WordPress.COM vs. WordPress.ORG — Which Is Better for Writers?

Technology can feel a little like THIS...

Technology can feel a little like THIS…

*blinks groggily* Geeze, Kristen, what did you put in that candy? I promised I’d write a guest post for your blog. You didn’t have to kidnap me to make it happen. Methinks you like the Candy Van just a little too much.

That van was a BARGAIN. Getting my $250 worth.

Besides, I only drug my favorite people. It’s like a CLUB…bonded by candy and Stockholm Syndrome :).

Didn’t want one of my guests feeling left out. No Candy Van War Story to share. Oh, here’s some water. Might help wash the sedatives out of your system. 

Take it away, Jami!….

WordPress.COM vs. WordPress.ORG — Which Is Better for Us?

Image via Bill_Owen Flikr Creative Commons

Image via Bill_Owen Flikr Creative Commons

Okay, let’s see if I can focus my eyes enough to explain the differences between the WordPress.com and WordPress.org blogging platforms. Yes, one is .com and one is .org. Yes, it’s confusing. Don’t worry, we’ll deal.

  • WordPress.comFree by default, but with limited customization options. They make their money by placing ads on our sites and selling upgrades that increase customizations to some extent.
  • WordPress.org Requires a hosting company to run the free software. Hosting companies charge a monthly fee to “host” your data on their servers. Depending on the hosting company, you can do nearly any customizations you want.

If you’re already feeling a splitting headache coming on (like I currently have— thanks, Kristen) from the thought of all this technical information, you might want to catch up with my previous posts.

Earlier, I shared some of the reasons I focus on WordPress and not Blogger for our blogging platform. And I did a guest post at Writers In The Storm blog (with no kidnapping required, I might add) explaining what a hosting company is and why they’re important.

We all need to work together. Image via Wikimedia Commons

We all need to work together. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Why WordPress.COM Is a Good Option for Some

When we’re first starting out with our blog, we understandably might not be ready to commit any money to the venture. We want to see how this blogging thing works for us, figure out whether we’ll be able to think of topics, and decide on a direction for our blogging voice.

For this reason, many of us want a free blogging platform, like WordPress.com. If we go this route, WordPress.com is our hosting company. Our blog posts (and all our other site data) live on their servers and visitors connect to our site by using WordPress.com’s network. To make money for all that equipment, WordPress.com offers paid upgrades, from a custom domain name to design help.

The only upgrade I’d recommend for WordPress.com would be to pay for a custom domain name. By default, internet addresses (otherwise known as the URL) of sites running on WordPress.com include “wordpress” in their name: http://ourname.wordpress.com. (Like how the URL of Kristen’s blog is http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com.)

Some think having “wordpress” in the URL can make us look less professional. If we want, we can upgrade to a custom domain and our URL would then be: http://ourname.com.
WordPress.com’s default (meaning free) settings will be enough for many of us.

We can choose from over a hundred free themes (the template for the design of our blog). We get free access to great integrated contact forms, comment systems, blog email signups, etc.

However, depending on our goals for our website/blog, we might want or need more customization. In that case, we’d want to consider using WordPress.org instead.

Why WordPress.ORG Is a Good Option for Some

While the WordPress.org software is free, we have to pay for a hosting company to store the data for our website blog. So people often call WordPress.org the “paid option.” Technically, it’s the self-hosted option, meaning we get to pick our hosting company.

Going this route means we’d usually have more freedom with our site to do the customizations we want. WordPress.org offers almost 2000 free themes, and many premium themes are available as well.

Our domain name would be whatever we wanted, but we’d need to obtain it ourselves (some hosting companies will help us with this step).

In short, going with WordPress.org means more freedom—and more responsibility. Domain names, picking a good hosting company, being careful to not let our site be hacked, oh my.

In a way, WordPress.com is like going with a traditional publisher who will do some of the work for us—but leave us with less control—while going with WordPress.org is like self-publishing, where we have to do everything ourselves. So it can make sense to stick with the free WordPress.com if it does everything we want it to do.

