7 Little-Known Reasons WordPress.com Sucks for Serious Bloggers

7 Little-Known Reasons WordPress.com Sucks for Serious Bloggers

So you’re ready to make a dent in the universe.

You have great ideas to share with the world, and blogging is how you’re going to do it.

Good for you.

Of course, there’s more to starting a blog than just having great ideas, but you’ve already made an important decision.

You’re going with WordPress.

After all, Internet bigwigs like Jon Morrow, Brian Clark, Chris Brogan, Amy Porterfield, Marie Forleo, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mari Smith, Michael Hyatt and Darren Rowse all use WordPress.

In fact, the more you read, the more it seems like you’d be a total idiot to go with anything else.

There are hundreds of professional themes to make your blog look gorgeous. Thousands of clever plugins to add a myriad of different features. And countless experienced WordPress professionals who can help if you get out of your depth.

So you’re certain it’s a WordPress blog you need, but the big question is:

Where do you get one?

The Seductive Lure of WordPress.com

The easiest way to get your own WordPress blog – hands down – is to create one for free over at WordPress.com.

And at first it seems like a no-brainer.

Firstly, you’re getting WordPress from the guys who originally created WordPress. That’s got to be good, right?

Secondly, they handle all behind-the-scenes technical stuff you really don’t want to have to worry about yourself. Which is a huge relief.

And thirdly, it’s free! (Did I mention it’s free?)

But while it’s an undeniably sweet deal for some, shall we say, less serious bloggers, there are a few things you should know before choosing to host your universe-denting blog at WordPress.com.

7 Reasons to Think Twice before Choosing WordPress.com

Credit where credit’s due, WordPress.com is an awesome option for some people. It’s great for personal blogs, community websites and low-key blogging experiments.

But the reality is that to provide a reliable service – for free – to a wide range of people with different needs and skill levels, you have to lock things down a bit. You just can’t offer fully fledged WordPress to everyone.

So the flavor of WordPress you get at WordPress.com is kind of like a dumbed down WordPress. It’s the blogging equivalent of those safety scissors with rounded tips they give you as a kid. They don’t cut so great, but at least no-one’s getting hurt.

And if you want to “un-dumb” it, there’s often a cost attached. But hey, the guys at WordPress.com need to put food on the table like everyone else.

So that you can start your blogging journey with eyes wide open, here are some surprising restrictions you should know about WordPress.com before hosting your blog there.

1. You’re forced to choose from a limited selection of “approved” themes

If you’ve already been thinking about the design of your blog, you’ve probably been salivating at the huge selection of professionally designed WordPress themes available to you.

Gorgeous themes from trusted sources like:

If you had your heart set on one of these, too bad so sad. You’re out of luck.

WordPress.com doesn’t support the vast majority of themes available from 3rd-party developers. So you’re just going to have to get the closest match possible from the much smaller selection of themes that WordPress.com does offer.

And while they do allow a few minor modifications to their themes such as changing the background color, the header or the navigation menu, that’s about it. So your blog will end up looking like a lot of other blogs out there.

Of course, you could take advantage of the premium theme upgrades (starting at $50) that give you a more sophisticated design, but you still have the same customization restrictions as with their free themes.

Unless you want to spend another $30/year, because WordPress.com offers a Custom Design Upgrade that allows you to modify your fonts and use your own CSS code for additional styling.


2. You can’t change your site’s layout

As you grow and evolve, you’ll want your blog to evolve, too.

Problem is, WordPress.com probably won’t let you.

For example, let’s say you go with free hosting over at WordPress.com and you like everything about the theme you picked, except you’re just not crazy about the placement of your social media icons. Perhaps you want them to appear in your header rather than in the sidebar.

If that’s the case, you’re kind of stuck because WordPress.com does not allow you to alter the underlying structure of any of their themes.

Or maybe you’ve seen a neat little countdown timer on another website that would be perfect for your sales page. The only problem is that many custom widgets like this use JavaScript, and JavaScript is not permitted on your theme at WordPress.com.

Fun timers are not the only place Javascript is useful.

Email opt-in forms from services like Aweber and Mailchimp contain JavaScript. Therefore, you can’t use them on your blog at WordPress.com. Instead, you have to link to an off-site email opt-in form, which might cause your opt-in rates to plummet.


3. You’ll have to pay for various “optional” extras

Although WordPress.com allows you to get started for free, it’s a profit-making business and deep down they’re hoping that you’ll soon outgrow the limited functionality of your free blog and upgrade to some of their paid features.

I’ve already mentioned premium themes but here are some other paid upgrades that WordPress.com offers:

  • Want a custom domain name?
    For $13/year you can host your site on your own domain instead of a subdomain of WordPress.com, i.e. yourblog.com, instead of yourblog.wordpress.com
  • Need a little more space for your blog?
    Starting at $20/year you can add more space to the 3GB you get for free. 3GB might sound like a lot but you’re only allowed to upload images, documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.You may not upload audio files without the space upgrade. (So that’s your podcast out of the window.)http://en.support.wordpress.com/space-upgrade
  • Want to host videos directly on your blog?
    That’ll cost you an extra $60/year and you can’t upload any video files without the upgrade – even if you’ve paid for extra space. Without the upgrade you’ll need to host your videos on an external site like YouTube or Vimeo, then embed those videos onto your blog. Which might be fine, but it doesn’t look at professional as using your own video player.http://en.support.wordpress.com/videopress
  • Don’t want third-party adverts appearing on your blog?
    WordPress.com reserves the right to display ads on your site. But for an extra $30/year you can get the “No Ads” option and keep your blog ad-free.However even with this upgrade, you still have to keep copyright links such as “Blog at WordPress.com” on your site.  Per WordPress.com, “All WordPress.com bloggers are required to maintain the credit links, even our VIP bloggers. http://en.support.wordpress.com/custom-design

For the serious blogger, many of these paid upgrades are not optional at all. You really do need them if you’re to avoid looking like a total amateur.


4. You’ll have to manage your own domain email

Web-based email providers like Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail are fine for your personal emails. But for your professional email communication, you’re going to want a company-branded email like “yourname@yourdomain.com” to show people you’re serious.

Unfortunately WordPress.com does not offer email hosting of any kind. Therefore, you’re going to have to set up your email hosting outside of WordPress.com.

To give you an example of pricing, GoDaddy offers email hosting for $7/month for up to 10 emails. If you need more email accounts, additional fees will apply.

If you choose to host your blog somewhere other than WordPress.com, email hosting usually comes as part of your web hosting package. There’s no additional charge. You can set up an unlimited number of company-branded emails, quickly and easily, from within your web hosting dashboard. It’s one-stop shopping.


5. You can’t earn money from other people’s products

If you plan on making money by placing affiliate links on your blog, you’re out of luck because WordPress.com doesn’t allow them.

