Just to confuse you. So I thought it might be useful to clarify. For me and for you.
Are you thinking about blogging seriously? Maybe because everyone is doing it? Maybe because you have a cool thing to offer? Or maybe you have a small micro business and want a website for it.
You’ve probably already heard about WordPress and how it’s one of the top choices among bloggers of all caliber and talent. Those who hobby blog and those who crank the big bucks too!
Using a content management system like WordPress is smart and way more flexible for you in the long run versus building a traditional static website with pages that just kinda sit there.
So let’s demystify the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. It’s important to know because depending on where you are on the technology learning curve, one will be a better fit than the other.
Obvious difference #1: One ends in .com and one ends in .org.
Here in lies the whole reason for the post to begin with. Both are free. Both host blogs (or websites, because they are basically the same). In a nutshell, if you want to think a lot LESS and have a ton fewer technical questions, you’ll want to go the .com side (http://www.wordpress.com).
There are trade-offs. Sorry.
Because sometimes (more likely eventually) having less choice becomes a problem. In the beginning, when overwhelm is present, less choice is a good thing. After a while, parts of the cookie get digested in smaller bites and with changing frequencies. The questions that once occupied your brainspace are now answered. Leaving room for brand new questions. That are coming from the space of doing more, not less. Usually.
Like having greater customizability, i.e., making it more You and less cookie-cutter. More design options (either how your blog looks, the colors and fonts or how the information structures are pieced together).
WordPress.com has a limited number of templates (although customizable you need to know what CSS is and how to use it), limited number of sidebar widgets, you cannot extend your blog using the handy plug-ins which are available for the other type of WordPress I haven’t really started talking about, yet.
Also, in the free WordPress.com alternative, they sometimes show ads on your website.
Tradeoffs, like I said.
Really excellent choice if you’re new to blogging. Free, less options (not so many decisions), and you can apply a custom domain for a one-time $15 fee.
More flexibility through greater options, which means more decisions. Also, the technical aptitude chart is NOT down at the kindergartner level (hey! we all start somewhere) so if you’re already blogging and want more, then upgrading (yes, it’s an upgrade) to the WordPress.org alternative would be for you!
Why is it an upgrade? You are making more decisions and you are in much more control. Trust me. It’s an upgrade. When you make room in your brainspace for new questions, they do keep coming, usually in the form of good ideas for your business. And then you want to act on them. And we are right back around in a circle, to why I think using a content management system (like blogs) is such a smart thing to do for a small biz owner. You can implement change as it happens.
So the big big big consideration, or at least the one I thought was the big big consideration, when choosing to .COM-it or .ORG-it was all about money. Money money money.
And in the hour or so I spent reading other online articles comparing both .COM and .ORG, I didn’t see it. Not even slightly. Ok, well slightly. But not in the way that I thought it would be out there. And here it is:
I was told that if you sell anything, you have to go the .ORG way. Essentially you can not turn a huge profit on the free-er .COM option because they (WordPress) are not equipped to handle loads and loads of traffic to their servers.
So you cannot load up your free WordPress.com blog with lots of pay-per-click stuff and make money. With banners and all that. Advertising is restricted. And what it comes down to is having the same definition of Advertising that WordPress does. If I sell lawn mowers and I advertise my lawn mowers on my blog (or the purpose of the blog is to advertise my lawn mowers), the way of the .COM is not a sound option. You’ll want to be looking closer at the way of the .ORG.
The .ORG Requirements
After the primary requirement which is money, you’ll get to spend some of it on the following things:
- Your own web hosting account. E-ghads what the heck is a web host? Well you’re in luck because I explain it in this blog post. In case you weren’t sure or just want to make sure you know what it is.
- Your own domain name. This one isn’t so hard, but it’s a requirement none the less. I talk about domain names here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
- Someone to help you with installation. What? I’ve got to install something? Yes. You actually first download the free software (http://wordpress.org/download/) from WordPress.org and then access your host account (they give you a user name & password) to upload and install the software. Or, there are a ton of freebie tutorials all over the web. Or, you can ask me. I do this type of thing for my clients.
- As a post script, I recommend using GoDaddy because when you buy their hosting service package, there are ready for your WordPress. And GoDaddy makes it pretty simple to go through the steps to order the WordPress hosting package. Then use GoDaddy’s customer service people (who are really cool, happy-to-help-you folks, at least all the ones I’ve talked with) to help you!
Like any blogging system, you get to spend some time getting to know its administrative dashboard or the place behind the scenes, away from your web visitor’s eyes, where you crank out all your good stuff in the form of widgets, gadgets and blog post content.
You’ll pick a theme. And with the .ORG option, you can now upload themes, whereas before you had an option of about 60. The internet is now the limit. Put ‘Free WordPress Themes’ into Google (watch out for perfectionism gremlins), set the timer and then buh-bye.
You’ll also get acquainted very quickly to what’s called a WordPress Plug-In. The first one you’ll want to install is called Akismet. It helps you with spam, in your blog comments area. There are a few steps involved in getting your Askimet plug-in installed and working. And again, tons of help if you Google it.
Or there’s me. And some of my happy people. If you’re interested.
And that’s about it.
Seeing the difference between the two can help you see what you need. Are you a hobby-like blogger? Using the platform to practice using your voice in written form (not an easy feat at all) or are you going to be using your blog for your biz? To sell your wares, tokens & services?
Somewhere in between or want to be? Let’s chat about getting your WordPress on.