How Can We Know which Path Is Right for Us?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

We should pick a hosting company (I use TechSurgeons.com) and go with WordPress.ORG if we want to:

  • Use plugins (for Google Analytics, email newsletters, controlling the “related posts” listed at the bottom of a post, adding more sidebar widgets, better SEO (search engine optimization), better sharing to social media, etc.)
  • Use a custom theme
  • Make changes to the programming code
  • Add a store
  • Use direct links for purchasing
  • Post Adsense ads
  • Use affiliate links
  • Prevent ads from showing up on your site (WordPress.com can display ads on our site)
  • Use a different commenting system (like Disqus)
  • Add more features to our website (like a forum)

On the other hand, we should go with WordPress.COM if we:

  • Do not care about any of those above options (customizations, adding a store or links to sell things directly off the site, widgets, forums, commenting systems, preventing ads, etc.)
  • Just want a basic site that we don’t have to worry about

What If We’re Still Not Sure?

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

It is possible to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, and some hosting companies can help with that transition. So it’s not the end of the world if we start one way and then change our mind. However, old links, credit with Google for our site’s popularity, etc. might be messed up along the way.

We have to balance our current needs and ability to pay with a guess at our anticipated future needs. That means we might not be able to do what we want right now. Or we might guess wrong. But I hope this post gave you some ideas for how to start making that decision. My hosting company offers potential clients a test site for a month if they want to play with WordPress.org.

If you have specific questions about which route would be best for you, I’ll be doing a one-hour live Q&A session on WANA International’s Facebook page on Thursday, April 11th at 7 p.m. Eastern time. On my blog today, I have more details about the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and links to more information.

I’ll also keep an eye out for questions in the comments here (assuming Kristen doesn’t slip anything else in my candy stash *hugs chocolate close*).

Okay, I’ve Decided—Now What?

If you’re thinking of setting up a website or blog for the first time, I’m offering two workshops through Kristen’s WANA International at the end of April. Registration is currently open for these two workshops designed for those with no knowledge of WordPress, websites, or blogs. Interested?

Readers of Kristen’s blog can use Promo Code “jamisave” to save $5 on registration. Sign up for only one of the workshops:

Thanks for having me here, Kristen! And next time, all you have to do is ask—no kidnapping necessary. I promise, my friend. *smile*

Jami takes away all my fun. Without kidnapping, I only have a toddler and the Bubble Guppies.

Do you have questions about WordPress.com or WordPress.org? Do you understand what makes them different? Do you have other suggestions for how to decide which path to take?

***

Author Jami Gold

Author Jami Gold

After discovering a chemical compound that makes chocolate even more awesome, Jami Gold moved to Arizona and decided to become a writer, where she could put her talent for making up stuff to good use. Fortunately, her muse, an arrogant male who delights in making her sound as insane as possible, rewards her with unique and rich story ideas.

Fueled by chocolate, she writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales that range from dark to humorous, but one thing remains the same: Normal need not apply. Just ask her familyóand zombie cat.

Find Jami at her blog,†Twitter,†,†Facebook,†Pinterest,†LinkedIn, and†Goodreads.

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  1. #1 by David on April 2, 2013 - 7:39 am

    I went with WordPress.org and it was difficult to get started. I had problems with the host and then getting my domain, but once I read a little and watched a few instructional videos, I figured it out. If you’re serious, I recommend the .org way.

    • #2 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:16 am

      Great point, David. I’ve seen some people jump into the .org method by getting a domain name and picking the first hosting company they think of (GoDaddy *shudder*).

      I’d recommend people spend some time picking a *good* hosting company (I give tips in one of the links in the post) before they do anything else. A good hosting company can help with domain name registration and everything else. :) I’m glad you were able to figure it out!

