If you follow my blog, you probably have noticed that some time ago I moved from a wordpress.com free platform to self-hosted wordpress.org site. This move was preceded by several months of meticulous research, hesitations and my attempts to answer the question “to move or not to move?” Finally I have purchased a guided transfer and within 24 hours my blog was successfully moved. I was really happy with the fact that I didn’t have to do anything and all the necessary things were done for me – so I highly recommend you to purchase this upgrade if you want to avoid any headaches and mistakes. Now after several weeks of being with wordpress.org I am ready to share my first impressions and compare all the pros and cons of this transition. I start with the cons first:
1) It is not free anymore.
The beauty of wordpress.com is that anybody, whether it is professional businessman or a school girl can start blogging and it won’t cost them anything. At the same time, as it usually happens, there is no such thing as free lunch. Want to customise colours and fonts? – pay for a customization upgrade. Want more beautiful and professional look? – purchase a premium theme. Don’t want ads appear on your blog? – prepare another 30 dollars per year. My blog became a “not free” thing after three months of existence. So it made a sense for me to make a move. Also, there are very affordable options of web hosting – for example, I pay only 4.95 USD per month with BlueHost - amount, as you probably agree, not outrageous. However, I know several successful interior design blogs, which continue to stick with wordpress.com. So here you have to answer the question “why do you need your blog?”. If it serves you primarily for driving traffic to your main business site, you can actually successfully do it with wordpress.com, alternatively, if you want to make your blog a business itself, than wordpress.org would be the right choice.
2) Not being a part of community anymore.
The wonderful thing about WordPress.com is that it makes you feel a part of the blogging community. Your new posts collect lots of traffic and attention from another bloggers, you are featured in the daily reader and, if you are talented and lucky you might get to a “freshly pressed” page and instantly become famous. You get a lot of “likes” and comments, you get followed, re-blogged and it makes you feel so good as a blogger. The first thing I’ve noticed after the move is disappearance of “WordPress reader” button in the top left corner of my menu. The amount of “likes” and comments has also decreased. What to do? You can’t sit on two chairs at once.
3) I have to worry about various things, I didn’t have to bother about when I was with WordPress.com.
For example, recently I have received an email about new version of software and I had to check its compatibility. Spam filter Akismet had to be updated. Some plugins I downloaded were not compatible with my theme and I had to figure it out. With wordpress.com the development team took care about all those things.
These are main downsides I have noticed, it is time for pros now.
1) I am not a tenant anymore, I am the owner.
Can you paint the walls in a rented apartment? Most likely you have to ask the owners. The same is with my website – after moving to wordpress.org I am not a renter anymore and I can do whatever I want. I can place as many ad banners as I wish, I can change layout, design, I even could eventually sell it, if I want.
2) My blog started to bring me income (yay!).
With wordpress.com there are very few possibilities to monetize a blog. There is a certain number of limitations: you can’t put ads, can’t participate in affiliate programs, can’t get rid of ads placed by wordpress without paying for upgrade. The only way of earning money with wordpress.com (as I see it!) is promoting and selling your products and services. You can also place one banner with the link to your e-commerce site: if you earn decent amount of traffic, the chances that your sales go up also increase.
Now, after moving to wordpress.org I actually started to earn money blogging! You might probably be interested, how much? Well, all I can say is that it all depends on your blog. I believe, if you have less than at least ten thousand views per month, don’t even bother about placing ads – think about growing your blog first. Also after bringing your blog on a decent level in terms of traffic there are other possible ways of monetization – for example, you can sell a banner to advertisers on the sites like buysellads or start participating in affiliate programs, for example, Amazon.com. So, the conclusion is simple: before thinking about money, think about how to make your blog popular.
3) Lots of useful plugins.
Another great thing about wordpress.org are so called plugins, or software applications. Many of them are totally free and it is enough to download them to your directory and activate to make them work. With their help you can make your site to do almost anything you can imagine.
4) Unlimited storage
The last benefit for me was that now I have unlimited storage space, which is very useful for interior design blog as my posts usually have lots of illustrations and sometimes videos.
If you are new in blogging and not sure whether it is something you will be doing for a long time, or you want to have a small blog just to share your thoughts and inspirations, I would recommend to start with Wordress.com. If you see your site steadily growing and you eventually want to monetize it, you can always make a move. However, if you want to have a blog for your business, I would say to go with WordPress.org from the beginning as its functionality will allow to create a very professionally looking site.