WordPress.com or WordPress.org: Which Way to Blog?

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Is there any thing more confusing than the difference between WordPress.ORG and WordPress.COM?

It seems not. New bloggers tend to think of WordPress as this monolithic open-source, free platform that anyone can access, without knowing WordPress is actually two separate bodies offering two very different sets of services.

The confusion was epidemic this week in my WordPress Workshop, so let this be a bulletin for all new bloggers.

Essentially, WordPress.org is for professionals. WordPress.com is for hobbyists.

WordPress.org

The option that geeks rave about and most business owners use for blogging or as plain websites.

Once in WordPress.org, you are kinda on your own as far as official support goes, but there are an ample number of well-moderated WordPress forums to answer your questions.

Then, the sky is the limit. WordPress.org has:

  • ability to access to innumerable plugins constantly coming on the market
  • themes available for free and for fees both through WordPress and private developers
  • ability to edit code offers unlimited possibilities for customization

 WordPress.com

wordpress.com upgrades page, www.blogsitestudio.com

WordPress.com upgrades page

The commercial arm of WordPress is quick and easy to get started. You don’t have to purchase a domain name since your blog’s URL will be:
yourblogname.wordpress.com. WordPress.com draws you in with free stuff, but then they nickel and dime you for upgrades. Wordpress.com is for bloggers who just want to blog and not deal with much technical stuff, get too fancy, or make money.

WordPress.com offers a lot out of the box, but there are limits:

  • Theme choices are limited to 178 free themes. Premium themes start at $45.
  • Plugin installing doesn’t exist.
  • Widgets are more abundantly installed in WP.com with good ones like Calendar, Twitter displays, Vodpod Videos, Facebook Like, Image, Follow Blog, Flickr, Blog Stats, and Akismet. These are widgets WordPress.org users must upload themselves, after picking them out from the constantly expanding list of plugins that WordPress.com users don’t have access to.
  • Site Stats are included. Not as deeply analyzed as with Google Analytics, but ok.
  • Every upgrade comes with a price

Here is a chart of the monetary difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

WordPress.com WordPress.org
Custom Domain, sans “wordpress.com” $12-24 year $10-15 year
Hosting Free $72-125 year, incl email.
Custom Design $30 year Free
Site Redirect $12 year Free
No Ads on your blog $29.97 year Free
Premium Themes $45-100 $0-150 +

For more detail, WordPress.com offers a longer explanation about the differences

In my WordPress Workshop, I teach both WordPress.com or WordPress.org, since the control panels are largely the same.

When deciding between WordPress.com or WordPress.org, you have to decide what your goals are for your blog. If you are dipping your toe in the blog waters, WordPress.com will work for you. If you are into blogging for the long haul, you might want to go with WordPress.org

If you are leaning toward the self-hosted WordPress.org option, let me suggest signing up with Bluehost, one of the most popular ISPs serving up WordPress today.

Bluehost has a hosting package that starts at $5.99 per month and they are offering free domain registration for one year. What a bargain. Click here to sign up.

And if you love, love, love WordPress.com over WordPress.org, or vise versa, please comment and tell me why. I’m always curious.

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