As stated on WordPress.com, the exception would be if you “write an original book, movie or game review and link to Amazon” or “link to your own products on ETSY”. But that’s pretty restrictive.

If WordPress.com catches you placing affiliate links on your blog, even if you think you’re playing by the rules, your penalty could be any of following: (a) they could disable your links, (b) they could issue a warning advising you to remove the affiliate links or (c) they could just suspend your account and shut you down.


6. You’re banned from using custom plugins

A plugin is a software module that you “plug in” to WordPress to give your blog added functionality. No knowledge of coding is necessary to install and use a plugin – it simply takes a few clicks.

You can get plugins to help you with SEO, plugins for backing up your blog, plugins for creating custom forms, plugins to improve the speed of your blog, plugins to create membership sites. The list is huge. Right now the number of WordPress plugins available from independent developers is 27,000 and counting.

But for security reasons you’re not allowed to use any third-party plugins when you host your site for free on WordPress.com.

The ability to use custom plugins for added functionality is one of the great strengths of WordPress. Without custom plugins, you’ve essentially crippled WordPress.

You do have the option, however, of upgrading to WordPress.com’s VIP hosting package which starts at a mere $3,750 / month (not a misprint). Then they’ll be happy to let you use plugins. Which is good of them.


7. Your blog could be shut down at any time

This one trumps all the others.

If you host your blog at WordPress.com, their Terms Of Service (TOS) very clearly states that WordPress.com “may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”

You might think you run a squeaky-clean blog and that you’d never come close to a TOS violation, but do you really want to give someone that much control over your livelihood?

Mistakes get made. Accidents happen. And your blog could get shut down as a result. Fair or not, it’s part of the agreement when you host your site on WordPress.com.

For most serious bloggers, the possibility of an unintentional TOS violation (however remote) and sudden shutdown is reason enough to look elsewhere. Why leave the door open even just a crack? It’s just not worth it.


The Smart Alternative for Bloggers Who Really Mean Business

While WordPress.com certainly makes is easy to get a WordPress blog up and running, you have to ask yourself if you can put up with the compromises that come along with it.

It’s like having a brand new Ferrari and being told you can only drive it 30 mph. And only on weekends.

But fortunately there is an alternative: self-hosted WordPress.

And it’s not as scary as some people would have you believe.

What the Hell is “Self-hosted” WordPress?

Self-hosted WordPress simply means that you install the free WordPress software on your own web server rather than having WordPress.com host your blog for you.

And when I say your own web server, I’m not talking about buying some supercomputer and hiding it away in your garage. I’m just talking about buying hosting services from one of the hundreds of reputable web hosts out there.

So don’t freak out if you’re not a techie. It’s really not that hard to self-host.

There are tons of tutorials on the web to assist you with self-hosting your blog. And if you ever encounter an obstacle, there are plenty of affordable WordPress specialists available online.

To self-host your blog, all you need to do is get a hosting account from a company like SiteGround (affiliate link — 60% off all WordPress plans), which costs less than $10/month.

And because WordPress is so popular, many hosts have pre-configured “1-click installs” that enable you to install WordPress on your web server in less than 10 minutes.

What Kind Of Blogger Do You Want To Be?

It all boils down to this.

What you want to do with your blog and what kind of blogger you want to be?

If all you want is a place to express yourself on the web, then a free blog at WordPress.com is probably just fine.

But if your goal is to be taken seriously as a blogger and eventually make money with your blog, you’re going to need free rein to do whatever you want with your blog. That means having the ability to change the page layout, add custom plugins or install email opt-in boxes on your site.

And the only way you’re going to accomplish these things is by self-hosting your blog.

But don’t just take my word for it.

WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg, sums up the difference between WordPress.com and a self-hosted WordPress blog like this:

Hosting your site on WordPress.com is like renting an apartment, as opposed to a self-hosted WordPress blog that you own outright.

With a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can do anything you want. Knock down walls. Redecorate it any way you want. But you’re responsible for the upkeep as well. (i.e. security update, backups, feature upgrades)

Whereas with WordPress.com everything is done for you. But you lose some control. Can’t have a yard. Can’t tear down walls, etc.


So, do you want to rent your blog, or own it?

The Bottom Line

If you’re serious about blogging you’re going to need to have the freedom and control to do whatever you want, however you want, without worrying that you’ll suddenly hit a brick wall or that the rug might someday be arbitrarily pulled out from beneath you.

And the only way to ensure that is to self-host your WordPress blog.

So that’s another decision made.

Time to get on with making that dent in the universe.

About the Author:Mark Brinker is the CEO of Mark Brinker & Associates, a web development firm helping small business owners project a stylish & modern image online by redesigning stale, outdated websites. Download your free copy of his book, The Modern Website Makeover 


  1. Jesse
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:26:36

    When I first started with my blog (about 3 years about), I stumbled onto wordpress.com and figured this was it… thank goodness I did not set my eye on it or I’ve would’ve been disappointed.

    Your reasons are taken from a different angle, great points.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:50:32

      Hi Jesse. Yes, the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org can be very confusing … especially when you’re first starting out. Each “form” of WordPress has it’s purpose. 🙂

      • Jotpreet Singh
        Nov 19, 2013 @ 11:57:59

        This can’t be true. Big wigs, like Techcrunch etc. host on wordpress.com. And, it’s quite awesome anyways.
        Although I use it now, I wish it’ll become awesome enough that I’ll swhitch to self hosted wordpress or wordpress.com VIP. Anyways, nice to know other’s thoughts. 🙂

      • Mark Brinker
        Nov 19, 2013 @ 12:05:43

        Hi Jotpreet. It’s true that Techcrunch uses WordPress.com, but they’re using the WordPress.com VIP Hosting option. You can confirm this in the footer of the Techcrunch site. If you follow that VIP hosting link in the footer, you’ll be taken to the WP.com pricing page. I think you’ll agree that the price for VIP hosting is going to be out of the range of most bloggers. 🙂

  2. John Yeoman
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:28:19

    I absolutely agree, Mark. When I put up my fiction writing course three years ago I had a choice between WordPress and Yola. Yola was, at that time, just three steps up from Blogger but its support was awesome. To step up from a free Yola platform to a fee-paid one, and get rid of the ads, cost very little.

    I’ve never regretted going with Yola because, as I pay for the service, I get great support. True, its themes and plug-ins are somewhat limited but you can tweak the HTML to do anything you like.

    Problem is, Yola has just today succumbed to Geek-itis, the compulsion – much akin to Microsoft’s – to fix what isn’t broke. It has introduced a new text editing bar. Which doesn’t work. As a fee-paying customer, I’ve complained – and Yola has listened. The moral is: be prepared to pay for a blogging platform. Because when it goes wrong (and it will), somebody just might listen…

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:55:53

      Excellent point, John. In most cases, “free” is not sustainable. Besides, in the end, you usually get what you pay for.

