So you’re thinking about creating your website, and you’ve heard WordPress is pretty good. Naturally, you have a bit of a search on the interweb for how to get started. And probably, you end up on WordPress.com because when you Google WordPress, their .com site is the top-ranking search result.
Unless you made it below the fold, you probably didn’t even realise there was a .org until some way down the line. By that point, you may have observed that there’s a few downsides to building a platform on the .com site:
- You’re limited on the themes you can use and you’re not allowed to modify the CSS (without a paid upgrade at least).
- You’re not allowed to upload or otherwise utilise custom plugins (unless you pay for the WordPress.com VIP program – only $2500 a month).
- If you want to use your own domain name, you need to pay extra (approx $18 annually) for that.
- Need some more space? You gotta to pay extra for that too.
- Want to remove the adverts? Yep, you guessed it. That’ll be $30 per year.
The list goes on. And on.
What starts off as free, rapidly becomes a substantially more expensive affair. Particularly if you want to monetise your site in some way.
My suggestion? Start as you will most likely need to continue. Get a domain name. Buy some hosting. Then build a WordPress installation over which you have full control.
Your domain name and hosting won’t be free either, but at least you won’t be hit by any surprise fees once your site starts gaining some traction and you want to, for example, implement some opt-in fields in your sidebar. Or a pop-up, or any one of the miriad of other enhancements that the WordPress.com option simply won’t allow unless you pay an extra, annually recurring fee for.
Of course, we don’t begrudge the WordPress.com folk their monies. The nice people at Automattic need to make a living too. Just don’t be fooled into thinking WordPress.com is the cheap option. Because you’ll find out soon enough that it isn’t. And the later you do, the more expensive it will be to move to a different platform.
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