If you looking to build a new WordPress based website, you have two choices – WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s how to choose the right option for you.
Pros and Cons of WordPress.com
WordPress.com is the cloud offering where you can get a free blog and pay for some upgrades. It can be setup within minutes and is fantastic for people who want a simple site to mostly run a blog.
You can also buy upgrades to get additional functionality. One upgrade is being able to use a custom domain (yourdomain.com) instead of the free wordpress domain (yoursite.wordpress.com). Likewise, you can buy additional themes and limited set of plugins to give you more choice in design and functionality.
However, even with the upgrades, WordPress.com is not a custom website. You are significantly confined on how much you can customise it both in design and functionality.
For example, if you wanted to install a custom plugin, such as an events calendar or a membership site, or write some custom code to integrate your website with a third party site such as a job feed, that is not possible with a WordPress.com website.
It is similar to having a Facebook account. You can add your logo, upload your photos, add your content, make some design changes, add some additional functionality like a Facebook shop, but it is still a confined product.
Pros and Cons of WordPress.org
But the developers who created WordPress wrote it as an open source project and have released the code to the public.
Their generosity means that a web design and development firm can use the underlying code as a solid base to build a custom site.
This means you can customise every aspect from a fully custom design to custom plugins that allow you to do just about anything. You can even write custom third-party integration code to integrate your website with another website (e.g. job feed from your job management system).
Most business websites are now created using the WordPress.org codebase.
The main drawback of a custom WordPress.org website is that it will cost you a lot more. Custom WordPress sites can cost thousands of dollars depending of the amount of design and functionality work needed.
Plus you have to pay for hosting ongoing which can be $15 – $35 per month.
Both options are good depending on your situation. If you are just starting out blogging and don’t have thousands of dollars to get a website built, get a free or low-cost WordPress.com website.
If you are a business and want to build a more custom site that really helps you achieve the right image and functionality for your business, get a WordPress.org website.
You can always start with a WordPress.com website. Once you have more money to invest and actually know how you want your website to look and function, upgrade to a WordPress.org custom website.
You can even export the content from WordPress.com and load into your new WordPress.org website.