    • Leigh
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 12:30:59

      Do they host on the WP.com site or they have blogs with WP backends? There is a big, big difference.

  3. Justin Kelly McClure (@JustinMcClure)
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:32:01

    I love wordpress, so ‘Boooo’ to this article. I know the ‘7 ways wordpress…’ was for SEO purposes but I”m a proud customer of WordPress and love my site.

    • Jon Morrow
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:34:47

      The question is… will you love it later?

      • Justin Kelly McClure (@JustinMcClure)
        Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:51:28

        I dunno, but why are we talking about ‘later’…as prescient as we all think we are, we simply are projecting. It works fine for ‘now’…which is the only time there is.

      • Cecil Barr
        Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:23:38

        Here’s the part that, more than anything, caught my attention in this article:

        “But you’re responsible for the upkeep as well (i.e. security updates, backups, feature upgrades).”

        It confirms the pitfalls a friend (an IT professional who does work for a leading bank) warned of when he advised me to stick with free wordpress.com.

        With free wordpress.com, I can blog without the distraction of upkeep issues (which my friend warns can be time-consuming and, in some cases, expensive).

        And with reference to: “7. Your blog could be shut down at any time (This one trumps all the others”). My IT friend tells me that a self-hosted blog can also be shut down arbitrarily.

        On principal, I prefer to pay something at least for the privilege of blogging. So right now I have an own domain (the premium version will be an option should I feel that my (new) blog has long-term prospects).

        Of course, self-hosting is the way to go if you intend to monetize your blog. I don’t.

    • Adam Connell
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 13:19:11

      The key point for me is that with WordPress.com, you don’t own the blog.

      If I’m going to spend countless hours of my life blogging, and well, I do.

      I’d want to actually own my blog.

      And sure a self hosted blog can be shut down but providing you don’t – steal content, avoid paying your hosting bills, use the server to send out masses of spam, talk about naughty things that involve breaking the law and a few other reasonable things then you should be ok.

  4. Sumitha
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:36:06

    Very well explained, Mark! One of the best articles I’ve seen that explains the differences between a wordpress.com site and self-hosted wordpress site. I used to have an old blog on Blogger (similar to wordpress.com) a while back, but I felt like I was blogging perpetually with one hand tied behind my back… I wish I had an article like this to guide me back then. Needless to say, for my new site, I’m going with self-hosted wordpress!

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:58:42

      Hi Justin. As mentioned in the post, there’s a time and a place for a free WP blog vs a self-hosted blog. All just depends on what the ultimate goal of a person’s blog is. For some, WordPress.com might be just fine.

    • Jesse
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:59:23

      What is the site’s main purpose, Justin? And what capabilities do you feel you reach with your current platform, I prefer knowing I have that flexibility of venturing out to bigger streams of opportunity then just locking myself up to something less feasible.

      “It’s easier to maneuver a sailboat right out gate, rather than a cruise ship in the middle of the sea” – Jesse

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:03:57

      Thanks so much, Sumitha! Yes, with self-hosted WP, the sky’s the limit and you can do whatever you want with your blog. And the technical aspect of setting up and managing your blog really isn’t that bad. If you ever get stuck there’s always tons of resources and people that can help you. That’s one of the advantages in working with a platform that’s as widely accepted as WordPress.

    • Leigh
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 12:37:59

      That may be a key difference. If you want to use your blog as a business in anyway, you want control and ownership.

      As for maintaining the WP backend. I have two websites. One is my business site. The other an NGO I run. I learned how to handle the basics on my own. There is also a huge repository of information online to study, learn and fix.

      They key, though, is I’ve hires someone to do the maintenance. That mainly means regular updates, keeping a backup of my site in case there is a problem and helping me with plugins and little things I don’t know how to do yet and don’t have time to learn right now.

      It costs me 50USD/month. Some services are a bit more and is totally worth it.

  5. Rachelle Strauss
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:37:16

    HA! love the analogy of the safety scissors.

    I’m pretty biased. I only build websites on the wordpress platform for my clients.

    My clients want something that looks bespoke and unique and heck they want to choose where those social media icons go. They also want the security of their site being hosted somewhere that puts security as its number 1 priority.

    WordPress is used by top companies such as eBay, Forbes and Sony – it’s good to remain in prosperous company. And I liken WordPress in exactly the same way as you; I tell people WordPress is a Ferrari, but self hosted means you get the engine to move your site forward 😉

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:12:18

      Hi Rachelle. As soon as I saw the word “bespoke” I knew you were from the UK. That’s such a great word. 🙂

      You’re right about customization of even little things like where social media icons go. With WP.com you can’t move them around, but when you host your own WP blog you can do as you wish. For some people, that granular level of customization is a big deal, for others it’s not. Everyone’s different.

  6. Lisa @ How To Be Supermom
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:51:52

    This is great and so true. One thing I’d add: if you’re intimidated by the techie side of self-hosting, you’re better off starting with WordPress.com and upgrading to self-hosted when you get the hang of it than starting anywhere else. I tried to start on self-hosted, got overwhelmed, and started with Weebly instead. BIIIIIG mistake — switching later meant I had to repost every single blog post by hand. Switching from free WordPress to self-hosted WordPress is easy — just a few clicks. And you’ll already know how to use your professional WordPress site if you’ve been using the free version. So when people want to blog seriously but just can’t fathom hosting yet, I tell them to start free and transfer later.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:16:48

      Totally valid point, Lisa, about starting out with WP.com, then graduating to self-hosted WP when you feel ready. Thanks!

    • Steve Maurer
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 21:40:44

      Here’s another consideration when choosing a webhosting company. Find out how familiar they are with WordPress. BlueHost, for example, is listed by WordPress as a preferred WordPress host. They know the platform and will work with you to set it up.

      I don’t find managing that difficult. I manage or admin three self-hosted sites and two free sites. A lot of the duties can run on autopilot, if you get the right plugins.

  7. Rhonda Kronyk
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:57:40

    I’m a lucky blogger. Just as I decided to start a blog as part of my freelance editing business, my son got his server up and running. That means he hosts my blog for me. Tech service is always available!!

    I used a premium WordPress theme that I really like, and have continually tweaked it since then. I’m learning HTML5 and CSS3 so that I can continue to customize it as I see fit. If I had gone with a free WP site, I wouldn’t be happy with it – I like to have the control to do what I want with my site. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it, so hate the idea that someone else can nix my ideas at any time.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:22:51

      Hi Rhonda. Yes, it’s a nice bonus to have techies in the family, isn’t it. 🙂 You can really do some cool things with CSS. When I come across an interesting effect on a website, I just have to explore with Firebug to see how they did it. Yes, I’m a nerd like that.

  8. Joseph Robinson
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 11:58:03

    Mark, Nicely done.

