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!
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.
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.
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.
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