The good news is, even the most technically challenged among us no longer has to hire someone to put up a website. My 7-year-old could do this.
Many online business owners operate on a tight budget to begin with. The temptation therefore is to use WordPress.com (or, less frequently, Blogger.com). Both of these platforms allow you to set up a blog for free.
If you are serious about your online business – I mean if you want to make any money at all – resist the free temptation and lay out a few bucks to host your own site using WordPress.org.
When it comes to using WordPress.com versus WordPress.org, you do in fact “get what you pay for.”
Now I don’t always buy into the “you get what you pay for” theory. I’ve never tasted any difference in the store brand macaroni and the name brand. But, the $20 jeans I buy my kids do have fewer holes in them than the $10 ones.
And WordPress.com will serve your hobby well, but could destroy your online business.
We could talk about the need for WordPress.org all day, but really, there are two big reasons your home business must have it. So let’s just get to the heart of it.
→ First, You Need to Own and Control Your Content←
With WordPress.com, you don’t own anything you put on your site. You don’t pay for hosting – they do. Which means they make the rules. And the rules are not online business-friendly.
Here’s a few of the big rules that should make you, the home business owner, run screaming for WordPress.org:
◊ No Adsense, Skimlinks, or similar ads allowed (unless you have a really popular blog ~ and then you have to split the profits 50/50 with them. What?!);
◊ No affiliate links to Clickbank allowed;
◊ No promotion of network marketing/MLM companies allowed;
◊ No blogs with the primary purpose of promoting affiliate products or network marketing products allowed.
Even if you have your own products, these rules are bad news for your online business.
Chances are that someday you are going to want to joint venture with others and promote an affiliate product here and there. Do it on WordPress.com and you could find your blog – and all your hard work – has vanished into thin air one day . . .
→ Second, You Need to Control the Look & Features of Your Blog ←
Three more disadvantages come with not owning your blog. First, you can’t install a custom header on your blog, which means you’re stuck with their themes. For branding purposes, you need a picture of yourself in your header – which isn’t happening on WordPress.com.
Second, you can’t install any plug-ins on WordPress.com blogs. For SEO purposes and for tracking your business stats, plug-ins are a must. You’ll also want special plug-ins to enhance commenting and sharing of your blog posts. Again, not happening on WordPress.com.
Finally, if you host your site on WordPress.com, everyone knows it. For example, my website would be www.JenniferHerndon.wordpress.com.
So what if it’s not pretty, you say? Well, that’s not the point. You are not going to be taken seriously with “wordpress” in the middle of your domain name. Not by potential JV partners, other marketers you want to connect with, and (depending on your niche) your customers.
If you are 100% unable to make the change today, you can spend a few dollars and buy a domain name from WordPress.com and they will redirect your blog to that domain. This means “wordpress” won’t show up in your domain name.
But this is a temporary fix only. It doesn’t fix any of the above problems that we talked about. It just makes you look good. Which is nice, but not near as nice as being good. And that’s what WordPress.org will do for you!