Blogging has been an effective avenue for many people to vent out their frustrations, voice out their opinions, and even share their daily experiences. Blogging has become the ultimate medium for people to share content online on the Internet.
You might have been intrigued by the title, as WordPress has always been at the forefront when it comes blogging. Newbies and pros alike prefer this platform because it is convenient to use — a simple search will yield hundreds of thousands of WordPress tutorials from the very basic to the most advanced tutorial you can find. You don’t even need to know how to code in order to operate a WordPress website.
You can change your website’s façade as often as you like and add more functionalities through millions of plugins available at your disposal.
How To Blog Online Using WordPress
Before you get confused, WordPress.org and WordPress.com are two different things. WordPress.com, is something you should wary about.
Why? It’s totally free, and you can publish your blog within minutes of sign up through WordPress.com. However, we still don’t recommend it to serious bloggers. While we know that WordPress.com is indeed helpful for some people who would just want to keep a personal, online journal, serious bloggers shouldn’t let themselves commit to this platform.
If you’ve been living under a rock, WordPress.com is the free version of WordPress. You don’t need to buy the things necessary to build a website of your own. You don’t have to buy a domain name, a web host service, and even themes for your website. WordPress.com takes care of that for you, so you can just sit there and blog.
Despite the convenience, here are some reasons why WordPress.com shouldn’t be the platform of choice for budding and aspiring bloggers
There Are A Lot Of Limitations
Excited to design your blog? We hate to burst your bubble, but you cannot alter most of the design that’s already present with your theme. Unfortunately, you cannot even change your own theme unless it belongs to what’s available. Your blog will look like just any other WordPress.com blog. Even if you have already purchased a theme of your liking, you wouldn’t be able to upload it and select it as the main theme of your site. If you want to go beyond what’s available, you can opt to pay for around $50 to be able to modify your site.
It’s More Expensive In The Long Run
You might get a free blog now, but in the future, you will definitely need to improve your website from what it is currently. If you know that this will be a serious business from thereon, you should consider buying your own domain name and web host provider instead of making a beeline to a free WordPress.com site. You can still use WordPress as a CMS; most of the time, there’s an available 1-click install function to install WordPress, so you should be fine.
Still not convinced? Here are some of the paid plans from WordPress.com should you want to upgrade:
Personal. $4 per month, billed yearly. Total of $48 per year. Perfect for personal use. Boost your website with a custom domain name and remove all WordPress.com advertising. Get access to high-quality email and live chat support. Aside from these, you’ll have access to 100+ free themes, and a 6GB storage space for your files.
Premium. $8 per month, billed yearly. Total of $96 per year. Perfect for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Aside from the perks available from a Personal plan, this $96 a year plan offers unlimited premium themes, advanced design customization, 13GB total storage space, the ability to monetize your site, and more.
Business. $25 per month, billed yearly. Total of $300 per year. If you own a small business, then this plan is perfect for you. Power your business website with unlimited premium and business theme templates, Google Analytics support, unlimited storage, and the ability to remove WordPress.com branding. It’s like owning your own website, only that it’s backed up by WordPress.com.
It may look cheap from the get-go, but do you know that owning a .com website would only cost you as low as $23 a year? All that Business plan perks available to you at a lower cost.
Limited Earning Opportunities
Some people choose to blog as an extra source of income. If you decide to pursue blogging as a part-time job, you won’t benefit too much from a WordPress.com domain. In fact, earning opportunities are very limited with this platform.
Earning through blogging can be possible through affiliate marketing, and affiliate marketing is a big no-no with a WordPress.com site. They have strict rules when it comes to affiliate marketing. You have to own something and have the rights to promote it. For example, if you have a product up on Etsy, then that’s the only time that you can promote a product. You cannot place your affiliate links, else you will violate their Terms and Conditions. To more know about monetizing your site, visit this page.
If you plan to sell merchandise on your WordPress.com, you need to upgrade to a Business account. You can’t sell items on the free platform.
No Perpetual Ownership
This is perhaps the most disappointing of all.
According to WordPress.com, they have the right to “terminate” your access or your website, even without notice. Can’t believe it? Read the TOS.
Managing a blog is no joke. You have to hustle to create content for your users, think of how to reach the right audience, etc. You might not notice it, but you may accidentally violate one of the terms you agreed with WordPress.com. They can wipe away your years of hard work in one swoop. With WordPress.com, you don’t really own your blog. You’re just renting space.
It’s too easy to violate the rules, especially if you’re not aware of it. Before you know it, your site has already been suspended.
We hope we helped you in making the right decisions not to use WordPress.com if you seriously plan to pursue blogging. There are many limitations that may slow down or hamper your progress. Consider creating your own website; there are many tutorials that can help you make your own website in minutes.
Kenneth Sytian is one of the leaders in web design in the Philippines. He has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade. His no-nonsense approach to design coupled with his vast creativity is a winning combination for his clients.