You’re ready to build a website. You’ve heard a lot of good things about WordPress and decide that’s the direction you want to go. Maybe you’ve heard it’s a great way to get a blog up and running quickly. Or you need a content management system, or both. But wait! Now you hear that there’s two versions of WordPress – wordpress.com and wordpress.org. What do you do!?
If you are new to blogging, building websites, or WordPress, and want to ease yourself into this brave new world, I recommend starting off small and easy. That means wordpress.com.
You see, when you go with .com, your blog will be hosted on the wordpress.com servers and that means everything is set up for you. There’s a bunch of features already built in, right out of the box, no configuring required. You also get your own domain name (albeit one that ends with wordpress.com, just like mine.) Best of all, you get all this for free! (there should be a wordpress.com affiliate program for me to join, no? :))
If you get a wordpress.org blog, you need a web host to serve your blog. Most web hosts will have wordpress install scripts already built in, so setting up isn’t hard. But if you want to add/configure plug-ins (i.e. additional features), you may need some programming skills to make it happen. But hosting your own blog also means you can get a domain name that doesn’t end in wordpress.com (I’ll tell you how to get around that in my next post).
Basically, everything is set up for you and ready to go if you choose .com. However, you can’t get more than their basic features unless you’re willing to pay up. If you go with .org, you get more functionality, customization, and control, but you have to know what you’re doing. As Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker in Spider Man, “With great power comes great responsibility. ”
Finally, if you plan on monetizing your blog, which means making money from displaying advertisements, you can only do that on a .org blog. So, no Google AdSense for you with .com!
To summarize, I recommend starting with a .com blog. When you’re ready, you can always switch over to .org and transfer all your blog posts and comments with you. There’s a feature in both .com and .org that makes it easy to go back and forth, so it’s not like if you pick one you’re committed for life or that you have to give up your first born or anything.
The top reasons to switch to .org when you’re ready would be:
1) You have a web host to serve your blog and the technical skills to be able to customize your blog to look exactly the way you want, with the features you want.
2) There’s a bunch of features that .org offers that you would have to pay for in .com, and you’re sick of .com nickle and dimeing you for every special feature you want. Or maybe it’s a feature that only .org offers but .com does not, and you just can’t live without it.
3) You want to make money from displaying advertisements on your blog. If you’re an affiliate marketer, then you need to go with .org to do your job. Unless you get 25K+ page hits a month, then you can work something out with .com
For me, wordpress.com gives me what I need for now without any fuss. As my needs change or as I’m building other websites that need specific features, this could change.
How about you? What do you prefer, wordpress.com or wordpress.org? Are there features in .org that you just can’t live without? Please let me know! Until then, see you at the next post!