  2. #3 by luckygurl on April 2, 2013 - 7:46 am

    I just want to say thanks for the great info here. I have a wordpress.com site and I had no idea until a year after starting it that they were putting ads on my site! Duh. I didn’t really understand why I’d want to move my site to be self-hosted (besides controlling the ads). This helped me understand that when I’m ready for a few more heavy features (newsletters, etc.) I’m good with .com…

    • #4 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 9:44 am

      Hi luckygurl,

      Yes, WordPress.com is rather sneaky about their ads. They currently display ads only to those who *aren’t* logged into WordPress.com. That means the site owners never see them. And that oh-so-conveniently means the site owners never realize (or forget) the ads are there. :)

  3. #5 by Lance on April 2, 2013 - 7:47 am

    My head hurts now. I’m on wordpress.com – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com

    good information

    • #6 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 9:45 am

      Join the club. :) Although Kristen did kindly slip me some headache medicine eventually.

      Let me know if you have questions–I’m happy to help!

  4. #7 by LadyGrave on April 2, 2013 - 8:06 am

    My point of confusion on the topic is that I love the wordpress.com reader. It’s how I find most other blogs, and it’s how most of my readers find me. I want all the customization options (I purchased the wordpress.com customization package just so I could change the color of my links to something that matched) but if I switch to a wordpress.org site, I worry that I’ll lose all the community I’ve built around my blog through wordpress.com in the past year.

    • #8 by MegansBeadedDesigns on April 2, 2013 - 9:16 am

      I follow a couple of blogs that kept their wordpress.com, and do an automatic RSS feed that posts to their old blogs whenever they post on their new, .org blog. This might be something you want to look into.

      • #9 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 12:02 pm

        Thanks for sharing! I’d just suggested a similar solution to someone a couple of days ago. I’m glad to know I wasn’t coming up with something completely off the wall. :)

    • #10 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 9:51 am

      Great point! Yes, the community aspect of WordPress.com (with “freshly pressed” and other features) and be a traffic driver for us. I love the way their comments work for those logged in (with the taskbar notifications of replies). So I certainly don’t think there’s only “one right answer” for everyone. :)

      As a reader, your WordPress.com account would stay the same. I’m on .org but have a .com login for commenting and the RSS Reader function. However, you’d have to do something like Megan mentions to make sure you’re still pulling traffic from the Follow function. Let me know if you have questions! :)

  5. #11 by hcfbutton on April 2, 2013 - 8:13 am

    i’m a dot-commer. I like some of the ways I can customize the site without worrying too much about the self-hosting, the spam, the hackers. since I have a full time job in a career outside writing that I also love, it just made more sense to me to be less hands-on. I did buy my own domain though, and I do agree it’s worth every penny.

    • #12 by catwoods on April 2, 2013 - 9:41 am

      Me, too! I feel that .com offers me everything I need in a way that balances my time as a working mom of four. Would some bells and whistles be nice at times? Sure, but I don’t have the time to pay for them.

      In my opinion, .com is intuitive and has a great community.

      • #13 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:21 am

        You’re right on both counts about the pluses of .com. If we’re not going to use the .org bells and whistles, there’s probably no reason to go that route. (There’s a reason I teach both classes–I don’t think any one way is right for everyone. :) )

    • #14 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:18 am

      I hear you. Luckily, I have a great hosting company, so I’ve never had to worry about those issues, but I’ve heard horror stories. :) And you’re absolutely right that .org isn’t for everyone!

  6. #15 by Ellen M. Gregg on April 2, 2013 - 8:18 am

    I’m a wordpress.org fan girl. My three business sites are powered by wordpress.org, and I’m getting ready to migrate a couple friends’ sites to wordpress.org for them. It’s the bomb-diggity. :-)

    • #16 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:26 am

      Hmm, it looks like WordPress.com ate my reply. Maybe it didn’t like that I said I was a .org fan girl too. :)

      But I know my goals and needs aren’t the same as everyone else’s, so I try to keep an open mind about which path would be best for them. :)

  7. #17 by susielindau on April 2, 2013 - 8:20 am

    I would ever give up the community here at .com.