    Ditto on the safety scissors and Ferrari analogies.

    And yes, now that I have the self-hosted wordpress up and running “when does the money come out?”


    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:06:43

      We’re working on a plugin for that right now. The money keeps getting jammed in the DVD drive, though. Will let you know when we have that worked out. 🙂

  9. Beth Havey
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:04:18

    I switched. I’m glad I did. Great post and thanks, Beth Havey

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:26:21

      Thanks, Beth. I’m curious what aspect(s) motivated you to switch of to self-hosted WP.

  10. Jared Kimball
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:29:57

    I’ve always thought WordPress.com was for people who wanted a quick way to setup a blog and didn’t have any interest in true customization. Nowadays I can see more and more people getting lured by WordPress.com’s charm. It’s easier than ever to setup and start, but in the long run I can’t stand the thought of someone else having the power to shutdown my site whenever THEY feel like it.

    That happened to a friend of mine. He setup a WordPress.com site and like 95% of the people out there didn’t read the Terms of Service very well and decided to post some affiliate links. Next thing he knew his site was shut down. He had no power to get it back up. He emailed them twice and finally got a reply after 3 weeks. He apologized and they still didn’t allow him to restore his site. He was totally bummed out because he had just started to get regular commenters and some seo traffic…all of it gone in an instant. A year’s worth of effort and hard work gone in the blink of an eye.

    Great post Mark.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:35:37

      Thanks, Jared. And thanks for sharing your story about your friend that got shut down. Poof. Gone in a flash. That really stinks. But there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s why, for me, point # 7 in my post trumps all the others.

    • Steve Maurer
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 21:44:50

      To prevent that from happening, install and activate the Akismet plugin (comes preinstalled on every WordPress self-hosted option). It has various options to filter out spam messages. Non-spam or approved commenters can get comments posted immediately. Spammy stuff gets caught and must be moderated before it’s posted. You get an email letting you know there are posts that need moderated.

  11. Beat Schindler
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:33:57

    It’s only after reading two thirds of your post that one realizes it’s not a rant against WordPress, but an informative post about an easy to correct mistake you might have made when starting out as a serious blogger (whatever that is). What it shows, it’s a fine line between a great headline and a sensationalist one – at least that’s the impression left here.

    Serious or not, if in your own mind the best-known reason you suck as a successful blogger is a wrong choice of blogging platform when you started out – celebrate! … because you have the best problem in the word. I hear what you’re saying and think the arguments are sound and convincing, still, in the overall context of blogging success it’s kinda like saying if only I had a different racket, I’d win Wimbledon.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:41:31

      You’re right. Not intended to be a rant at all. Just want to make people aware of the differences between WP.com and self-hosted WP. And yes, you’re correct, there’s more to success than where you host your blog. But if you’re planning to do certain things with your blog, WP.com could be problematic.

  12. Lori Tian Sailiata
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:48:44

    I tell my friends and clients to start out with a WordPress.com website set to private. They can treat it as a scrapbook before they go live. Most folks starting out don’t know if they can or want to do this thing long haul so it does give them a chance to play around with it at no cost.

    I also tell them that they should go self-hosted when they are ready for their launch. Hands down. No comparison. You need to be self-hosted. But how to choose a host?

    I was all prepared to take my blogs/websites out of mothballs and set up for reals again. I had a great experience with BlueHost before an accident sidelined me. But I had also heard good things about HostGator. Unfortunately, I had a nightmare experience with them as they are changing their way of doing business to give the customer service folks little leverage to actually help out. It may be growing pains, but I’m still waiting for my refund a month later. I can’t recommend them at all.

    So my current decision is whether to go back to the tried and true of BlueHost or level up to the big boys with Synthesis.

    Note: our original site at BlueHost is still active, but our relationship with the site’s official owner is not. Since BlueHost requires we create another site and doesn’t allow transfer of ownership, we went shopping.

    We have about 7 domains through GoDaddy! I’ve got as many “dark” sites parked at WordPress.com gathering content. Only one is mapped with the $13 option listed above. It is also under a complete rehaul. I hope to start the relaunch process early in 2014.

    One thing for sure. It’s StudioPress all of the way. I am a Copyblogger fangirl. Just don’t know if I’m ready for the big girl panties of Synthesis just yet.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:09:25

      Hi Lori. For the past 10 years I’ve used BlueHost and HostGator exclusively, and I’ve been very happy with both–in terms of reliability and customer service. Sorry to hear about your experience with HostGator. Knock on wood, I’ve had no problems with them. But as you say, they might be going through some growing pains. And you’re right about StudioPress. Great themes. Very well-coded. Good support, too. Studio Press and WooThemes are my top two places for themes at the moment, but I’ve heard good things about Elegant Themes, too. Thanks for your comment, Lori.

  13. Aaron Payne
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 13:06:40

    Some people mentioned that wordpress.com is a good way to start out if you are not techie enough to setup your own wordpress elsewhere. There are companies that sell hosting that will actually set wordpress up for you. This is what I would recommend over going with the wordpress.com option.

    • Lori Tian Sailiata
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 13:10:45

      It’s not just about being a technophobe. Most people don’t know what their needs are. Having a “dark site” where the bots don’t crawl is a great option for learners and pros alike. It gives one room to experiment. It also helps for communication purposes when and if they do go for a pro to help design. They have added information about their own needs. And content ready-made to plug in.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:19:17

      Aaron, you bring up a subtle, but important point. Don’t let technology get in your way. If you can’t figure it out, just pay someone to do it for you! There are tons of very qualified and very affordable technicians (WP and otherwise) you can find on the Internet. A lot of us, myself included, we feel like we have to know every aspect of our blog/website. And I still have to remind myself to not take 8 hours to figure something out, when instead I can pay someone and they’ll be done in 45 min. Thanks for bringing up this point, Aaron.

    • Aaron Payne
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:21:31

      I do confess that I am a graphic designer and build websites for a living, although my mentioning of easy setup of wordpress is a solution that *I think* most people can do without hiring someone like me at least to just get something up and running.

      Godaddy has a “one click” wordpress setup. Purchase your url and hosting through them and it’s pretty simple. Godaddy is not the only company that does this either, there are others that I’ve noticed as well.

      As for having a “dark site”. You can do that with a normal wordpress.org install as well. It’s just a radio button within the options.

      I know that it’s relative in just how easy it is to setup a wordpress.org site. But with hosting companies giving you “one click” solutions…

      If you really think you are going to keep up your blog and eventually will need to move it to a self hosted WP site, I would say to go with the “one click” solution now so you don’t have to move your site later… Also, moving your site later will probably screw up your SEO and you might loose followers of your blog.

