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The Key Differences Between WordPress.com & WordPress.org

The Key Differences Between WordPress.com & WordPress.org

If you’re looking to launch a website of any type and you’re really keen to get started, the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) is a great choice.

Let’s have a look at key differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org (a self-hosted website). Though they’re both WordPress in name, they’re not the same thing!

Main Differences

  1. WordPress.com – Offers a DIY website builder as an SAAS (Software As A Service) platform enabling novices to create their own website. A client with a wordpress.com account cannot pick and choose their own web hosting provider. The site is not portable.
  2. WordPress.org – Offers open-source (free) software – A robust portable, downloadable and installable version of wordpress with more features, functionality and options. A site using the wordpress.org Content Management System (CMS) can be hosted by virtually any web hosting provider, most of which have software to enable quick automatic installations. A self-hosted site is portable enabling the site to be moved from one hosting provider to another.

Pros & Cons of WordPress.com

  • Web hosting – limited to the using their services. The client has no choice.
  • Domain Name Registration – All paid plans offer a free domain for one year as an incentive to join.
  • Start For Free – A start free option, as an incentive to get you online. – if you’re a creative you might want to try your hand at building your own website.
  • Paid membership  –  Compare their 4 Pricing Plans – Personal, Premium, Business & Ecommerce – Prices are quite expensive for the Business plan and the Ecommerce plan.

Pros & Cons of WordPress.org

Pros

  1. Installation of your own themes and plugins
  2. Choose any web hosting – There are many to choose from. Web hosting plans start around $100 a year. With wordpress.com you’ll pay around $300 a year. You can also transfer your website from one host to another to improve your web hosting services or to downsize.
  3. No content restrictions as long as its legal.
  4. A self-hosted website gives you more flexibility, the power to do what you like and stay in control all the way!
  5. Install the theme of your choice such as Divi or Elementor.
  6. Use the free Woocommerce app to create your online store.
  7. There are many free SEO plugins available for your search engine optimisation.
  8. Storage space is determined by your web hosting plan.
  9. Connect Google Analytics.
  10. Use your own personalised registered domain.
  11. Build membership websites with a paid plugin such as, Memberpress.

Cons

  1. You will have to find yourself a suitable web hosting provider to suit your needs.
  2. You will be responsible for implementing and managing the security of your website. Unless someone else manages it.
  3. More responsibility unless you pay a web hosting provider for a premium managed account.

WordPress.com Pros, Cons and Limitations

  1. Restrictions and limitations on functionality and the features with their two most affordable plans – by signing up to their two most affordable plans (not recommended for business), you’ll be limited as to what you can do. Compare the pricing plans before you start. Plugins cannot be uploaded,
  2. Limited number of themes – You won’t be able to upload custom themes unless you’re on those two most expensive plans.
  3. E-commerce features are expensive – Prices start around a whopping $59 a month and you can’t add the free Woocommerce plugin or alternatives to PayPal,.such as Stripe.
  4. You can’t build membership websites on wordpress.com.
  5. Search Engine Optimisation – Is only available as an option on their Business and eCommerce plans.
  6. Branded domains – Their free sites come with a branded subdomain rather than your own personalised domain for your business’ internet address. (E.g., https://yourwebsite.wordpress.com).
  7. They market on your site – The ‘powered by wordpress.com’ link will be displayed on your site. You get no choice.
  8. Your subject to their terms of service  – If they think your site violates their terms of service, they may delete your website at any time.
  9. Insufficient analytics  – Google Analytics cannot be added
  10. No portability – Your stuck at wordpress.com as your site won’t be portable. You can’t just clone it or migrate it to web hosting company. This will mean a website rebuild if you decide you no longer want to be at wordpress.com in the future.
  11. Tiny storage space – for images, games, audio, and videos.
  12. Domain Prices – It costs up to $48 to use your own domain.
  13. Time & Creativity – Not everyone has the time or the creativeness to use WordPres.com.
  14. The Divi Theme – You also won’t be able to install the Divi Theme unless you opt for from their Business plan or their Ecommerce plans. Prices start at $33 per month for you to be able to do those things.

Building Your WordPress.com Site might hurt your business

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the necessary process of creating and managing content on your website that is targeted, to be found by potential clients using a search engine when they type in search terms known as keywords. SEO is one area that is often overlooked by web design DIYs and ironically, it’s the most necessary component of any business website. The reason SEO is crucial to the success of your business is that without SEO your website is hidden, making the site ONLY visible to those typing in the web address on the search bar or clicking on a link. Websites that are optimised for search engines take a holistic approach, by strategically targeting content to ensure pages will found and to improve page ranking. Nobody cares about Google Search Results Pages (SERPs) that show up on the second page, third page and so on. A great SEO strategy always starts with understanding your target audience. Who are the people you want to reach with your content? Once you know this, you may want to create a buyer persona to help you fine-tune your content so that it appeals to your target audience. To create your own successful website, I recommend starting with a self-hosted WordPress website with SEO capabilities with the use of plugins.

Below is What You Need To Build Your Own Self-Hosted WordPress Website

  1. An ABN Number. Register for an Australian Business Number or ABN here if you don’t already have one.
  2. A Registered domain name (e.g. www.yourdomain.com.au)  and a web hosting plan. Both can be purchased from a 100% Australian Web hosting provider like VentraIP. They offer the DIY great prices and services. Their support is amazing and you talk to a human on their chats, not a bot.
  3. A WordPress theme – purchase the Premium Divi Theme Lifetime Access for hundreds of premium premade layouts, loads of value with unlimited use, unlimited downloads and support that doesn’t run out. Alternatively you may search for a WordPress theme at Themeforest.
  4. To install WordPress on your domain, go to your web hosting cPanel to use the Installation software.
  5. Once installed on your domain, you can begin the setup of: pages and the navigation menu. In the customizer you can also  customise your branding fonts and colours. Then you can also your logo and images for designing your WordPress website.
  6. WordPress plugins allow you to scale up your business as it grows with the use of plugins to add functionality and features.
  7. Use a great web copy. Content is everything! Using your list of keywords, formulate a great web copy, writing it for your buyer persona. This is the text content of your site. Then add it to your pages.
  8. Add on-page SEO using an activated and configured free & paid plugins like AIO SEO or Yoast SEO to ensure web pages can be found on the search engine result pages (SERPs).

My conclusion is that as a Web developer or business owner, that the WordPress.org option is the far better option offering a more affordable experience. However if you have signed up for a WordPress.com website on the Business or eCommerce and love it, check out the Divi theme for incredible web design options and web page styling. I’ll be happy to provide you with a web design quote. I can also help my clients find a suitable web hosting provider and advise on the best plan to meet their needs.

Sandra at ACT Websites Canberra
Need A Quote, WordPress Maintenance or Support?

I’m Sandra Ciminelli
Canberra based WordPress Web Designer/Developer

Contact me with your enquiries.

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