To .com or to .org?

Rubiks cube with the WordPress logo; MH@H post: to .com or .org?

Let’s say you have a WordPress.com blog. You want to be able to do more with your blog than you’re able to do with the Premium plan. So, what now?

The two options you’ll probably be looking at are the WordPress.com business plan or going self-hosted.  So how do you decide whether to do WordPress.com or .org?

As a little bit of background, by WordPress.com blogs I mean any blog that’s actually hosted on WordPress (regardless of whether or not you have your own domain name), where you have the free, personal, premium, etc. plan.  Self-hosted blogs have their own hosting site (with whatever domain name they choose) that’s entirely separate from WordPress, and WordPress.org provides the framework for you to build your blog.

With self-hosted, you get full control over your site.  Themes, plugins, anything and everything; WordPress gives you the skeleton, and you can go to town from there.

However, as they say, with great power comes great responsibility.  Everything that needs doing to maintain your site is all on you.

With the WordPress.com business plan (or e-commerce plan), you get a lot more freedom than with other WordPress plans.  You can install plugins that do all sorts of things, including setting up ecommerce on your site, connecting to Google Analytics, setting up Google AdSense ads, and more.

Google Analytics is useful if you’re wanting to do brand collaborations so they’re able to see how much traffic your site is getting (although from my own playing around, it appears to give an underestimate because it doesn’t count views in the WP app).  Being able to use AdSense gives you a lot more control over how you display ads on your site than if you go with WordPress WordAds, which are available on the personal plan.

With the business plan, like other WordPress.com plans, WordPress takes care of all the behind the scenes backup, security, updating, and other maintenance.  The business plan gives you priority to WordPress “happiness engineers”, who will sort out any problems you manage to get yourself into.

I upgraded to the WordPress.com business plan in August.  Will my site generate enough revenue over the next year to pay for itself?  I highly doubt it.  Will I renew the business plan next summer?  Too early to say.  One thing I’m pretty sure of, though, is that I won’t be switching over to self-hosted.

A major part of that is that I don’t want everything to be my problem.  I want as little as possible to be my problem, even if that ends up costing me money.  And migrating over a site from .com to self-hosted sounds like a huge pain in the ass in practice, even if in theory it’s not supposed to be hard. My friends Mike and the gang over at Our DID Journey put it this way: “Breathing on a self hosted WordPress system is enough to break it.”

Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it?

Another major issue I have with .org is around commenting.  I’m not sure if it’s the particular plugins individual sites use or what the deal is, but if I comment on someone’s self-hosted blog, I often don’t get a WordPress notification if they respond.  There’s the option to subscribe to email notifications, but a) I don’t want WordPress notifications clogging up my email because it would be way too overwhelming, and b) that ends up notifying me of all the comments, not just responses to my comment.

That means that often I just don’t end up seeing self-hosted bloggers’ responses to any comments I leave.  Granted, this has quite a bit to do with how I read blogs; the WordPress Reader is my starting point, so I’m not meandering around on people’s websites and going back to previous posts.  Still, being able to interact with my readers is a priority for me, and I’d be concerned about self-hosted potentially interfering with that.

 

What’s your experience been with either WordPress.com or .org (i.e. self-hosted)?  Have you thought about switching?

 

Mental Health @ Home Store: An inside look at the WordPress.com Business Plan

 

Thinking about upgrading your WordPress plan?  Check out this FREE inside look at the WordPress.com business plan, which includes plenty of screenshots so you can see what it would actually look like.  It’s available on the MH@H Store.

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15 thoughts on “To .com or to .org?

  1. Renard Moreau says:

    🙂 Now, it all depends on what a person intends to do with their blog.

    If their intention is to run a business-related blog, they are better off using WordPress.org because of full control from the very start.

    If a person wants to run a personal blog, any of the two will do.

    All bloggers should know that they are responsible for updating their plugins, widgets and the overall security of their WordPress.org blog.

    Whereas, the Happiness Engineers handle all of the security aspects of WordPress.com.

    If a person slips up with their WordPress.org blog, they could end up getting their site hacked or infected with malware.

    WordPress.com is ideal for the person who wants a blog of their own without the technological hassle.

    But do keep in mind, that WordPress.com has what is known as a ‘Terms of Service’ (Violation of it could lead to a person’s blog being terminated).

  2. Meg says:

    Oh my! Your blog post reminded me of why I dropped out of HTML class in college! Yikes! I guess it’s good I’m not trying to make money by blogging, because you went over my head a million times! I’m glad you understand it! You an internet guru!

  3. Melanie B Cee says:

    So I’m not sure you are seeing my comments, or know that I comment either. Because I’m a ‘free’ plan (.com) and refuse to pay. Except for the domain name, which I suppose is important, but I don’t know how other than keeping it exclusive to me. I now have ‘two’ sites (perhaps because I did purchase my domain name), one is .com and one is .blog. The .blog one sits unused. If I open it, the content is exactly the same as my free .com one. All the blogs that I have trouble commenting on (unless it’s through the Reader) are .blog or .org. I never saw any problems commenting, even cross other sites until this year. Something the happiness people have changed has messed up the comments. I wish they’d left it alone.

    • ashleyleia says:

      Yes, I see your comments. The comment notifications I was referring to are on blogs that aren’t hosted on WordPress at all. From what I can tell the problems with commenting on WordPress blogs that are on the business plan is a separate issue, and I’m surprised WordPress hasn’t taken care of that yet.

  4. Michelle says:

    I am too early in my blogging to decide that. I have looked into but I am website enough to know what I’m doing. I would have to a lot of trial and error. I have looked into upgrading my blog so I get more but I don’t want to lose money. I don’t feel like I would gain income to cover the cost and more. If I do upgrade to a plan, I want to gain income more than I lose it

  5. skinnyhobbit says:

    Mike also told me that self-hosted WP can make you want to blow your brains out. 🙂 I personally don’t have the know-how for self-hosted WP and would prefer a managed solution. But WP is expensive among the major “oh you want to set up a website quick and fast?” managed solutions like SquareSpace, Format and Wix. With good reason – immense customisation the others don’t have, though.

    Personally I am happy with free WP because I don’t ever intend to make a “brand” out of myself. But if I eventually did, I’d probably get the WP Business plan, even if I’d be operating at a loss.

    • ashleyleia says:

      WP also has the benefit of a large built-in potential audience. Setting up a Wix site or something similar seems like it would require a whole lot more hustle to try and get your site noticed by the world.

      • skinnyhobbit says:

        Oh definitely! I built a SquareSpace site pro-bono, along with a Facebook page, and it gets really little traffic. Still early days but I’m starting to worry about the ROI.

        In comparison, my WP blog gets more traffic from the WP reader alone, even though I never share my blog on Facebook and am hidden from search engines.

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