    I believe a writer’s platform is built on relationships not hits and .com makes that very easy. Notifications of comments can be accessed several ways to have a conversation.

    Any url can be added to its reader whether it is a .org site or Blogger. Topics are listed through tagging where you can find blogs that interest you. It is the most amazing community out there and I have tried many other sites.

    I have WordPress.com and have Google Analytics. There is a new option for ads.

    Just my 2 cents… :)

    • #18 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 9:54 am

      I hear you. As I mentioned to LadyGrave above, the community and commenting aspects are two functions I love from the WordPress.com side. I don’t advocate one path over another for others because we all have different goals. Glad you found a way that worked for you! :)

  8. #19 by neenslewy on April 2, 2013 - 8:43 am

    Clearly explained (despite the kidnap!) I am glad I chose wordpress with its built in community, it is still in top 3 platforms for writers, although I have come across the non-profession argument against wordpress. They obviously didn’t research, it’s good to know in the future you can buy the domain name.
    Do you happen to know if you can buy it?
    I would be tempted to keep A Writers Fountain (named in memory of my website) and create a 2nd blog in my name to pay for the changes on.
    The people (the same journalists that suggest WordPress is not counted as a professional platform) also suggest you use your own name. I would agree if you are using the blog for marketing and promotion.

    Thanks again.
    … Now Kristen untie the ropes and let the poor lass go! ;-)

    • #20 by neenslewy on April 2, 2013 - 8:48 am

      I should have re-read – the question was
      could you buy the domain name and change it at the same time? Or is it just the same URL minus ‘wordpress’?
      I also meant ‘professional’ not profession…. I have been writing since 8 a.m – maybe it is time for a break, it’s nearly 3pm!

      • #21 by tamarknochel on April 2, 2013 - 10:37 am

        I have a URL through WordPress.com and if I remember right you can choose any URL that is available.

        • #22 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 12:01 pm

          Thanks for the insight! I thought that was the case, but it’s good to hear it from someone else. :)

    • #24 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:02 am

      Aww, thanks for being concerned. :)

      I’m on .org, so I’m not an expert in the .com upgrades. However, I *think* when you buy a domain name through them, the new domain could be anything you want. Great question!

  9. #25 by omtege on April 2, 2013 - 8:53 am

    Reblogged this on tegelinang.

  10. #27 by J. F. Smith on April 2, 2013 - 9:25 am

    I’m a .org fan, here. My blog – http://www.jfsmithbooks.com/blog – was set up using WordPress.org when I paid someone to design my author site. I think it’s important to mention Jetpack, which brings every .com feature (including community access!) to .org sites and offered itself up as an installation option the second I accessed the blog.

    • #28 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:05 am

      Great point! I can’t currently use JetPack (because of complicated technical reasons that WordPress.com can’t help me with *sigh*), so I’m not as knowledgeable about those benefits. Thanks for sharing!

  11. #29 by katmagendie on April 2, 2013 - 9:45 am

    I went with the .com since I already have a website that I have to pay for. And, admittedly *lawd* I have been lax lately with my blogging. Lawd again.

    • #30 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:07 am

      Great observation–yes, one thing I mentioned in earlier posts on my blog was that I chose to go with WordPress.org and an integrated website and blog. So that way I’m paying only for one site. :)

  12. #32 by Sandi on April 2, 2013 - 9:51 am

    I had a dot-org and got all stressed out. Now I dot-com it. But I miss being able to have some of the flash options… So. I am pondering the mysteries of finding a new host and switching back over. Thanks for the succinct summary! :)

    • #33 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 11:50 am

      I’m happy to help, Sandi. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

  13. #34 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:08 am

    Thanks so much for having me here, Kristen! I think the wooziness has worn off, so it’s all good. ;) You’re an awesome friend–really! *hugs*

  14. #35 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:10 am

    Oh, and I’m touched that I qualified for the “Favorite People Kidnapping Special.” *sniff* I love you too. :) *more hugs*

  15. #36 by Diana Beebe on April 2, 2013 - 10:26 am

    A-ha! Thanks, Jami! That is exactly what I needed to know. I think I need to check out your .org class now. :-)

    • #37 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 10:28 am

      Yay! I know several people were waiting for this breakdown. :) I’m glad it answered your questions!