      Anyways, just my humble opinion 🙂

  14. Danyelle C. Overbo
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 13:18:23

    This would have been helpful before I went ahead and paid for a domain name with wordpress for a separate blog to go along with my wordpress website. Next post should explain how to switch over from wordpress with all the work I’ve put into it intact. 🙁

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:26:27

      Hi Danyelle. Yeah, I know what you mean about “why didn’t someone tell me about this”. That’s kind of the genesis behind this post–trying to make people aware of the pros and cons of each option.

  15. Jana Jopson
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 13:27:21

    Hi Mark, This post is a resource I’ll be referring people to the next time someone asks me the difference between the two WordPress options. I started out on WordPress.com because it was free and simple. As Lori noted, it’s a good place to try out the dashboard and learn what WordPress is like. I knew at the time that I might well have to graduate to WordPress.org and a year later that became a necessity. Looking back, even though it took much longer than I anticipated to transfer and update my site when I switched, I’m still glad I started with the free/simple version to get my feet wet. For anyone with family geek help or who is fairly tech-savvy themselves, I would suggest starting with the fancy version, especially if your blog is part of your business. Thank you.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:36:58

      Hi Jana. Yes, next time someone asks about the difference between WP.com and WP.org, just send ’em the link to this post. 🙂 It’s a pretty thorough analysis. Also, I’ve done some site conversions, too, and it’s usually not quite as easy as some make it out to be. There’s still quite of bit of work involved.

    • Pam Hirsch
      Nov 28, 2013 @ 16:25:46

      I agree with you, Jana, Mark’s post is the one I’ll be linking to as well. So thanks, Mark! I know a number of IIN (Institute of Integrative Nutrition) graduates who use IIN’s hosted website for their own site. It’s like WordPress.com but even more restrictive in that they have a site layout they can “customize” but their ability to do much more than change colors, etc. is next to nothing. They hear about WordPress.com and switch, without really understanding that they will continue to have limitations in what they can do.

  16. Richard Alan
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 13:51:28

    Hi Mark, Your post could not have come at a better time. I’m doing a relaunch and have spent many hours updating my WordPress.com blog. It has served me well in the past, however I want to add Mailchimp and other widgets that require Java script. I’ve been frustrated by the appearance and unprofessional look of several widgets, but had no idea what to do about it. Now I know! I will be switching to WordPress.org later today. Thank you for valuable guidence.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:42:22

      I like what you said, Richard, about WP.com, that it served you well in the past. There’s nothing wrong with WP.com, just as long as you understand it’s limitations. If you’re going to have a blog for the long-term, you’re almost always going to want to expand, which means that you’ll probably need to move to a self-hosted WP blog. Sounds like that’s what you experienced.

  17. Beat Schindler
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:08:21

    We busily agree :-] In fact, had I read Jon’s cover email twice, I would have known right away and would have commented differently.

    Either way, am not advocating any form of free hosting – wouldn’t recommend wp.com even to my worst enemies [if I had too many :-]. I was lucky enough to have a mentor early on, so went for self-hosted from the start. Couldn’t be happier. For a non-techie such as I the choice of platform and hosting service is only half the equation, I also need ongoing maintenance at an affordable price – even more challenging to locate (am glad I did).

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:45:35

      That Jon Morrow, he’s a pretty good copywriter, isn’t he. 🙂

  18. Michelle
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:15:30

    Hi Mark! Great piece. If I were to switch from wordpress.com to another blog, would I lose all the content I already have created?

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:55:10

      Hi Michelle. You should be able to transfer all of your content to a new blog, if that is what you want to do. But before you would do anything, backup, backup, backup your existing blog just to be on the safe side. 🙂

      • Michelle
        Nov 18, 2013 @ 14:58:17

        Thanks! I’m definitely considering it. Getting so bored with my format.

  19. Kumar Gauraw
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:06:06

    Hi Mark,
    Excellent points and these are some of the reasons serious bloggers don’t stay with WordPress.com. It is pretty restrictive and not good for people at all who are doing it to make money using affiliate marketing (which most bloggers do).

    Oh well, no Adsense as well. So it’s not a place where I want to be.
    Thank you for sharing.


    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:41:19

      Thanks, Kumar. Yes, it all depends on what you want to do with your blog. If your goal is to make money with your blog, especially if you want to use affiliate links to promote other products/services, then WP.com is not the best choice. Instead, you’ll want to go with a self-hosted WP blog.

  20. Sylvia
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:40:31

    My experience with both versions of WordPress:
    Two years ago I threw up my freelance writer’s site on the free version. Took all of three hours to write and didn’t bother with seo. Inside of three weeks it went to number #1 for a long tail keyword and has stayed there ever since. I barely ever look at it or update it. And I never promote it.

    I got side tracked from the freelance work with my business plan tutorial blog on the hosted WP. That site is six months old and is not yet ranking well even though it is much more robust, content rich and optimized. I chose a very competitive main keyword and did not niche down so I know that has a lot to do with the ranking issue.

    But I wonder if the free domainname.wordpress.com , because it has the .wordpress.com in the domain address has anything to do with the #1 ranking.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:58:00

      Interesting points, Sylvia. It’s entirely possible that having a subdomain on wordpress.com does help with the search engine rankings, then again it might be a total fluke. Hard to say without more data to look at.

      With regard to rankings, I’ve experienced something similar to you. I have a site that’s over 10 years old, and I don’t do squat with it, and it still gets traffic every day. And I have newer sites that are much more developed that are harder to get ranked. Go figure. 🙂 I think this merely a by-product of the major search algorithm changes of the past 2-3 years. You can still get ranked, it’s just a little more challenging than it used to be.

  21. Winifred Reilly
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 15:59:22

    Oh the things we learn in hindsight.

    I stared my blog on wordpress.com in July, knowing zero about what I might later need.

    I’ve come very close to migrating to WordPress.org and have gotten cold feet simply because it’s an unknown entity for me. What does it mean “a little more technical savvy?” Or “more work for you but it’s worth it?”

    Can’t exactly test drive it before buying.
    And I’ve heard horror stories like “I lost 30% of my followers.” To a new blogger, that’s dismal. Better now than when I have followers in the thousands and not the hundreds. (Currently taking Jon’s guest blogging class – good things ahead!)

    Great article to follow this: what it actually takes to self-host. Will I need a technical person on call? Will it take 2 hours a week, 5hours a week or 20 minutes a week beyond what I’m doing now?

    Headline: How To Overcome Worst Case Scenario Thinking About Hosting Your Own Site.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 16:23:17

      Hi Winifred. If you know how to navigate your way around the WP.com dashboard, a self-hosted WP blog is going to look and feel pretty much the same.

      Examples of “a little more technical savvy” would be knowing how to install and configure custom plugins, or perhaps knowing how to alter and style your theme to your liking. It does take a little practice to learn how to do these things, but they’re very do-able in time.

