In today’s post, I want to talk about WordPress .com vs WordPress.org and their differences.
Did you know that WordPress .com and WordPress.org are actually two very different platforms?
I made the terrible mistake of choosing the wrong blogging platform when I started my first blog back in 2018. I had no idea that there even was a difference between WordPress .com and WordPress.org!
In this post, I want to highlight the fundamental differences between WordPress .com vs WordPress.org, so you can choose the right platform for your biz.
PRO TIP: If you’re new to starting a blog, head over to the complete Start a Blog Guide or head down below to sign up to my free Start a Blog Course!
My biggest blogging mistake as a beginner!
In 2018, I started my first blog. At that time, I was living with my aunt in her basement apartment and desperately craved a creative outlet that I could make money from. First, I was totally confused and overwhelmed, but eventually found WordPress.com and started a free blog there.
Fast forward six months. I got more and more obsessed with blogging. At the same time, I got more and more frustrated with the platform. I compared my blog to other blogs and just couldn’t make mine look like I wanted it to.
One day I found myself on a consultation call with a blogging coach. She explained that the free software I was using (WordPress.com) would never get me where I wanted to go and all the bad things I had no idea about!
I started to sob on that call! I spent six months working furiously on my new website to find out I couldn’t make it work! Long story short, I decided to cut my losses and move it all to WordPress.org, and began working with her as a blogging coach.
Please don’t make the same mistake I did! Here’s what you need to know:
WordPress.org is “the real WordPress,” everyone is talking about. So WordPress.org is a tool you use to create and display your website and blog posts. In addition to it, you need a domain (your URL and name) plus and host (where your blog is stored, etc.). This is why sometimes WordPress.org is referred to as having a “self-hosted” blog.
Although my blog is now hosted through Showit (a WordPress.org integration that allows you to design your blog stunningly beautiful) , I still recommend bloggers to either use Showit or WordPress.org.
Check out my post on the three pillars of a blog for more info (CMS, Domain, and Host).
What is WordPress.com
WordPress.com is a platform where you can create a free blog (or pay for additional services), but it’s not self-hosted. Meaning your blog on WordPress.com doesn’t belong to you. It’s not owned by you.
It’s a bit like social media. Even though you can have an Instagram account, that’s yours; you don’t own that space, and if Instagram decides to change something or block your account- good luck fighting it.
WordPress.com provides software where you can have space on, but this space is not owned by you. And like with social media, you can only navigate the space within the boundaries and limits this company allows you to.
8 crucial differences between WordPress .com vs. WordPress.org for Bloggers
Here’re some of the most important differences between WP.com and WP.org.
1. Pricing Disclaimer:
WordPress.com is free to start. Therefore, you’ve got some functionality, but it’s limited. As soon as you want anything extra, you’ve got to upgrade. Upgrades range from $97 /year to start, to $540 / year to unlock something like eCommerce.
To own your blog and start at WordPress.org, you need to buy a domain and hosting costs together around $70+ /year. With that, you unlock every functionality without upgrade costs!
Pro Tip: If you want to use any of the services below, It’s always cheaper to start with wordpress.org right from the start.
Learn how to set up your brand new blog from scratch HERE!
2. Ownership – Do I own my blog?
If you start a blog on WordPress.com, you can think of it as renting a place. You’ve got some wiggle room on how to make it look inside, but someone else owns the property at the end of the day.
If you start a blog on WordPress.org, you own the dang property. You’ve got the control. Do anything you like!
Check out my “How to start a WordPress.org Blog (in 7min or less”) +Video tutorial here!
3. Plugins – Can I use Plugins?
Don’t know what a plugin is? No problem check out my THIS post to learn all about it!
There’re some pre-installed plugins you can use, but you can’t install, upload or use any third-party plugin (* to use Plugins you must upgrade $300/year).
You can use all available plugins. Choose free plugins from the library or upload purchased plugins (at no additional cost).
4. Ads – Can I monetize a free site?
You’re NOT allowed to use ads to make money from your blog (* to use ads you must upgrade).
Apply to any ad service you want. Decide how many ads to show on your site, and you get 100% of the revenue (at no additional cost).
5. Online store – Which one is better for e-commerce?
You can’t open an online store next to your blog (* to create an online store you must upgrade $540 / year).