  16. #38 by Hayden on April 2, 2013 - 10:33 am

    I started out using WP.org and was pretty happy with it until my host merged with a bigger company, and all hell broke loose. I couldn’t access my site for some reason, and tech support couldn’t figure out why.

    I went for WP.com with custom upgrades. Less hassle, better support, and it costs a little less than my yearly fee for self-hosting with WP.org.

    • #39 by Hayden on April 2, 2013 - 10:35 am

      BTW, when I say “custom upgrades”, that include domain name, no ads (hate those suckers when I’m trying to read blogs), and custom design. Worth every penny.

    • #40 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 11:52 am

      Yikes! Yes, when we go with .org, a lot depends on the hosting company we choose. I’m glad you found a way that worked for you. :)

  17. #41 by Jay Donovan on April 2, 2013 - 11:03 am

    ** Bias alert – I’m Jami’s (and Kristen’s) Tech Guy and Sell WP.org sites so grain of salt & all that **

    Two huge differences are the level of personal support and backups. WP.com does backups for their own use. If you accidentally delete a post at WP.com, you’re out of luck – you can’t pay them to restore it.

    Same if you’re going to make some big changes and want to go back to how it was before the big changes. Some hosts *coughs* will be able to take an extra snapshot of your site and if you blow things up, put it back the way it was before.

    And if you do go WP.com, do upgrade to the .com option. Otherwise you lock yourself into the same problem that Kristen has, permanently being stuck at wordpress.com. She would love to move this site to her own name or brand, but is bound to wordpress.com.

    -Jay
    @jaytechdad

    • #42 by Jay Donovan on April 2, 2013 - 11:19 am

      *chuckles* wordpress.com ate part of my previous comment because it interpreted the use of the greater / less than symbols as pseudo-HTML…

      Upgrade to the -yourname- option. It’s good insurance if you want to expand your site later and might not want your blog at wordpress.com and your full author site at yourname.com.

      -Jay
      @jaytechdad

    • #43 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 11:55 am

      Great points! Yes, I’ve blown up my site *mumble* times, and you’ve been able to restore from backup and/or take snapshots before I test a big change several times. :)

      And thanks for the insight into why Kristen’s blog doesn’t follow the recommendations. :)

  18. #44 by MTM on April 2, 2013 - 11:55 am

    Great post. Thanks. I have both. My simpler ‘publisher’ site is on a hosted server with WordPress.org and my blog with all the widgets you’re required to provide if you want any kind of reciprocal arrangement with anyone else ever… and somewhere to put all those widgets and badges and like boxes and… that kind of thing… that’s where I’ve found WordPress.com to be a real boon.

    Cheers

    MTM

    • #45 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 12:00 pm

      That’s a great example of when we *wouldn’t* want our website and blog to be integrated!

      In general, I recommend integrating them for SEO reasons (blogs show up higher in search results than websites, so an integrated blog will help the ranking of your website too). But in your case, your blog and website are essentially different businesses. Thanks for sharing!

  19. #46 by Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB) on April 2, 2013 - 1:46 pm

    I went with WordPress.org and never regretted that choice (though it helps that my husband is a software consultant…) I love all the different plug-ins that can be used to customize my site. Even though I use a backup plug-in, I still type all the texts for my posts in Word documents just in case something “really” bad should happen or I want to easily manipulate the text for other purposes.

    • #47 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 3:08 pm

      I do a similar low-tech backup plan. I keep all my blog’s “new post” emails for a Plan Z just-in-case. :)

  20. #48 by lynnkelleyauthor on April 2, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    Great post, Jami. I’ll pass this on to friends who have been thinking of starting a blog.
    I just switched from Blogger to WordPress.com. Still working on some kinks. It’s me, not WP!
    Kristen, thanks for having Jami here!

