Free, or Self-Hosted – That’s the choice you face when you start your own blog.
Taking on the challenge of starting your company’s blog to implement an inbound marketing plan is easier than it seems.
When starting out as a beginner, there are a few things you need to consider before you get started.
(Note: HeadsUp Marketing uses WordPress.org for our and our clients’ blogging needs. For this, article, we will be focusing on WordPress. There are plenty of options out there, but we highly recommend WordPress.)
The first process in setting a blog up is deciding if you will use free hosting, such as WordPress.com. Or if you will self-host and pay for a Content Management Software (CMS), such as WordPress.org.
That is the main difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
Free Hosting: What is WordPress.com?
This free option gives you all the tools you need to cover the basics for a blog.
You can upgrade as you go if you decide the basics aren’t enough. For example, WordPress.com has limited theme support.
So if you decide later you want full theme (the template for your blog design) support, you can pay for it.
This option means WordPress will provide the hosting for your website. Again, there is a free option, but it’s very limited.
In the free option, your domain name will be something like myname.wordpress.com. You can buy your own domain name (mycompany.com) and still continue to host through WordPress.com. For $30 per year, you can remove third-party ads.
These are just a couple of possibilities to consider when hosting with WordPress.com.
The benefits for WordPress.com are added protection, automated site backups, and proven security.
The drawbacks are difficulties making changes to the code (even beginners will learn they want to make changes, no plugin access (a major con) and limited theme options (about 200).
Self-Hosted: WordPress.org Overview
In a very basic description, WordPress.org is where “WordPress” software is available for the public to use on their own.
This goes for all the plugins (additional software) you can use (most are free, some premium ones are paid). Plugins add tons of additional capabilities like optimizing your website for search and added security features.
This option is the best for those that know what they’re doing. Or it is a very viable and affordable option to hire a company. They can setup and manage your own site for you to help grow your business.
The sky is the limit with WordPress.org. You won’t have to pay to remove third-party ads. And the software offers full theme support.
While the software if is free, it will require a web host (like GoDaddy.com). And, well, hosting is not.
Hosting for small to medium sites costs around $7-$15 per month; plus, you have to renew your domain name annually.
Which Should I Use?
Using WordPress.com offers you a free way to get started, practice blogging, and get the feel for the software. (You can migrate from hosting with WordPress.com to self-hosting platforms anytime).
Though cost should not be your most important factor.
If you’re going to invest your time into a blog (and every business should), then you should also plan on paying some money to get the most out of your time.
It’s up to you to determine which to use.
Free is great for personal blogs that serve as a platform for your voice.
But if you want a professional site, WordPress.org will give you the most return on your investment.