When you are just thinking about learning to blog, WordPress.com may sound like a great idea because of one simple reason – it’s free! I did the same thing when I started exploring my options.
However, if you are serious about your personal/professional branding, and you know what you are going to share with the world, you need to be serious about how you choose your platform.
Interestingly, WordPress and blogging are almost synonyms these days. You search for blogging in Google and you will end up find more than you can chew about WordPress.
And that is great! WordPress is the most popular platform on the internet for bloggers and content marketers, period!
But WordPress is not the same as WordPress.com and sometimes, because the latter is available for free, it sounds more appealing to starters.
Why WordPress.com Seems Amazing For Beginners
When everybody is singing the praises of WordPress, it is easy to choose WordPress.com as your free blogging platform, especially since it’s offered by the same guys who run the show for WordPress tool itself.
Who doesn’t want to get all the benefits of using WordPress CMS by simply signing up for a free account atWordPress.com?
The guys at WordPress handle all the technical stuff for you and I know how pleasing that is. You don’t have to worry about things you don’t want to learn anyway, right?
Oh yes, and there is one little inconvenience that your free blog’s URLs have wordpress.com appended to it (something like ‘YourBlog.wordpress.com’). But WordPress.com gives you a cheap solution for that as well. For less than $15 a year, you can give it a professional look by mapping your own domain to it. Pretty simple!
Everything seems so awesome that it’s a hard deal to refuse for anybody starting out. However, there are reasons you need to refuse this deal if you are serious about your blogging career.
What are my reasons for saying so?
Well, let’s discuss this further.
12 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use WordPress.com For Blogging
If you don’t care about making money and blogging is just another of your hobbies, you may be okay with WordPress.com. Actually, you may be better off being with them because you wouldn’t need to deal with technical aspects of your blog for the most part.
But, if that’s not you and you are looking to build a legacy for yourself and perhaps a blog that will generate money for you online, you have to take a serious look at these cons of using WordPress.com as your platform.
1. You Only Get 3GB Of Space For Free
You get only 3GB of space for free when you sign up for a blog at WordPress.com. Now, it might look like a lot to you when you’ve not yet started blogging but if you really think about it, once you upload a few images, documents, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations, you will soon run out of space.
Another thing is, without the space upgrade, you are not allowed to upload audio files on your blog. That means, if you are thinking about audio podcast or sharing a few of your music audios through your blog, space upgrade is a must. And that means, you will have to pay for space upgrade which comes at a premium price starting at $20 per year for 10GB space.
2. You Are Restricted To Use A Theme They Approve
When you are going to setup a website for yourself (or your business), don’t you want to make your website have its own look and feel? If not totally unique, you want to have a control on how things look at least, isn’t it?
Well, first of all, WordPress.com allows you to get a theme from their pre-approved library of themes they allow you to browse when you sign up. That means, your website will have to look like one of those other thousands of websites that are using the same themes for the same reason as yours.
How wonderful is that?
Now, isn’t it possible that you may not like any of their approved free themes? Well, they allow you to pay for a pre-approved premium theme with a better design and a few more features in it starting at about $50 per theme. However, don’t be mistaken, you still won’t be able to make any modifications to the theme even though you paid for the theme.
3. Theme Customizations Are Limited Even If You Pay
WordPress.com does allow you to upgrade your account for customizing your theme’s look and feel by modifying your fonts and use your own CSS code for additional styling. This feature is available to you if you pay another $30/year.
Does it mean you will be allowed to modify your theme’s layout to your liking? Not really!
Let’s say you want to change the placement of one of your website elements which requires the theme files to be modified.
Guess what, WordPress.com does not allow you to alter the underlying structure of any of their themes. You've run out of luck!
4. They Can Change Your Blog’s Theme Without Your Permission
If WordPress.com guys decide that the theme you have been using is not good for any reason, they will remove your theme without your permission and change it to something else.
It has happened for people (rare thing but it does happen) and you need to be aware of this risk. You can verify with WordPress.com support and let me know if you learn it otherwise.