    • #49 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 6:33 pm

      Thanks, Lynn! I hope you get those kinks figured out. :)

  21. #50 by Daniel Escurel Occeno on April 2, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    No comment, just soaking in the information.

    • #51 by Jami Gold on April 2, 2013 - 6:33 pm

      Let me know if you have any questions, Daniel. :)

      • #52 by Daniel Escurel Occeno on April 2, 2013 - 6:57 pm

        I have a Word Press on the dot com with my stories for children – “free” for the kids to read, but I am concentrating on writing the novels so the information is stored in the mind to remember someday when I have novels to sell.

  22. #55 by Helen Ross on April 2, 2013 - 6:27 pm

    Great information Jami. I have been wondering whether to go across to WordPress.org so you have given been lots of info to think about in regards to its advantages. Thank you.

  23. #57 by Jenny Hansen on April 3, 2013 - 1:37 am

    Jami, I have a Jenny Hansen, LLC site that I need to take your class and fix up. I link my blog to that. That means I have the ease of the .com but I have a different spot to sell stuff. I think it’s going to work if I ever make the time to upgrade the damn site. I use TechSurgeons too, FYI… :-)

    • #58 by Jay Donovan on April 3, 2013 - 2:15 am

      Yes Jenny, the poor site is feeling rather unloved. :)

      -Jay
      @jaytechdad

    • #59 by Jami Gold on April 3, 2013 - 9:42 am

      Nah, my classes are for beginners. You already have the experience of a group blog and and an individual blog under your belt. You’d be ready for an advanced class (which I don’t have in my repertoire yet). :)

      Advanced classes are tough to teach because at that level so much depends on the chosen theme that it’s difficult to say, “Here’s how you do abc.” Feel free to pick my brain about any problems you run into though. :)

      Off-hand, I’d ask whether you wanted to integrate any of those sites more. There are ways to create a page in WordPress and have a plugin pull in the RSS feed of another blog onto that page. So you could have the blog posts of your individual and/or group blog imported into a page of your LLC site–if you wanted. I’m just sharing the possibilities. :)

      And hey, you’ve heard of literary agency clients calling themselves “agency sisters”? Maybe we need to get TechSurgeons to list their clients so we can call ourselves “hosting sisters.” :D

  24. #60 by Elle Carter Neal on April 3, 2013 - 1:48 am

    I’ve had my own website since 2004, that I coded using FrontPage (LOL). In 2010 I blew it up in a fit of pique and started from scratch building the website plus blog integrated on WP.org

    Can you say learning curve? ;-)

    • #61 by Jay Donovan on April 3, 2013 - 2:14 am

      Did your 2004 site use any blink tags? o_O

      -Jay
      @jaytechdad

    • #62 by Jami Gold on April 3, 2013 - 9:43 am

      LOL! Wow, that *is* a big change, Elle. Kudos to you for figuring that out. :)

  25. #63 by coachdaddyblogger on April 3, 2013 - 7:59 am

    .com is the bomb – although I wonder which, if any, SEO pluggins I should be using. Any thoughts?

    .com is also where all the cute girls are.

    • #64 by Jami Gold on April 3, 2013 - 10:05 am

      *snort* :)

      Well, the problem with .com and SEO is that you can’t use any plugins on .com that use Java–and that would be almost all of them. There are several SEO plugins: WordPress SEO by Yoast, All in One SEO Pack, etc. Most business sites serious about SEO that I’ve seen mention the All in One SEO Pack.

      That said, WordPress in general–the .com or the .org versions–is already fairly good at SEO. Better than what I’ve seen from Blogger blogs, in fact, and they’re owned by *Google*. LOL! Much of what a .com user can do to improve SEO comes down to writing great content and using headings, categories, and tags properly.

      Personally, I don’t use any plugins for this function because I’m on a premium theme (pre-2.0 version of Thesis) that has awesome SEO features built in. On several occasions, I’ve been shocked at how high my blog posts rank in Google searches–above HuffPo, New York Times, etc. Yeah…no kidding.

