If you’re a small business owner (or any business owner for that matter), then you’ve probably quickly figured out that an online presence is an absolute must. Creating a website has many benefits – like sharing your brand’s story, giving the option for online purchases, generating leads, etc. Chances are high that you’ve come across WordPress as a viable option to build your online platform, but there’s one small (read: big) detail that you may be a bit confused about.
WordPress itself comes in two forms: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. While the two are similar in the fact that they’ll allow you the same end result of a beautifully crafted website, the process of getting there is completely different.
If you’ve ever heard of WordPress, it’s highly likely that the person speaking was talking about WordPress.org. It’s known as “the real WordPress.” This .org version is open-source and completely free for anyone and everyone to build their own website. You’ll just need your own domain name and web hosting, both of which start at a minimal cost wherever you choose to get them.
WordPress.org gives you the freedom to customise your site however you want. You can utilize plugins and apps to help you build the site, many of which are also free. Themes are also available to all WordPress.org users. These themes come both free and paid with a vast array of options for every type of business or website.
In addition to its ease of use, WordPress.org also gives users the ability to monetise their site using your own ads. You can also track your website traffic and leverage the power of Google Analytics – both of which are a must if you’re actively trying to increase your online presence.
The .com version of WordPress is similar, yet strikingly different. It was created by WordPress.org’s co-founder, Matt Mullenweg (hence the very similar domain name). WordPress.com gives users the choice between five different plans, ranging from free to $5,000+ per month.
Unlike it’s .org counterpart, WordPress.com does not allow you to monetise your site through ads. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. There will be ads on your site (for which you don’t profit whatsoever) unless you upgrade to a paid plan, which starts at £36 per year. You can apply for WordAds only if you have a high-traffic site. WordAds is WordPress.com’s advertising program which does allow you to make money from ads with one caveat: you must share the profits with WordPress.com.
WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to use plugins unless you upgrade to the Business plan at £240 per year. Even then you’ll only have access to a limited number of plugins to choose from. It’s not until you spring for the VIP plan for a massive $5,000+ per month that you’ll be able to install the plugins of your choice.
The accessibility to custom themes is limited in comparison to the WordPress.org options. Additionally, your access to your site’s analytics is limited to just WordPress.com’s stats unless you have a Business plan. They also reserve the right to delete your website at any time if they feel you’ve violated their terms of service. Plus the ability to run a WordPress.com site for eCommerce is severely limited when compared to WordPress.org and your WordPress.com site will be branded with a WordPress domain unless you have a paid plan.
The Choice Depends On You
While it may be clear to you now that many would argue that WordPress.com has substantially more cons than WordPress.org, both are great options for building a website. You must determine what your site’s needs will be and what your long term goal is. With this information, you’ll be able to determine which platform is the best fit for your brand.
If you need help with your WordPress.org website in terms of support, design, security, hosting or anything technical, then be sure to check out WP Support Consulting.