Can you imagine the negative impact of this on your conversion rates?
6. You Will Not Be Able To Use Popular Analytics Tools
Most analytics softwares want you to install a piece of code in your theme files and because that is not allowed at WordPress.com, you will not be able to use any such softwares on your blog.
You may not understand the importance of using an advance analytics at this time. But trust me, as you grow your blog, you will regret the decision to be at WordPress.com if you aren’t able to use Google Analytics.
7. WordPress.com May Run Ads On Your Blog Unless You Pay Them
If you think WordPress.com is really free, you’ve been mistaken my friend!
They reserve the right to display ads on your site. However, they do allow you to pay an extra $30/year and then they will allow you to have your blog ad-free. And even then, you still have to keep copyright links such as “Blog at WordPress.com” on your site .
All WordPress.com bloggers are required to maintain the credit links as required by their terms of service.
8. You Can’t Run Ads On WordPress.com Powered Blog
They do not allow banner image ads or third-party advertising networks like Google AdSense, OpenX, Lijit, BuySellAds, and Vibrant Media at WordPress.com platform.
However, they may allow you to sell ads on your site when you have a significantly high traffic situation with your blog (something like 25,000 pageviews per month). But, you will have to apply for this program they call WordAds. And then, according to a friend, they will ask you to split your revenues with them. Now, that’s not fun, is it?
9. Affiliate Links Are Allowed But Very Restrictive
If you plan on making money by placing affiliate links on your blog, you definitely want to stay away from WordPress.com because you may end up in trouble. For more information, check out what their support says about affiliate links.
Again, if making money through affiliate links is not your goal, this may not be your reason for staying away from WordPress.com. However, for a lot of people, it is.
10. They Will Not Give You Any Email Storage
When you are using WordPress.com, you will not have any storage or a way to configure your custom email with your domain name as you usually get when you have a self-hosted website.
All the shared hosting service providers give you a lot of space and email addresses to configure with your domain name when you host your WordPress website with them. However, the same is not true when you go for WordPress.com. You will still be depending on your Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail accounts for email and obviously that isn’t very professional, is it?
11. You Need To Be A VIP Member To Use Custom Plugins
WordPress is so popular because of its strengths with so many plugins. Last I heard, there are more than 30 thousand WordPress plugins and counting.
For example, you may want to restrict the number of times anybody can attempt to log into your website and if you are a self-hosted blog, you will simply install a free plugin for it, and you are done!
But for security reasons (as they say), you’re not allowed to use any third-party plugins when you host your site for free on WordPress.com.
However, in spite of this restriction for free members, if you upgrade your account to become WordPress.com’s VIP member by paying just $3,750 / month, they will let you install custom plugins. Isn’t that such an amazing feature?
I don’t know about you but I don’t have that kind of money. I will rather hire my own dedicated server, hire a full time developer in India and still pay less than $3750 to have much better control on my website.
12. They Can Shut Down Your WordPress Blog At Any Time
This is the bummer! Imagine you have this risk after going through all that we have discussed so far.
Their Terms Of Service very clearly states that WordPress.com “may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.”
It’s life, may be unintentionally or even unknowingly, if you ever happen to violate any of their Terms Of Service (do you really think you can remember them all at all times?) you risk losing your blog.
Why would you take that risk with your time, energy and intellect? And imagine you spent money on any of the features that they provide for money. How would you feel when something like that happen?
Self-Hosted WordPress Website Is The Way To Go
With all these risks, I will never host a website I am serious about with WordPress.com, will you?
The best option to host your website (especially if you are serious about your brand establishment and do not want to have all these issues down the line), is to host your WordPress on your own hosting space and then build your website from there.
Sometime ago, I wrote a post that has helped so many people setup their self-hosted WordPress websites. I want to share that post with you here so you can go over there and get a quick step-by-step guide that you can follow and setup your WordPress website easily. Here is the post for your reference:
Have Some Questions/Suggestions/Testimonials?
If you have any additional questions about this tutorial, please feel free to head over to the comment section and let me know. I will be glad to help you get your answers.