      You mention the horror story of “losing 30% of followers”. If you’re using an email management service like Aweber, for example, moving your blog to a new location should have no effect on your email subscribers … which is another reason to go with a self-hosted WP blog. In other words, an email management service allows your subscribers to *not* be dependent on where you host your blog. Hope that makes sense.

    • Laura - Behind the Hedgerow
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 04:17:32

      Love your idea for a headline, Winifred. I think I’m at about the same stage as you – wanting to switch to .org but having some reservations. Go on, Mark, write that article! 🙂

  22. Kevin Martin
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 17:20:43

    I remember when I used to host my blog at WordPress.com and I also remember when I used to use self-hosted WordPress and Typepad. I now only use Squarespace because it is a CMS that perfectly fits my needs, especially since it’s affordable, cloud hosted, and Squarespace allows those of us who are not web developers to create extremely professional websites and blogs with no coding knowledge whatsoever. I think most major blogging platforms enable bloggers to appear professionally online, except for WordPress.com, Tumblr (which is an absurd choice for someone who blogs professionally), and other limited platforms like those.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 17:51:52

      Hi Kevin. You hit the nail on the head. It’s whatever fits your needs. If there’s something else that meets your needs better than WP, then that’s what you should use. 🙂

    • Katharine
      Dec 18, 2013 @ 11:20:40

      Yes, Mark. Do.

  23. Liz
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 17:27:12

    I think you understate the ‘little more technical savvy’ needed for self-hosting, particularly when it comes to security. It’s all great when it’s going swimmingly, but when things go wrong it can be a real headache. Getting a self-hosted site hacked can change your opinion about how easy it is quite quickly. I agree that you have more scope with a self-hosted site, but having ‘all behind-the-scenes technical stuff’ taken care off is worth a lot. Hosting can be variable and sometimes troublesome too. Also, it’s quite possible with a bit of css to make your wordpress.com website look entirely different from anyone else’s using the premium upgrade. Horses for courses and all that, but I’m a fan of wordpress.com.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 17:56:44

      Hi Liz. Your points are all valid. It’s like the rent vs. own analogy at the end of my post. There are pros and cons to each, and trade-offs you’ll have to accept whichever way you go with WordPress.

  24. Lisa Kneller
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 17:55:50

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. I was just telling my daughter last night that her husband’s blog needs to be moved to .org!

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 18:03:20

      What are the reasons, Lisa? Just curious. 🙂

  25. David Sadler-Smith
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 02:14:33

    I’ve had a wordpress.com hosted blog for sometime and yes I get frustrated with all of the above. I’ve just installed a self hosted version and have been experimenting with the additional flexibility which I like a lot.

    I now need to migrate my wordpress.com to the new service. I know there’s lots of how to guides out there but I’d welcome any tips or particularly good resources to make this as pain free as possible… feeling very nervous and hoping for a boring non-eventful experience… if not I guess I’ll have some content for a post.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 08:31:36

      Hi David. If it were me, I’d just pay a competent person a reasonable fee to do this for me. WordPress.com actually offers this service. It’s called Guided Transfer: http://en.support.wordpress.com/guided-transfer/ For a one-time fee of $129, one of their software engineers will migrate your blog for you, and answers any questions you might have. This is what I would do.

    • Steve Maurer
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 21:33:57

      Here’s a quick tip for exporting your WordPress.com site to your WordPress.org self-hosted site.

      First, log into your WordPress.com dashboard. Go down the menu until you get to “tools” and expand that menu. Find the “Export” option. You want to export your site as an XML file. Sounds nerdy, but it’s not hard.

      Save that file to your computer, then go to your WordPress self-hosted site. Here you will do the opposite – import. You’ll import your xml file into your new site.

      The xml file, which the site generates, will contain your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, terms, navigation menus and custom posts. (choose the All Content option).

      You may have to do a little tweaking to match your new theme, but it’s really not that hard.

      Here’s another suggestion: export your site to the xml file on your computer on a regular basis. Should your site crash and burn, you can reinstall your WordPress files and then import your site content back into the new installation.
      ——– From the backend (dashboard) of my computer site————-

      When you click the button below WordPress will create an XML file for you to save to your computer.

      This format, which we call WordPress eXtended RSS or WXR, will contain your posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags.

      Once you’ve saved the download file, you can use the Import function in another WordPress installation to import the content from this site.

      Hope this helps,
      Steve Maurer

  26. Laura - Behind the Hedgerow
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 04:12:06

    When I started my blog almost a year ago I really agonised over choosing wordpress.com or wordpress.org. I went with the former due to my lack of technical skills and for the security of keeping spam under control and doing back ups – as I was just starting out I didn’t trust myself with every single aspect. Yes, I had to compromise on style and design…not easy to do. Now, a year on, with lots of exposure and enquiries about sponsorship, I feel ready to make the leap to wordpress.org.

    In short, I think wordpress.com is a great place for new bloggers to find their feet; a perfect starting point. I’m just hoping that leap to .org is as straightforward as you say!

    Thanks for all the tips. x

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 08:45:04

      Hi Laura. Yes, it might feel a little scary at first about hosting your own WordPress blog, but it’s really not that bad. Think back to when you moved out of your parent’s home and went out on your own. You were probably a little nervous back then, too, but you did it. And if challenges came up, you figured out a way to solve them. If you feel that you’re ready to make the leap to a self-hosted WP blog but you’re a little nervous, you can take comfort in knowing that millions of others have gone before you. Also, please check out the previous comment above about Guided Transfer.

  27. Leigh
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 08:53:44

    Exactly. Be the owner of your own domain! 🙂 Figuratively and literally.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 09:18:14

      I agree with you, Leigh. There’s something magical that happens within yourself when you plant your flag and declare ownership. 🙂

  28. Steve Maurer
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 19:52:01

    I started out with a WordPress.com site, actually two, to get the feel of the platform. One was a gardening site and the other a computer site, migrated from an old html host.

    But when I started copywriting, I went with a self-hosted site. I’m using Fatcow for a host, but considering a move to BlueHost.

    A good thing about many of these site (but not all) is that you can host more than one site in your account. That means you can add a special site for an eBook or other offer and all it will cost is the domain name registration.

    One thing to watch as you grow: these discounted hosts are normally shared hosting. That means the server is divided into smaller partitions, up to 100, and multiple sites and accounts share the same server.

    The next level is dividing the server into 4 chunks, a virtual server option. Finally, when you get big enough you will want to upgrade to a dedicated server format.

    Great article, Mark! I totally agree with all your points.

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 19, 2013 @ 20:18:49

      Thanks, Steve! Also, thanks for mentioning that you can usually host more than one site on your account when you’re self-hosting. I forgot about that. 🙂

      • Steve Maurer
        Nov 19, 2013 @ 22:18:35

        You’re welcome, Mark.

