- It’s a little harder to navigate so you’ll need to put time into learning how to customize your theme and using other features;
- You have more responsibilities than with wordpress.com (you have to keep regular backups, spam control, keep it optimized and updated)
Have you decided to go with wordpress.com or wordpress.org?
If you want to have an online diary and share your life with family and friends, you probably decided on going with wordpress.com. Having the “wordpress.com” on your domain name probably won’t be an issue, if that’s all you plan on doing with your site.
On the other hand, if you want your passion for blogging to become your online business, you must have picked wordpress.org to get started with the adventure.
Your first step now is to pick a hosting company to go with and purchase your domain and hosting package.
I chose to go with Bluehost because they’re one of the most affordable and reliable hosting companies for WordPress.org. WordPress.org recommends Bluehost as one of “the best and brightest of the hosting world”. You can see it for yourself here.
Now, I wish you the best of luck with your blogging adventure! I can’t wait to hear where this incredible journey takes you.
Blogging has always been one of the most amazing things in my life. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this was my dream business all along. If you need some tips on How to Make Money Working with Brands and finding sponsorship opportunities to apply for, I have the perfect guide for you!
As always, I’d love to hear in the comments if you have any questions or tips you’d like to share!