Also, if you know of any additional points that can add value/clarity to this topic, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.
Thank you kindly!
Couldn’t agree more…many years ago a business coach said to me if you are serious about blogging you will invest to stand out and that is what a non wordpress.com wordpress site let’s you do…it is part of your business marketing and brand so … people reading your article should be inspired to make the move away from wordpress.com as you share excellent reasons why not…
Good to hear from you!
My first blog was also on this platform. But then, I didn’t know any better and nobody told me why not to. Well, that caused me to lose time and SEO benefits in addition to a headache to port all that work again when I had to self-host.
The idea is to help those who can still avoid going through those hoops.
Have a great day!
Kumar, You hit the nail on the head! Hosting your own wordpress site is the only way to do it if you are serious about your blog. No only does it give you more control and options but it gives your readers a richer experience overall.
Absolutely! Thank you for putting it in a short but very concise manner. Have a great day!
While I would never use WordPress.com for my blogs, I had a long time ago at the beginning of WordPress, and also in those days I didn’t even know of the difference between the two.
Now, while I know the difference, I didn’t know that space was limited and that you couldn’t upload videos. Good thing to know for those who are thinking of using that platform.
That’s good that you wrote such a detail post letting people know exactly what they can expect with WordPress .com
Great information and have a wonderful week ahead!
Thank you Sylviane for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.
Like I said in my response to Sarupa, I used to use them in my initial days as blogger myself. That is the reason I felt the need to write a post like this to educate fellow entrepreneurs so that can make an informed decision.
I am glad to know you found this informative.
Thank you! And Have a great day!
The simple fact is that it isn\'t just WordPress.com that isn\'t worthwhile. Any free site — Blogger, Tumblr, Typepad, Wix, etc., etc., etc., and yes even Facebook — can and do have problems that are the same or similar to what you\'ve identified as problems with WordPress.com.
With Facebook, you have the Facebook name in your URL, you have to comply with their site design specifications, you have to comply with their advertising regs and they can and do cancel sites because they don\'t like the content and sometimes take possession of them from their "owners".
There's no such thing as a free lunch.Bottom line: Nothing is free about making money online and there are no magic buttons. There\'s one guy who puts up a new guide weekly on the WF. They\'re 16 to 18 pages (ten to 12 pages of actual content) but whether they work or not is a good guess.
The guy's talent is as a copywriter. To read his copy, you'd think your ship has come in. A mailing list I used to be on got to the point that it was hitting me eight times a day pushing every shiny, new object the publisher could find. I bought some of the guy's recommendations and most was garbage.
Most of it you could tell from the sales letter that it wasn\'t worth the $17 or $27 asking price.Remember, anything that is going to prove profitable online is going to cost some money and a whole lot of time.
Wow, never knew there was such a great number of reasons to not use WordPress.com. the great teacher Kimberly taught me that I need to use the one I use!! I never wavered cause I trusted her!! I;m going to guess that for some one with a simple bog to connect between family and close friends using wordpress.com would be good?
Yes Holly, People who have no branding needs, no desire to make money online or who don’t want to build a legacy of their own, may remain happy there.
But, for those of us who are ambitious and who want to be in control, WordPress.com is not the place to be at 🙂
Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.
Thank you for bringing this topic up. I’ve been blogging so long that I did know the difference. Well, at the beginning I did have a good teacher who explained it to me.
There are many people coming into the blogging world and this needs to be addressed. I’m sure glad you did!
Hi Donna, People were asking me by email and on phone. So, I thought it would be a good idea to make it a comprehensive guide and list the reasons why I don’t recommend WordPress.com for serious blogging.
Thank you for dropping by and sharing your thoughts about it. Have a great week 🙂
I’ve never used WordPress.com before as a blogging platform only because by the time I was told that I needed to move my site to a WordPress blog I was already paying for hosting. My site was a stand alone website before I moved it over to WordPress but I have used Blogger in the past. Of course at that time it was for promoting affiliate products and not building a business like I am today but I have since moved those over too. I learned quickly about not owning my own content.
