In this modern era when it’s practically impossible to walk by someone who does not hold a piece of smart technology in their hand, blogging seems super-easy and trendy. With all services that allow you to start for free, you may think that you can roll off a blog just by hitting a few buttons. From a technical perspective, that’s true. But there are so many things to consider before plunging into the blogging waters.
After getting that fabulous idea about a new blog, chances are that you have Googled your choices. Since WordPress powers up more than a quarter of the entire web, it’s quite obvious that it is a good way to go (in our opinion, the best way). But as there are quite big differences between wordpress.org and wordpress.com, the question is should you use the later one?
Before we continue, you should know that there isn’t a simple yes or now answer to this question. Both platforms have something to offer, and the decision on opening a free wordpress.com account depends on your needs, skills, and plans for the future of your blog. Let us show you a few pros and cons which should help you decide.
Reasons why to use wordpress.com
Just like with anything in life, there are good and bad things about wordpress.com as well. Let’s focus on the good stuff for start.
Yes, that’s a big plus for the platform. It doesn’t require PayPal account nor a credit card, and most certainly you won’t see the employees coming asking you for money. You can start blogging just by registering a new account and choosing a name for your new site. After a few clicks, your free website will be online and ready for the first post.
Professionals take care of your site
From the moment of your registration, the team of experts (there are more than 200 of them) become your right hand.
You don’t have to worry about WordPress updates, security or regular maintenance.
This means that you can relax and set your mind to creating new content instead of doing backups and optimizing your site for speed, for example. Working on the content was the main reason for starting your blog at the first place, right?
Get instant blog promotion
By creating an account, you also become part of the massive network of wordpress.com universe. Without worrying about promotion, the service will automatically put your blog on the map, and other users will be able to get to your site more easily. Also, those same users will be able to leave comments and help growing interest in your site. In case you’re really good, and the topics you write about are fresh, some posts may be featured on wordpress.com blog which will attract thousands of people.
Reasons why not to use wordpress.com
Before you jump to conclusion that the reasons mentioned above are good enough to start, let’s stop for a moment. Leave that little light bulb in your head flashing, and try to think about the future of your blog. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want and need from the blog? Do you want to customize it in details? What about making money?
Inability to use custom themes and plugins
If this is your first blogging experience, everything that wordpress.com offers will be even more than enough. But as soon as you grow accustomed to publishing, you’ll have more and more ideas that will require customizations. This is the first big problem of the platform – you simply can’t install custom themes and plugins!
With tens of thousands free and premium themes and plugins available for WordPress, by choosing wordpress.com, you’re instantly limiting yourself to only some of them.
Whether you found a beautiful theme you want to use or install that fantastic widget that will do this or that, you’re left in the dark. You can just watch over in the neighbour’s yard to see how amazing that particular extension looks like on the self-hosted (wordpress.org) version.
You can’t change the layout
Even if you’re satisfied with the current theme, forget about customizing it in details. For example, if you want to alter the position of the social media icons, you’re stuck with the options available through the theme customizer. If you were about to use the self-hosted WordPress, the change could be done in minutes. Want to change fonts, all the colors or other website elements that aren’t to be found in the options? Forget about it!
Is it really free?
Yes, it is. If you’re ready to limit yourself to the essential features for life. For starters, 3GB of hard drive space that you get for free might sound amazing. But the truth is that sooner or later you will exceed the limit, and you will need more space. And this is where the free version becomes a premium one – if you want extra space, you will have to pay.
When registering an account, you choose the domain name for your site. If you’re sticking with the free option, the domain will look something like this: yourblogname.wordpress.com. If you want a custom domain, you will have to pay for it. The same goes for several other things like hosting your own videos.
Did you know that wordpress.com has the right to publish their own advertisements on your blog? Yes, that’s a bummer and if you want to shut them down, guess what – you will have to reach in your wallet once again. Even in that case, you will have to credit wordpress.com on the bottom of your screen.
You can’t monetize your blog effectively
This might be a deal breaker if you’ve ever thought of earning a few extra bucks through your blog. Although wordpress.com allows different ways of advertising, those are quite restrictive, and you will have to keep one eye on the rule book. For example, affiliate links are allowed only in some cases, and using them inappropriately may end up with a warning or a suspension.
If you want full freedom over the advertisement options on your site, forget about wordpress.com and set your mind to the self-hosted version right now.
You risk the future of your blog
The team behind wordpress.com deserves the right to shut down your pages. People may even flag your site as inappropriate one. You may go over the limits even if you weren’t aware of it and as a result, you might lose your blog.
This might sound a bit too dramatic than it really is, but we can’t overlook the fact that you’re not in control of your own blog.
Ok, in that case, guys and girls at wordpress.com would let you export your site so that you can use it on the self-hosted version. But the question is, do you want to put the fate of your site in the hands of strangers?
What’s your choice?
In the end, it’s obvious that there are more downsides to wordpress.com than you initially though, right? Although every WordPress user who started their self-hosted site would probably never go back to wordpress.com, the choice is entirely up to you. If you shook your head after reading the reasons why not to use wordpress.com because they’re just not that important to your blogging career, go ahead and create your free account. We’re sure you will still enjoy blogging.
But if just one of the things got you questioning, we suggest starting your own site. Yes, there will be some learning involved, but for everything, WordPress related, we will be right here to help.
Depending on the needs of your blog, WordPress.com can be both a good or bad choice. In this article, you had a chance to go through the most important things about WordPress.com that will help you decide if you should open an account or go with the self-hosted version.