        Here’s another topic I don’t think I’ve seen in the comments. Let’s say you’re ready to move to a WordPress self-hosted site. But your free site gets tons of traffic, scads of followers and comments galore.

        But, if you move your site . . . all that is gone, right? Nope, not necessarily. The free site has a upgrade to redirect your old site to your new site ($13 per year per site, as of this writing).

        Now, anyone that clicks a link to the old site will be redirected to the new site. If you already have a self-hosted site, this can usually be done for free with your hosting account.

        Example in action:
        I had a domain that was maurer-content-and-copywriting.com (don’t try it; it’s inactive). I still get typer’s cramp just thinking about it. So I got a new domain: http://www.maurer-copywriting.com . Much better and had my name and business service. But I had to rebuild the entire site from scratch.

        Still, it’s an address that’s not that easy to tell a person, leaving lots of room for misspelling. And hand-typing it from a business card, well . . .

        I found a good domain for my wife’s sewing business, http://www.marysews.com and that got me to thinking. I wanted a domain that was easier than my current one.

        I found a new domain: http://www.thatcopyguy.com and loved the idea. Easy to type, easy to explain and I could host it on the same account. But I still didn’t want to redo the site.

        Thusly and therefore, the redirect. If a prospect types http://www.thatcopyguy.com into their browser, they are transported to my main writer’s site.

        The only cost involved was the domain registration.

      • Steve Maurer
        Nov 25, 2013 @ 07:14:27

        You’re welcome, Mark.

        Here’s another topic I don’t think I’ve seen in the comments. Let’s say you’re ready to move to a WordPress self-hosted site. But your free site gets tons of traffic, scads of followers and comments galore.

        But, if you move your site . . . all that is gone, right? Nope, not necessarily. The free site has a upgrade to redirect your old site to your new site ($13 per year per site, as of this writing).

        Now, anyone that clicks a link to the old site will be redirected to the new site. If you already have a self-hosted site, this can usually be done for free with your hosting account.

        Example in action:
        I had a domain that was maurer-content-and-copywriting.com (don’t try it; it’s inactive). I still get typer’s cramp just thinking about it. So I got a new domain: maurer-copywriting.com . Much better and had my name and business service. But I had to rebuild the entire site from scratch.

        Still, it’s an address that’s not that easy to tell a person, leaving lots of room for misspelling. And hand-typing it from a business card, well . . .

        I found a good domain for my wife’s sewing business, marysews.com and that got me to thinking. I wanted a domain that was easier than my current one.

        I found a new domain: thatcopyguy.com and loved the idea. Easy to type, easy to explain and I could host it on the same account. But I still didn’t want to redo the site.

        Thusly and therefore, the redirect. If a prospect types the shorter, easier address into their browser, they are transported to my main writer’s site.

        The only cost involved was the domain registration.

  29. Liz McGee
    Nov 19, 2013 @ 22:33:38

    Hey Mark,

    Well done. At first sight WordPress.com seems like the logical choice and for many newbies it could be. But what happens when you want more control, you want to do more customization or make money from advertising and want professional email communications? WordPress.com just doesn’t fit the bill.

    I definitely recommend going with a self-hosted blogging platform from the get go. It’s not totally free but it’s not that much money either. A domain name is about $12 a year and hosting can be as cheap as $4-$8 a month. It’s certainly affordable. But whatever it costs it’s definitely worth having the control and the freedom you get when you host your own blog.


    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 20, 2013 @ 07:15:08

      Thanks, Liz. Freedom has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it. 🙂

  30. Bastiaan
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 01:32:36

    Hello john, great post. A lot of my friends want to start a blog and I always try to explain the difference between wordpress.com and a self hosted wordpress site. I am really glad I made the choice to self host my wordpress site. This is a great article and it makes perfectly clear why you choose a self hosted wordpress site. Any questions I get in the future I will just refer to your article 😉

  31. Mark Brinker
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 07:24:57

    Hi Bastiaan. Glad you found this helpful!

  32. Vukasin
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 11:36:35

    I started with WordPress free shared hosting few years ago and I totally agree with this article. It has lot of limits and I don’t like limits. I like freedom.
    That is why I’m my own boss! 🙂

    This is a great post Mark, I enjoyed reading this. You are a great writer. I will probably include this post in the weekly link roundup of epic posts on this Friday on my blog!

    Will let you know when I publish it!

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 20, 2013 @ 11:49:56

      Thank you so much, Vukasin!

      • Vukasin
        Nov 20, 2013 @ 12:16:35

        No problem Mark! 🙂

  33. Iphon Panjaitan
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 11:47:43

    You’re totally right Mark. Since two or three years ago, I already used wordpress.com. First time I used it, I felt so happy and posted some articles there. But then I realized that I just using a subdomain in wp.com. I can’t upload new theme or edit it. And the plugins can’t either. In other words, it didn’t satisfy me.
    After got new self-hosted wordpress, I feel free to edit my own site and I love it. Thank you for this great article, Mark. I wait for your other posts. Cheers!

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 11:58:33

      Thanks for sharing your story, Iphon. 🙂

  34. Renard Moreau
    Nov 22, 2013 @ 11:18:01

    [ Smiles ] Honestly, WordPress.com is working well for me at the moment. One of these days, I will make a bold step and start a self-hosted blog.

    For the record, all the points you made are valid!

    • Mark Brinker
      Nov 22, 2013 @ 11:59:21

      Hi Renard. At least you’re out there “making a dent in the universe” instead of sitting on the sidelines. That’s great. If WP.com is working for you right now, that’s totally fine. You’ll know if/when it’s time to make the jump to a self-hosted blog

  35. Karen J
    Dec 03, 2013 @ 02:11:13

    Thank you, Mark, for this great article – and all you commenters for adding even more truly helpful information.
    I never quite understood what folks meant when they said “WP.org is much better” or “Go self-hosted” ~ the sentences made sense, but the words might as well have been ancient Greek. Now, I get it! – for far better reasons than just Joe or Susie or Willie said so. 🙂

    • Mark Brinker
      Dec 03, 2013 @ 09:40:41

      So, Karen, you’re saying you prefer facts and reason over hype? 🙂

  36. Karen J
    Dec 04, 2013 @ 00:02:27

    un-hhh – Yeahh! That’d be a good guess!

    I got into a spirited discussion about blog statistics tracking (another point to consider under the topic of this post!) last month, started by a very new blogger with excellent “family-tech-support”: http://cordeliasmomstill.com/2013/10/22/statistics-dont-lie-or-do-they/
    Can ya tell that I was coming at it from a very emotionally engaged place?

    • Karen J
      Dec 04, 2013 @ 00:09:22

      … and relevant details over sound bites, bumperstickers and headlines! I’m also not a big fan of “outsourcing customer service to the customer” – especially by sending folks with questions about your product to a “User Forum” to get their answers! How lazy can you get?