I had no idea about all the restrictions with the dot come platform, wow. Thanks for sharing this and I had a talk last week with a guy that wanted to go that direction. Of course I always given them the same talk about if you’re serious you need to treat your blog like a business and invest in it but people are going to do what the heck they want. More lessons learned the hard way I suppose.
Thanks for sharing this with us and I’m going to pass this post on to him so he’ll be more aware of all the obstacles he’s going to be running into.
Have an awesome week and thanks again for the lesson.
Glad to know you found this useful to guide somebody you are currently guiding with website setup. Thank you for sharing this and your story.
I had been in similar situation with people asking questions about this thing and so I decided to make it a post so now, if the questions come, I can send them here 🙂
Have a great week and thank you for adding so much value through your posts and comments everywhere!
This is a great post and I wish I had read it when I started this blogging journey 3 or so more years ago. Everyone told me to use WordPress and of course I went with the free one because I didn’t know any better. Of course, even all the 12 things you talked about didn’t mean a thing to me even after people told me. It took a while, and 3 mentors before I finally understood what all these things meant and why I shouldn’t use the free site.
Definitely needed for new bloggers.
I was in the same shoe Barbara! I started just like you perhaps and by the way, I didn’t have any mentor either 🙂
Eventually, I realized, learnt my lessons and did my course correction. Now, I don’t want people who follow me and those whom I am guiding go through the same hoops and I hope this post helps.
Thank you for sharing your story!
Hello Mr. Kumar
I trust you are doing well.
I love this informative and detailed article on what wordpress.com offers….
When I started I was using them, and Ms. Adrienne called me and she took a look at my blog and explained the difference between the paying one and the free one. I am thankful that there are people in the blogging world that really want to help,
I will share this article because of the importance of it.
Thank you Mr. Kumar
Hello Ms Gladys,
It’s amazes me how much progress you have made in such a short period of time! From free WordPress.com to self-hosted and now onto managed hosting. It takes a business person to realize the need and make changes recognizing opportunities and challenges. I admire your ability to make right decisions.
Thank you for sharing your story!
Hello Kumar! I guess this is where we all start though HUH? I know I did. I actually never knew all the benefits of WP,org until I started using it more though. This is a great post, one I am going to share with a few friends who still think WP.com is the way to go. Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))
Yes, this is where we all start more of less 🙂 Glad you found it valuable enough to share with others. Thank you!
Have a great rest of the week!
You have said a mouthful! When I first started doing internet marketing, the thing to do was to start a blog and use this as the front end of your marketing strategy. At that time I really didn’t know the difference between wordpress and wordpress.com. But on a positive note, I’m glad I chose wordpress.com at the time.
Because I learned about all the restrictions LOL
But I have been recommending starting up with wordpress.com to those that have a slight interest in blogging. I let them know that it has a lot of limitations and what some of those limitations are, but if it works out for them, go for it. Other than that, start a self-hosted blog!
Thanks for sharing!
I was told when I was first coming online to go the self hosted way so I did. I knew WordPress.com meant you did not have control but I had no idea just how limiting it is having read your list.
I understand it is perhaps an easier option for people when they are learning but it seems a little crazy to go that way.
I am grateful I was educated in the beginning.
Now I also have an Empower blog which is a totally different platform, It is very easy to use and is able to be customized and I use my own domain there. It has a few limitations comparing it to WordPress.org but for newbies it is good.
A great post and thanks for the additional education on WordPress.com
Have a wonderful week Kumar.
This is exactly what I say to my blog school students. Think long term and think customization. The pro’s far outweigh any costs attached. Thanks for sharing
Kumar, I could relate to #12 – I had it happen to me. I got up on day and poof, the whole blog was gone! Imagine – all the work and time gone in a second. It had to many links to a retail website I had at that time. I did not realize about the space and how limited it is for WordPress.com – great tips for beginners to know and understand Kumar. I do have my resume on one, I wonder how that is? You got me thinking more 🙂
Sorry to hear about your trouble Lisa. Well, your story is a live testimonial of the fact that nothing is really free and when we rely on free blogging platforms like this, we risk losing everything in an instant.
