A question was asked today about using WordPress.com for a business website.
For those that may not know, there are two options available for using WordPress. There is WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
So what is the difference and which one is better for a business website?
WordPress.com is an open source blogging software. It is hosted by a company called Automattic which was started by the developers of WordPress. It is free for anyone to use and Automattic take care of all SEO, hosting and spam.
WordPress.org or self-hosted WordPress is also free, however you must download and install it on your own hosting service which you will have to pay for. There are free hosting options available but I wouldn’t suggest these for a business website as the hosting company will advertise on your site.
Both versions are essentially the same so which one is best for a business website, what are the pros and cons of each?
- It is free and easier to setup and use.
- Great for personal blogging.
- All upgrading, spam, backups including posts and security are taken care of.
- WordPress.com aggregates all the posts attached to a particular tag which can help improve your visibility in a Google search.
- Limited number of themes.
- You cannot monetise or advertise on your site.
- Limited customisation. Generally, you cannot run a custom theme, upload and use plugins.
- Not compatible with Google Analytics.
- You do not have full control over your website. You do not control the software or server.
- Your account can be suspended or deleted without your permission. You should be familiar with WordPress.com’s Terms and Conditions.
- It will cost you a fee to have your own domain “mapped” to WordPress.com.
- Search rank authority accrues to you but also to WordPress.com.
- Able to select from a huge range of themes, upload and install them.
- You can monetise your blog or website.
- You have complete control of the WordPress code including any plugins and themes.
- Far more extensible by the use of a huge range of plugins.
- Can use Google Analytics.
- You have full control over your website.
- Any search rank authority accrues to you and not WordPress.com.
- More expensive. You will need a web hosting service which for a small business and in most cases is the cost of several lattes per month.
- Requires more technical knowledge to setup, run and maintain. Will need to be manually upgraded.
- You will be responsible for backups, spam and security.
So which is best for a small business?
WordPress.com is ideal for a personal blog if you are less interested in customising the site and don’t wish to make any money from it. You do need to be aware of their terms and conditions and what can happen if your account is suspended. Below is a direct quote:
“If a blog has been suspended for violating our terms, its domain/URL and content will not be returned.” From the suspended blogs page on WordPress.com
This is about your business and how you want to promote it. Not having full control may cause you problems at some point in the future.
WordPress.org is in most cases, by far the better choice for building a business website for the reasons that you have total control over look and feel of the website and also if you wish, you can monetise it. The extensibility of WordPress.org is huge with the many plugins that can be installed. This drastically improves the functionality of the website and can allow it to stand out from the rest. Some of the modern themes being produced today are quite stunning in what they can do and how they look.
Although the cost of setting up a website using WordPress.org may be higher, after the initial install and setup costs are covered, webhosting and domain name costs are relatively small.