Did you know that there’s not one but two versions of WordPress? While WordPress.com might seem like the logical start for your WordPress site, if you want a website you can own and customize, WordPress.org is the one to use. Here’s what makes them very different platforms!
WordPress.com is more or less the version of the platform everyone knows, and casual users can set up a small website at no cost. Many people use it because it’s one of the more professional-looking blogging sites available. To its credit, the dot com version of WordPress is a quality choice for hobbyists and family bloggers who don’t plan on monetizing their online presence. But for those looking to use it as a small business platform, don’t expect much – WordPress.com has many, many limitations.
For starters, you can’t remove WordPress ads or branding from your dot com site, and they run ads – your users will see them, but you won’t make money. In fact, you aren’t even allowed to sell ads on your website, limiting the ways to monetize. You get only 3GB, which is very limited disk space; after that, the site will force you to switch to a paid plan for more space. You also can’t install plugins or any themes that aren’t the default options of the platform.
But don’t let that put you off WordPress as a company; they still have the most practical, useful, and even very cost-effective platform up their sleeve. This is WordPress.org, and when you hear about a website built using “WordPress,” it uses this version!
Why WordPress.org Is For You
WordPress.org is the open-source cousin of WordPress.com, and it’s the site the SlyFox team uses for our clients. We can purchase a domain name and use this dot org platform without having to change the domain name system, or DNS – WordPress.org does this for us! This option gives us many more customization options: we can install plugins, use open-source website themes made for this platform, add widgets, and do almost anything else you want on your site. We can also monetize your website, a great feature for small businesses.
The best part of the dot org version is that you own your website and all the content and data on it, not WordPress. Your site is not at risk for being disconnected because a higher-up decides that your site goes against their terms of service (so long as you’re not doing anything illegal). You – and by proxy, your web designer, i.e. us – are in full control.
It’s also a platform that makes your finished website more useful. On the web, data is everything – it tells us what works, what doesn’t, and the topics for which your key audiences are looking. WordPress.org lets us use important tools like Google Analytics for customizable information, trends, and tracking.
The accessibility of the dot com side of WordPress can trick some users into thinking a full website can be made through this blogging platform. The lack of customization, free themes, and plug-ins can make what was supposed to be a DIY build a frustrating experience. This is why WordPress.org is available: it lets people who can make professional websites do so at a price that’s perfect for small businesses. If you have a vision for a site, the SlyFox team can bring it to life using WordPress.org!