  37. Simon Anthony
    Dec 04, 2013 @ 10:22:46

    I used a free WordPress account for teaching myself WordPress, alongside YouTube tutorial videos. I threw up a few sites and added affiliate links (even though I wasn’t supposed too), but hey, I needed to learn how to create a decent looking affiliate site for when I did it for real.
    If you approach it like that, then there’s no problem. Besides, who really wants a “your name.wordpress.com” domain name anyway ?


  38. Jezer Jojo
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 15:04:52

    Blogspot is the best. You have full control over everything and if you don’t take your blog seriously, it can do everything for you. You can even design your own 404 page with blogspot!

  39. Sandra
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 11:29:45

    The fact that it can get shut down is quite worrisome. I’ll look into that.

  40. Stan Eigi
    Dec 28, 2013 @ 07:27:06

    Interesting, I’ll keep that in mind. You know how they say: “If you want to do something good – do it yourself”. It applies here quite well. It seems odd to me that they would bestow such imitations of your bog, though on the other hand its only logical (considering the times we live in): it’s free.

  41. mox1
    Jan 23, 2014 @ 21:47:48

    Although wordpress.com is easy to setup and use, there are many other blogging platforms available. If your somewhat technically savvy, I’ve recently released an open source blogging platform known as blogstrap.py. It blows WordPress out of the water in many areas, including speed and security! Check it out at: http://moxone.me/post?pid=1

    Mar 26, 2014 @ 19:37:00

    Outlook.com, formerly known as Hotmail is a good domain email for anybody who’s on WordPress.com. The setup was fairly painless due to WordPress’s relationship with Outlook.com for this very purpose.

  43. Kristen Caven
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:53:01

    How about a blog about how much WordPress.org STINKS? Everyone advised me to switch, but I am so sick of it breaking because plugins stop working, there are bugs in the template, etc. At least WordPress.com is solid, even if it’s rigid – you can spend more time blogging and less time fixing.

    Seriously, if there are any wordpress.org programmers out there, write to me. I’m going crazy with all the cracks in the system.

  44. daphne cohn
    May 06, 2014 @ 11:04:02

    This is an excellent, point-by-point, explanation of wordpress.com for those who
    1) wish to go with wordpress.com or
    2) don’t know the difference/realize the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org.

    Nicely Done!

  45. LOL
    May 07, 2014 @ 04:59:44

    First of all, “bloggers” are nothing but wannabes who couldn’t get hired at a real newpaper or magazine.

    Second of all, WordPress is complete garbage.

  46. Sandra Harriette
    May 20, 2014 @ 03:22:16

    I’m finally ready. I found the one little linchpin that was causing me to stay at WP.com, and I realized that I can still interact with that community over there, since I have built many valuable connections. The rest is the technical part.

  47. Toni
    May 21, 2014 @ 14:54:59

    I posted a request for support as I was getting duplicate title tags on my. A reply came from a member called ‘Tara’ who suggested I contact the theme developer for support. Duplicate title tags is very common in WordPress which can effect page rank with Google!

    I had already done this and StudioPress requested I revert back to the WordPress forum as it was a known issue! The second reply from Tara was just: ‘There is no such issue with the WP core’. That was it! I never said it was due to WordPress as I was simply seeking support from someone who may have a fix! Isn’t this what Forums are for!

    Her next reply was to use the PAID jobs.wordpress!

    I requested she no longer answered my posts and assumed she was simply trolling.

    The icing on the cake came when ‘esmi’ ‘Theme Diva & Forum Moderator’ wrote ‘Tara is respected member of this community’ and ‘If the level of support offered by unpaid volunteers in this free forum is not suitable for your needs, try hiring someone instead.’

    Perhaps I’m mistaken and misread her motive but do you see anything in her replies to demonstrate support except to tell me it’s not WordPress and pay for help!

    esmi then closed my posts! I wrote another posts to complain about this which was subsequently deleted! This is total abuse from a WordPrsss administrator/moderator! I found others with the same kind of replies and when I offered to help a photographer I got blocked. Absolutely shameful!

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  50. Richard Lowe
    Jul 28, 2014 @ 13:39:12

    Thank you for the interesting read. I originally began with their hosted version and soon found myself running into a wall on functionality. So I now use the self hosted version for all my blogs. Seems to work much better. 🙂

  51. Charlie
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 07:47:15

    Yes, it has its limitations, but for now suits my needs. I don’t have to worry about server redundancy or bandwidth issues as opposed to self-hosting if I just got basic hosting, as opposed to a virtual or physically dedicated server, and traffic to my site slows because another site surges, or their server is altogether down. If there is an issue with my website, whether visual, front end, or back end, I can contact them regardless and THEY will fix (not unlike Apple), no need to run around. Paying the $100 upgrade for a personal domain , customizations, and ad-free is worth it so I can focus more on my (personal) content, and less about the technicals and maintenance. When I begin acquiring skills needed to become a programmer and web developer, of course I will self-host so I can have host on a sub domain all my works. I do use self-hosting for a website I do run, and while I’d like to do more, they are fine with how it’s doing thus far.

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  53. Mark
    Sep 26, 2014 @ 09:57:45

    I like the layout of WordPress better than blogger, but it seems you have to pay them if you want any traffic. I don’t promote my blog within my social network, because I don’t want to be a douche-bag. I prefer to appeal to those who are naturally interested in my topics. On blogger, I just do my thing, and there’s a lot of traffic. When I do the same thing on wordpress, I get literally no traffic at all. I’m pretty sure it’s a conspiracy.

  54. Mildred Race
    Jan 25, 2015 @ 10:01:57

    WordPress.com is a commercial venture. It’s a way for the kind souls who have put time, money and a whole load of effort into the open source and free-to-download WordPress blogging engine to make some money back. They do this by making it stupidly simple to set up and maintain a blog, while introducing some rather hefty limitations for experienced users.

  55. Ivy
    Feb 04, 2015 @ 07:49:13

    This is a brilliant post Mark, especially for someone like me, who is starting form diddly squat, I just re-visited my free wordpress blog (to trash old posts) which I started sometime October last year, I wasn’t really serious about blogging back then, I read lots of blogs but it wasn’t something I was serious about. I was just exploring, what it is like, writing your ‘dent-in-the-universe’ piece and putting it out there. Over the last week, blogging is something I had begun to think about doing seriously, and then I stumbled upon BBT and it was the best thing ever. Just a day into reading the posts on here and already I feel enlightened. I used to think, yeah…blogging…lets try it out for free first and then maybe upgrade and stuff.
    But Serious blogging means serious business and I don’t want to just try stuff out for free anymore.

    I love the Ferrari analogy you make. I’m looking to own a Ferrari and cruise down the coast with it. 🙂

    Thank you so much for this helpful post.