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WordPress.com or WordPress.org?
What is the difference?!
Starting a blog can be a bit overwhelming at times because there is soo much information to learn. A common mistake that I see bloggers from all over make, is choosing the wrong platform. They start their blog on wordpress.COM rather than wordpress.ORG. Choosing the right platform is very important for your blog’s success. There are a ton of great benefits that you are missing out on if you are using the .COM platform and I would hate for you to lose out. So I wrote a helpful article for you to understand the difference between the two platforms. I want you to explode your blog potential!
Aren’t they the same? Which one is better? What is the difference? Do I have to pay? What are the benefits? Can I make money? Can I use ads? How do I switch?
All of your common questions will be answered below!
This is a free blogging platform. You do not need to be self-hosted because WordPress.COM takes care of the hosting for you. Therefore, you do not have your own .com domain address.
Why do people use it?
People who write as a hobby will generally use a free blogging platform. This is because they do not have the intention of expanding and monetizing (make money) their blog. They get to write and WordPress takes care of the hard and dirty work. So using a free hosted platform such as wordpress.COM us suitable for their needs.
- They do not know the difference between the two WordPress platforms
- It is free (up to 3GB of storage)
- They do not have to worry about paying a hosting provider
- They do not have to handle dirty work
- It is easy and straightforward
- They do not plan to monetize
Why shouldn’t you use it?
If you blogging with the intention of turning it into a career, it is not a smart choice for your blog success. You are extremely limited in what you can do on the .COM platform.
- You can only use default themes
- You are not able to customize themes
- You cannot download plugins
- Limited SEO control
- Limited analytics: You are not allowed to use 3rd parties such as Google Analytics
- You cannot use an e-commerce to sell products
- You can not monetize your blog
- Their own ads are displayed on your website
- You have to pay for more features (that you get free on .ORG)
- It is free for only up to 3GB of storage
- The pricing upgrades are ridiculous and still limit you
- Your entire blog content is owned by WordPress so you lack full control
- You will never be able to have your very own custom domain name
It is a content management system (CMS), meaning it can create and manage digital content. WordPress.ORG is a free open source platform that requires you to be self-hosted.
Why people prefer WordPress.ORG rather than WordPress.COM
This is the more suitable option for bloggers who are planning to turn their blog into a career and bring in income doing so. It is also a wonderful option for normal business websites. It allows business owners who do not have coding knowledge, the ability to easily manage their own website. Using WordPress.ORG gives you all the control and makes it easier to manage.
So what makes WordPress.ORG better than WordPress.COM?
- You have full control over your website
- You can have your own domain name of your choice
- Branding freedom
- Ability to fully customize themes
- You can upload themes from 3rd parties
- There is a plugin for pretty much everything and wordpress.ORG allows you to download them
- Control over your sites SEO
- You can monetize your blog
- You can use your own advertisements and make money from them
- You can set up an e-commerce shop to sell products
- You can allow users to sign up for memberships to your site
I’m currently using WordPress.COM…how do I switch to WordPress.ORG?
Before you can make the switch you need to choose a hosting provider and domain name. I recommend using Bluehost. It is the #1 recommended host provider for WordPress. You will also get a free domain name for a year when you sign up. Therefore, you will only have to pay for your hosting. There is a 30-day money back guarantee and the hosting plans start as low as $3.95!
*Related: How to start a blog today!
If you already have a domain that is okay. Bluehost will allow you to import the one that you currently have and you can choose to pick your free one at a later time.
Step 1: Log into your WordPress.com site
Go to your dashboard>tools>export.
Step 2: Export
You will be taken to a page where you will need to choose your exporting option. You do not need to pay to export your content. I know you may be a little nervous right now since you have no idea what you are doing but don’t worry! Follow this tutorial step-by-step and you will be okay! This will all be worth it in the end!
So anyway, choose the free export option.
Now, you will need to choose what content you want to transfer. I recommend all content.
Then click the orange download export file button. It is going to download as an XML file with all of your old site content. You will need to upload to your new site.
Step 3: Download WordPress onto your site
When you sign up with Bluehost this process is made extremely easy for you. It is a one-click install onto your new site and that is it! For a more in-depth tutorial on getting set up with Bluehost click here.
Once you have signed up with Bluehost and have WordPress installed, it is time to upload your XML file from your previous site.
Step 4: Import XML file to the self-hosted site
On your new site, make sure you are logged into your WordPress Dashboard.
Go back to the tools menu and then click Import.
The next screen will display import options.
You are going to scroll to the bottom where it says WordPress and click Install now.
It will install the WordPress importer and then you will need to click run importer.
The next screen will ask you to upload the XML file.
Click choose file>your file>then click the upload and import button.
*Note: Your file size may be larger than 2MB if you had a lot of content on your previous site. If that is the case you have two import options. The first one is to ask your web hosting company to increase that upload limit temporarily, so you can upload your current XML file. The second option would be to split your file by using a WXR file splitter.
Once your content is imported you will have the option to assign it all to a new user or keep your current one. You will also be asked if you would like to import your attachments. Make sure you check this box so your images are imported as well.
You have successfully imported your old content!
Step 4: Redirect Users
If you have been blogging for some time and already have the following base from your wordpress.COM site, you do not want to neglect those followers. Make sure you share with them that you have redirected your site by either using a redirection tool, announcing your new changes on a social media platform (with those readers), or personally contacting them via email.
WordPress.COM does not offer a free redirection tool. Unfortunately, you will have to pay for the upgrade service if that is the option that you choose.
I hope this was helpful to you! I am excited for your new blogging journey and the world of potential that you just unlocked for your blog!