Create a full online store in addition to your blog. You can use things like Whoocommerce or any other checkout service you like to sell your products and services and accept payments (at no additional cost).
6. Theme Customization – Can I brand and make my blog look exactly like I want it to?
Themes determine the look of your site. You usually upload a pre-designed theme, so you don’t have to design your website from scratch. Learn more about themes HERE!
You can only choose from the themes provided by WordPress.com. You CAN’T customize those themes, and you CAN’T upload a theme you purchased (* to use custom Themes you must upgrade $300 /year).
You can use and customize any free theme or paid theme you upload to your blog (at no additional cost).
7. Branding – What looks more professional?
You don’t have to have any branding but your own on your blog (at no additional cost).
8. Membership sites – Can I build my Tribe?
You can’t create a full membership site (* to create a Membership site must upgrade $300 /year).
You can create a full-on membership site, with everything that you and your audience need! Restricted areas, levels, drip content, etc (at no additional cost).
Ok, I think I’ve made my point.
WordPress.org is the platform I use, love, and recommend to everyone who wants to hear it.
But, what if you’re like me, made a mistake and started a WordPres.com blog. Is all your work lost?
No, I’ve got you.
9. What does Boss Lady Bloggers recommend using?
I highly recommend blogging on Showit which is the same thing as WordPress.org, however, you get to design your own website from scratch in the most gorgeous and simple way while still having the WordPress.org benefits.
WHAT IS SHOWIT?
Showit is the most innovative platform for drag & drop website building without code. Throw everything you know about templates and drag & drop, this is truly unique. Showit offers the possibility to customize templates 100% so you can easily create a unique website without a single line of code. The platform has been specially developed for creative entrepreneurs.
Showit will allow you to design a stunning website on Showit but you will write all of your blog posts with WordPress. It’s absolutely amazing.
Showit is not only very user-friendly and wonderful to work with. But Showit offers so much more: custom mobile design, responsive on all screens, simple SEO optimization, innovative drag & drop builder, fast chat support, lots of clear tutorials.
Technically Showit runs on the best and fastest servers and you do not have to worry about ant technical hassle and updates. So you are in control and are backed up with a ton of support in all kinds of ways.
HOW MUCH DOES SHOWIT COST?
Showit has various subscription levels available starting as low as $19/mo (billed yearly). I recommend the middle tier with a blog at $24/mo (billed yearly) This allows you to make use of the WordPress.org blog design that’s integrated in your template.
Your Showit subscription includes: hosting, backups, WordPress blog, live chat support, free subdomains and access to a community full of creative Showit users. All custom blog designs are created with Showit and require an active Showit account.
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT IS OFFERED?
Showit offers tons of ways to contact if you ever need. Even live video chats with the team members!
My favorite way to contact Showit is through their live chat. It shows at the bottom of your screen when you are designing and they respond very quickly.
WHAT ABOUT SEO?
Showit runs with the latest internet language HTML5. This ensures that everything on your website is perfectly indexed at Google. You can optimize keywords, alt tags, page titles, the whole shebang! You optimize your WordPress blog with the Yoast SEO plugin. You have all the possibilities to make sure Google is your best friend.
When you purchase a custom website, I will optimize your SEO basics like: page title, meta description and keywords.
CAN I BLOG WITH WORDPRESS?
Absolutely! Your WordPress blog will be integrated into your Showit design. This gives you the best of both worlds: the power and flexibility of WordPress and the WOW design of Showit. Showit support experts migrate your existing blog for free!
CAN I ADD A SHOP TO MY WEBSITE?
Showit does not have any build-in shop options (yet). But it is possible to integrate Shopify Lite. Or you can link Showit to Etsy for example, you can link your Showit site to a separate WordPress shop with the WooCommerce plugin, or you can build a shop on your site and use Thrivecart for checkouts.
The best way (and cheapest) in my opinion and how I personally do it is to build my shop on Showit and use Shopify Lite which costs me only $9/month.
How to move from WP.com to WP.org!
I know, you might be freaking out right now! I know I was when I realized I’ve made a mistake,
Is all your work going to be lost? This can’t be for real!!
No, you’ve got options to save your content!
Here’s a great and in-depth tutorial on what to do if you want to save the work you’ve put into your blog and move everything over to WordPress.org!
That’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed this post on WordPress .com vs. WordPress.org! Share your story and experience in the comments! I can’t wait to hear your blogging journey!
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