      I hope that helps!

  26. #65 by Ashtoreth Eldritch on April 3, 2013 - 6:58 pm

    Thank you for the post. It is something that I wish I had back when I first started blogging. But, the heavens look after fools, and I found my footing on WordPress dot com before moving to WordPress dot org after a few years.

    The biggest factor in my decision to move was the ability to use affiliate links and not worry about any of my original fiction content being reported as ‘mature’.

    • #66 by Jami Gold on April 3, 2013 - 8:37 pm

      Yes, I lucked into finding a great webhost from the start, or else I’d have been just as lost. :) Glad you made it work!

  27. #67 by Athena Brady on April 4, 2013 - 8:54 am

    Hi Jami,
    thanks for all your great advice. I have a wordpress.com blog that I started with and after reading Kirsten’s books I brought my own website and pay for hosting. I have had trouble however, getting people to migrate over to my own website.

    • #68 by Jami Gold on April 4, 2013 - 1:47 pm

      Good observation, Athena! Here are some questions that might help people integrate their readers:

      – Are you using your new website for a blog too? I suggest having a static home page (to make it a website) and one of the pages be our blog–otherwise people don’t have a reason to visit our website on a regular basis.
      – Can you have the old WordPress.com URL forwarded to your new one?
      – Can you gradually wean people over by double posting at both locations–and sharing links only from the new place?

      Those who start with their own domain name at wordpress.com have a much easier time of this, as post-import, all their old links will still work. Hopefully that list gives people ideas on how to make a transition in those other cases. :)

  28. #69 by Andrew on April 5, 2013 - 5:46 am

    I recently switched (upgraded?) from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. It actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be (it helped that my brother already had a hosting company and let me piggyback off his site!)

    If you do make that transition, there is a plugin called Jetpack that can help. It essentially lets you have a lot of the same features a wordpess.com site has, without having half a dozen plug ins. Plus there is a plug in that can help with the whole broken internal link thing. There are ways too to fix the inevitable 404 errors you are going to get from google/other search engines (amazingly others still exist! haha), but I was told that they don’t affect your search rankings as much as you might think, and they’ll clear up in the next couple of months anyway.

    Oh, the only problem is that if you transition, your subscribers and stats won’t automatically roll over, even using Jetpack. So you have to contact the jetpack support team. They’re nice folks, so they will do the transition for you.

    But there are problems using the jetpack subscription widget. I’m having a weird one where people are still able to register to my old wordpress.com site despite it being set to private and, ostensibly, being inaccessible to anyone but me. So, the jetpack team are still trying to figure that one out. Hope they do soon–having lots of people follow me who aren’t yet getting my posts via email!

    • #70 by Jami Gold on April 5, 2013 - 5:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Andrew! I have a weird technical issue on my site that prevents me from using JetPack, but yes, that’s a great plugin for bringing along many of the community aspects of .com sites.

  29. #71 by Ursula Lecoeur on April 8, 2013 - 1:14 pm

    I have a website, but do not blog. I’d like to blog separately from the site. Which seminar should I take and when is it offered? Ursula

    • #72 by Jami Gold on April 8, 2013 - 1:33 pm

      Hi Ursula, You could take either seminar. The only difference between them is one is geared toward those who plan to use the free (WordPress.com) platform and the other is geared to those who plan to pay for the self-hosted (WordPress.org) platform.

      If you want to pick my brain about which way might be better for you, feel free to ask me here. Or come to my one-hour live Q&A session on Facebook this Thursday at 7 p.m. Eastern time at https://www.facebook.com/WANAIntl.

      If you want to read more about each workshop, here’s the registration link for the Tuesday, April 23rd (7 p.m. Eastern time) WordPress.com seminar: http://wanaintl.com/event-registration/?ee=133
      And to the Thursday, April 25th (7 p.m. Eastern time) WordPress.org seminar: http://wanaintl.com/event-registration/?ee=134

      Let me know if you have questions!

