Since the advent of the Internet, there have been a variety of new mediums through which people can receive news, share information, and bounce thoughts off one another. The great thing is, anyone can do it. This allows for conflicting viewpoints to mesh into a conversation through which reasonable conclusions can be made. If you believe you have information that the world should hear, you have an interesting option in starting a blog.
While you may think it is difficult to get started, it’s not when you use WordPress. This innovative platform makes it easy for anyone to voice their opinions, market products and services, and gain a following. If you are considering starting a blog, you have two options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Depending on your budget, limitations, and maintenance development, there are certain considerations to make before coming to a decision.
WordPress.com is an excellent resource to utilize if you are trying to promote a commercial venture, and with this service you have the ability to choose whether to take advantage of free features or pay a yearly fee in order to remove certain limitations.
It is easy to get started. Simply visit WordPress.com to access the necessary software, and you will receive easy-to-understand instructions on how to get everything started. Best of all, since this is a hosted service, you are free from the daunting task of finding a web host or downloading software. With WordPress.com, all of this is done for you.
The Flip-Side: WordPress.org
If you are looking for a viable platform through which you can build a website or manage content, look no further than WordPress.org. In fact, this service has become so widely popular that a whopping 30% percent of the Internet is powered by this technology.
You have a lot of flexibility using this software with multiple plug-ins to help you create a design that best represents your ideas. Simply download the WordPress installation files and begin searching for the themes that pique your interest.
While great for bloggers, there is more. WordPress.com is also a place where you can gain access to:
- Community support forums
- Mobile apps
- Translation services
So, Which Platform is Right for You
Upon first glance, it would appear that WordPress.com is for bloggers while WordPress.org is for commercial sites. However, when deciding which blogging platform is best for your purposes, there are a few more considerations you should make starting with the price.
Comparing the Costs
Using the WordPress.org software is free. However, many fail to understand the fact that you still have to pay for hosting, and this does entail certain costs. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune. Sites such as BlueHost will provide you hosting and a domain for around $50 per year, you can read more about WordPress Hosting or check my BlueHost review or Hostgator reviews.
Furthermore, while you will have the option to browse a number of free themes and plug-ins, you get what you pay for, and for more advanced features such as for a business website, you may have to visit theme stores to find the functions you need for an optimal site. Among the theme stores you can choose from include:
- My Theme Shop
- Woo Themes
The Many Options of WordPress.com
While WordPress.org is relatively straightforward, WordPress.com offers more options in their various plans and upgrades available. When making your decision, there are three plans you are able to consider:
- The Basic Plan- This plan option is free of charge, and the benefits you receive include free blogging, a WordPress.com web address, and general customization. However, you won’t be able to enjoy premium themes, e-Commerce, video storage and community support.
- The Premium Plan- Running $99 per year, this plan extends your opportunities as it offers not only video storage and advanced customization but also a custom domain and 13 GB of space. Not to mention, there will be no pesky ads on the site.
- The Business Plan- This plan runs the highest at $299 per year, but, it can be worth the investment for the return it can offer in its e-commerce capabilities. In addition, it also includes 50+ premium themes, unlimited space, and live chat support.
To help make your options even more affordable, there are additional features you can add to any plan to help you best customize your site for your specific needs. For example, for just $30 per year per blog, you can receive a custom design. You can also pay $13 per blog per year for a site redirect and $60 per blog per year for VideoPress. The options are extensive and can truly allow you to customize your site to meet your specific needs.
Costs in Summary
In summary, the costs vary, and what you should spend depends on your needs. If you just have general specifications and don’t mind the free themes and don’t need a custom domain, the WordPress.com basic plan is your cheapest option. However, if you prefer more features such as unlimited storage and no advertising, WordPress.com can quickly become costly. If you are on a strict budget, then opting for WordPress.org can be the best option to help you stay within your cost constraints.
Full Vs Limited Control
Like the cost, the amount of control you have over your site depends on which platform you choose. To begin, we will review the freedoms of WordPress.org. When set up on your server, you have many capabilities including:
- The use of any plug-in, both free and premium
- Premium theme use
- Ultimate content control with no pesky advertisements
- Improved performance with the ability to manipulate server settings and files
- The use of multiple methods of adding and editing files including FTP and cPanel
In contrast, WordPress.com is far more limited as far as control goes. While you will have the advantage of ready-use and no need to worry about coding or security, the limitations are something you will have to deal with, and they include:
- Lack of custom plug-ins
- No ability to upload your own themes
- Stoarge caps
- Additional costs for ad removal
- Lack of FTP access to files
While deciding which platform is optimal for you, it must be considered how heavily limitations weigh. If full control is something that will have a high importance on your site in the long-term, opting for WordPress.org software is your best bet.
Maintaining and Updating
Your daily schedule has a lot to do with your ultimate choice. Do you have time to make regular updates and perform maintenance on your site? If so, the control offered by WordPress.org is worth the consideration. However, if you don’t anticipate you will have time for technical maintenance and security, managed WordPress hosting from WP Engine (review) may be a better option as this is all done for you.
Making the choice between these two popular platforms takes careful time and consideration. However, when you mull over these three primary factors, you can come to a conclusion that best meets your individual needs.