I am such a huge fan of WordPress that I can barely remember what it was like to build websites any other way!
When I say “WordPress,” I’m referring to the self-hosted type, often referred to as “WordPress.org.” Here’s how it differs from the “other” version.
As a free service, WordPress.com comes with certain limitations.
Your site is hosted on their server, so you’re subject to their Terms and Conditions. Some of the policies that might concern you as a business owner are:
- They may display ads on your site (over which you have no control) unless you pay for an upgrade.
- You are not permitted to use banner ads, Google AdSense or other third-party ad platforms.
- “Blog at WordPress.com” will appear in your footer, even if you pay to upgrade.
In terms of design, you are limited to the themes made available through their website.
You do not have the ability to upload plugins which may expand the functionality of your site.
With WordPress.org, your site is hosted on your own web hosting account, so you have full control of all content, including advertising.
In addition to the designs in their Theme Directory, there are thousands of free and premium themes available.
There are also thousands of free and premium plugins you may install to expand the functionality of your site.
Based on these facts, when asked about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, I’ve always said that although WordPress.com is great for personal blogs, it’s not suitable for business sites.
Last fall, I was contacted by Nancy Vorsanger about creating a new website. Her existing site was on WordPress.com, and she felt it didn’t represent her business as well as it should.
She was quite open to switching to a self-hosted WordPress site, but was concerned about the need for ongoing maintenance. To help her make an informed decision, I sent her a link to WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: A Definitive Guide for 2015.
After considering all factors, I agreed that WordPress.com probably was the best choice for Nancy and set out to find a theme that I could customize to capture the new look and feel she was after. I think I did a pretty decent job, don’t you?
Nancy is pretty pleased as well. Here’s what she said:
“I was relaunching my organizing business with a new name and a new direction, and my web site desperately needed help. I’m so glad I turned to Organized Assistant! Working with WordPress did not come naturally to me, so Janet saved me many, many hours.
More important, she had great advice and was able to translate my ideas into a better-looking and more professional site. I told her about the feel I was looking for and she helped me choose a design that underscores my core message about paring down and simplifying, with the pops of color and fun feeling I was after. I really appreciated having Janet narrow down options for me based on what I’d told her and her willingness to test out changes as we homed in on the final look.”
Nancy Vorsanger, Essential Home Organizing
Keep in mind that although Nancy’s site is on WordPress.com, she opted for the following upgrades in order to achieve this finished product:
- Premium theme
- Custom design (so we could change the fonts and colors from the original theme)
- Domain registration (so her site comes up as EssentialHomeOrganizing.com rather than essentialhomeorganizing.wordpress.com)
If you’re not sure which type of site is right for you, let’s talk! I’d love to hear about your plans and help you bring your visions to life.