  30. #73 by Cinema Profound on April 20, 2013 - 11:44 pm

    First off, LOVE Jay Donovan and TechSurgeons. I don’t use him, but I would in a heartbeat if I could afford to!

    This is the first I’ve heard of the .com versus .org side of WordPress. Hmm, lots to consider. Thanks for the 4-1-1.

    • #74 by Jami Gold on April 21, 2013 - 11:18 am

      No problem. :) Let me know if you have any questions!

    • #75 by Jay Donovan on April 22, 2013 - 2:36 pm

      Awww, thanks Sidney! :)

      We may surprise you on pricing. Message me the next time you consider it.

      -Jay
      @jaytechdad

      • #76 by Cinema Profound on May 3, 2013 - 11:45 pm

        Happy to toot your praises, Jay. You’ve always been amazing to talk tech with! Aww, thanks. I surely will!

  31. #77 by unredundant on August 5, 2013 - 5:20 am

    As a new blogger, I am thinking about this issue. My blog (http://unredundant.wordpress.com/) is less than a week old. I think one option is to go with wordpress.com and perhaps getting a custom domain. If in the future, the blog has a good following and you wish to host it yourself so you can add ads and have more control you can move the domain to a hosting company. The wordpress.com hosting is great for getting your feet wet and seeing if blogging is really right for you.

    • #78 by Jami Gold on August 6, 2013 - 11:54 pm

      Yep, I agree. The option for the custom domain name is the one upgrade I’d recommend. As you said, that allows for an easier transition to a self-hosting solution later on. :)

  32. #81 by Amrish on August 2, 2014 - 10:32 am

    I really like wordpress.org. Even though it’s a little daunting having to deal with hosting and all the one-off issues of being on your own, it’s really not that difficult for newbies. My only issue with it is time. When I had blogs in the .org format, it was a lot more time consuming to maintain.

    While I like wordpress.com, you can’t monetize it and paying out of pocket to remove ads makes little sense when you can get a Blogger blog for free that you can monetize (at least from my perspective).

    I’m not really in blogging for the money and I have a lot to learn about how to be a better blogger, but, at the basic core of the business side of my brain, I can’t wrap my head around the sense in using WP.com.

    I would recommend that if you have the time to actually develop and maintain a WP.org site, it’s the best avenue out there for newbie bloggers. But, and this goes back to the basic Blogger v WP debate, if you don’t have the time, and if you don’t mind the restrictions that go along with developing on Blogger, I’d opt for Blogger. Just my opinion.

    • #82 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 4, 2014 - 8:07 am

      The problem is you can POOF suddenly have a large following and then you are STUCK. I blogged for almost two years and no one really cared then BOOM. Now it’s a bit of a mess. For as inexpensive as it is, just go with the paid one first. That’s my opinion.

    • #83 by Jami Gold on August 4, 2014 - 1:13 pm

      Kristen makes a great point about being *ready* for success. The other option–the one I recommend for those going with WP.com–is to spend the money for the domain name upgrade, which removes the wordpress(dot) from the site’s name.

      That one change alone will make it SO much easier for the person to move to WP.org, Blogger, or anywhere else down the line if they change their mind. That’s the issue that causes problems for Kristen’s wish to move. She still has the wordpress(dot) in her domain name, so she can’t move without losing her traffic and external links. For those who go with that upgrade, it’s no issue at all. :)

    • #84 by Jay Donovan on August 4, 2014 - 1:40 pm

      It is a major PITA to migrate from Blogger to other platforms. It’s possible, but it isn’t as easy and clean as bouncing from WP.com to a hosted WP.org solution.

      And now that it’s easy to also migrate subscribers from wp.com to a wp.org site, it’s a no-brainer.

      Kristen and I are looking at migrating her site over to hosted wp.org with us.

  33. #85 by ecommerce.apple.com on November 11, 2014 - 11:18 pm

    I do believe all off thhe concepts you have introduced for your post.
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