Posted by: cindystephenson | January 13, 2010

What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

Ever wonder about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

When I first started blogging I decided on the WordPress platform, but didn’t know whether I should use WordPress.com or .org, nor did I really understand the difference between the two. This was a personal project of mine so I couldn’t just dial up the IT folks. I had to figure it out on my own. WordPress.com seemed much simpler so I settled on that. However,  I wondered at what point I would want or need to switch to WordPress.org.

Then along came Raincoaster and a helpful presentation at WordCamp Victoria!

WordPress.com features:

Easy to use, but no extra plug-ins or customizable themes:

WordPress.com is free and I found it relatively easy to set up. Everything is taken care of including setup, upgrades, spam blockers, backups, security, etc.  But to keep it simple, there are certain limitations. You must use one of their existing themes, and you can’t add plug-ins. (These are add ons that help your browser perform specific functions like viewing special graphic formats or playing multimedia files.)

Tags give you more Google juice:

Tags let you assign words or short phrases to a post to make it easier to classify what the post is about. WordPress posts can have up to roughly ten tags.  The Global Tag listing at WordPress.com aggregates all published posts attached to any particular tag. According to Raincoaster, tags are the biggest advantage of WordPress.com and why you get more Google juice with WP.com than WP.org.

You can fund raise and sell things, under certain conditions:

You can add a PayPal button and sell your products if you are an artist or an author. Non-profit groups can raise awareness and money for a specific cause.

No RSS stats or Google Analytics:

It’s difficult to know how many people subscribe to your blog on WordPress.com because it’s not compatible with Google Analytics. However, you can get good stats by getting a Feeedburner account – it’ll give you RSS info. And you can also get some stats on your readers via Quantcast.

Social bookmarks:

Want to add a row of social bookmarks to your blog post? I really like Get Social, and it works on WP.com.  It was developed by a cool dude, Hillel Stoler who lives in Tel Aviv.

Widget tips:

Consider adding a “Recent Comments” widget – it’s great for loyalty. People like to see their comments in the sidebar. And instead of “Top posts,” which is dictated by WordPress, you can use a text widget and create a “Favourite posts” widget – and you get to decide which posts to include.

WordPress.org features:

Requires more technical knowledge to set up and run:

With WordPress.org, the software is free, but you need to install it and upgrade the software yourself when a new version comes out. You also pay to have it hosted on a site such as GoDaddy.com. This generally costs $7-12 per month, or thousands of dollars per month for a high traffic site (I wish!).

You can monetize and sell things on your blog:

WordPress.org allows paid ads, shopping carts and third party sales.

Bottom line?

If you are a professional and want to promote yourself, WordPress.com is fine! Plus you get the extra Google juice. If you want to run ads on your blog, you’ll need to use WordPress.org

Photo credit: koka sexton

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Responses

  1. The other advantage of the self-installed version (wordpress.org), you can install any plugins or themes, and modify them as you wish. With WordPress.com, you must use the themes and plugins they have approved.

    WordPress.com is great, but I definitely prefer to the added flexibility of having my own installed.

    And I’d never recommend GoDaddy – always dotcanuck Web Services – http://www.dotcanuck.com/ – Yes, I am biased.

    • Oops…and dotcanuck is a great sponsor of local social media events here in Victoria. 🙂

  2. thanks for adding this basic info. I too was wondering about the difference between the two programs. Is anyone else interested in a beginner’s level subgroup? let me know if you are
    thanks

    • Interesting suggestion. I’m considering some of Raincoaster’s courses, and always interested in attending a local WordCamp.

      Cindy

  3. I posted my rough notes from the talk here:

    http://raincoastermedia.com/2009/11/14/wordcamp-victoria-raw-notes/

  4. This is a nice post… is usefull for my site!nice job.

  5. Thanks for stopping by,

    Cindy

  6. Thanks for the info, just about decided to opt for WP.org, so it was good to get some confirmation that this is probably about right for what I want to do.

  7. Interesting post, thank you.
    I’m interested in setting up a blog and monetarizing it. I’m thinking of Amazon links, Adsence, Affiliate links and assuming that it becomes successful, maybe later charging other people to advertise.

    I assume from the above, that I would need WordPress.ORG for this?

    Any other suggestions on how to monetarise a blog would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Charlie

  8. You can add google analytics to wordpress with a little effort. If you use text or script blocks within the theme you should be able to add in the javascript needed for analytics tracking.

    I’m sure there are plenty of plugins that will do it too.

  9. Self-Hosting your blog is far more professional than having a blog with the WordPress.com extension. If you are a business owner/entrepreneur you don’t want to brand WordPress – you want to brand yourself. It also looks like you are cutting corners – so self-host your WordPress blog for professionalism.

    I use BlueHost.com – as WordPress suggests. It was an easy move from my old service which wasn’t WordPress friendly at all. The dashboard is the same except for all the other perks you get when self-hosting.

    Happy Blogging, Eydie 🙂

    • Hi Eydie,

      Thanks for stopping by and good points! I need to get my own domain name and look into self-hosting.

      Cindy

  10. […] which allows me to do more, like gallery plug-ins but needs a separate  webhosting service? I hadn’t realised there was a difference until about 2 weeks ago… It might be worthwhile! I just don’t know!!!!! […]

  11. I’m really gonna think about this.

  12. I appreciate this easy explanation of the differences between the.com and the .org. I’ve run into a few formating problems with the .com but by and large am very happy with my new blog. I think WordPress.com is a great way to dip your toes into the waters and get the “feel” of a website. The template choices are surprisingly good …. mine came up automatically as a random choice and I liked it so much, I kept it. You can fiddle with the offered widgets … one of which gave me a “static” home page. Since my blog is primarily educational …. teaching music …. I needed that static home page.

    I think you can get a domain name too for about $15 …. and then you don’t have to append the “WordPress” …. you get your blog/business name with the .com extension., Well worth it if you want to look professional.

  13. very helpful content……..
    I want to make blog by installing web host, but little more confusion. Plz resolve my querry,i will be very thankfull to you……..

    1. Can i changed already Installed Host or downloaded blog from one PC to my leptop ?

    2. what happen in case of formating my PC ……. does i completely lost my installed Host or Downloaded wordpress ?

    3. Can i reinstall same web host in case of formating PC ?

    plz be needful …. thank you so much for this artical.

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