WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: What’s the Difference?

[tweetmeme]One question I get asked frequently by small business owners who want to start a blog is, “Which platform to use?” I recommend WordPress for 2 reasons: #1 – I use it and like it! #2 – It’s the most popular blogging platform, and gets great ranking in the search engines.

The next thing I have to explain to a client is that there are two different versions of WordPress. The main difference involves hosting. WordPress.com will host your blog for free. WordPress.org requires you to host the blog yourself on your own server, or use a third-party service to host it for you. Either way, you will have to pay for that service.

Each format has its fans and critics; you’ll have to decide which features are more important for you and choose a service accordingly.

Here are some other differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org:

WordPress.com Features

  • Easy to use
  • No installation is necessary
  • More than 100 themes to use
  • Spam is taken care of with Akismet service
  • Posts are backed up automatically
  • Your blog is hosted on hundreds of servers, so it’s unlikely to go down due to a traffic spike
  • Strong internal stats, comparable to Google Analytics
  • Get extra traffic from other WordPress.com blogs due to use of common tags
  • Can’t upload plugins
  • Have to pay extra to customize code via CSS
  • Must follow WordPress.com terms of service, or you’ll lose your blog

WordPress.org Features

  • Can upload your own theme or use a custom one
  • Can upload plugins that extend functionality of your blog
  • Can change your own code to customize items like font size, etc. – if you’re “tech savvy”
  • Can run advertisements
  • Need a good web host so your site doesn’t crash due to heavy traffic
  • You’re responsible for stopping spam
  • You’re responsible for backups
  • Must manually update software when new updates are released
  • You’re in full control of your content

What it comes down to is this: if you’re just starting a blog, WordPress.com is probably your best bet. Despite not having the ability to add plugins, WordPress.com does offer widgets that you can take advantage of. I’ve been able to do some customization on this blog – adding social media widgets, for example. So there are workarounds if you’re on a budget. Besides, you can always move your content over to a hosted site on WordPress.org later on.

If you need help writing keyword-rich content for your blog, contact me today!

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4 thoughts on “WordPress.com vs. WordPress.org: What’s the Difference?”

    1. I would definitely recommend wordpress.org for a personal website, since you’ll have more control over the content and look of your site. Plus there are a wider variety of plugins to use.

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