Thanks for adding your testimonial.
Its better to choose a blogger blog in comparison to wordpress.com blog because most of the reasons you wrote here are not with blogger blog. You can even take a custom domain with a blogger blog.
But if you are serious about blogging, you should go for a self hosted WP blog and you don’t really have to pay a lot. There are many coupons available for GoDaddy or Hostgator & you can get one year deal in less than $50.
This was a great post on why creating your own blog from the get go is essential. I am very glad when i started blogging about 4 years ago i started off on my own blog. I sold the website a couple years ofter creating it. Luckily I didn’t create it on wordpress.com!
Lucky you! Had you started that on a WordPress.com platform, you couldn’t have even thought about selling 🙂
This is sooooooo true, I had a wordpress.com website and it went nowhere. Now I have wordpress.org and I am on fire. My Alexa Ranking in the USA is 23,000 and in the world its 145,000 which is awesome. Great post here.
Despite these disadvantages, I think WordPress.com is a great tool for beginners (even better is Blogger). Bloggers does have its limits (like Google could still shut you down…but that only happens if you violate their policies), but it provides you with even more features (compared to WP .com).
For instance, blogger allows you to run ads and affiliate marketing on your blog (and the professional themes allow us to set ourselves apart!).
I started out with Blogger – it was a great experience…learned a lot of the things (I am kind of glad I did start it that way….because it gave me an opportunity to learn about blogging and about setting up self hosted WordPress blog even before I switched over).
Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Kumar 🙂
Yes Jeevan, WordPress.com is a good tool for playing around. If you don’t know what you want to do and you want to learn stuff, certainly there is nothing better than a free platform to play with, right? But you know, it’s up to the individual to decide. I wouldn’t waste my time building a blog for a few years playing around to finally come to host my website losing out the fact that I would have gained a lot of SEO for my blog had it been my own domain when I launch.
Why would somebody serious about blogging will waste time building a blog on blogger or WordPress.com if he/she knows that ultimately self-hosted is the place they are going to go? Why would they not put that energy in playing around with their own hosting space (if they want to learn also) and get some SEO benefits if nothing else? Right?
You are very welcome. Glad you are now hosting your website and doing the right thing.
Yeah, that’s also a great point of think about (the advantage here might be our mistakes..if we are just starting out, there is a good chance that we will make a lot of mistakes…Moving to WP essentially gives us a chance to restart – like we try to do every new year 😀 Of course, there are disadvantages to this approach).
Of course, when we start out, we may not even know about the importance of SEO (or anything else) for that matter….we might have already made our decision with the blog (although it is relatively easy to switch platforms, especially during the first few months),
I started out with a custom domain on blogger, so it wasn’t too bad (Used a few plugins to redirect everything).
I hope you are having a great weekend!
Thanks for sharing your insights. I have only been blogging for a few months now (maybe 6 at most) and without a doubt I can say that .org is great even for beginners. After reading your list, I would only recommend .org. Again, great insights and we’ll be sharing them.
Thanks for the Inputs Kumar!! Its worth sharing with people.. Never realized that there are so many disadvantages.. I really liked the different perspectives you covered.. Thanks again for this post..
Sorry for coming in late this time – just been involved in a family wedding – back now 🙂
Oh yes…you are absolutely right about not using a WordPress.com site, though when most of us start blogging, we are totally unaware of what to do and not to do. I didn’t start on WordPress, but was on Bloggers for a few months, and being a writer and not a blogger earlier, I had NO idea about how to go about things.
However, once I started connecting with more bloggers and learnt about things – I moved ahead and brought my present one, and it certainly does work better in all the aspects. At least you know they can’t close it anytime and you can do a lot more where plugins are concerned too.
Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
Wow! So you are coming back from a wedding in family? That’s an experience I didn’t have in at least about 7 years 🙁 I know how much fun that is especially in India! Looking forward to our next gen kids getting to that age and hopefully I will be able to attend some and refresh my memories!
Well, WordPress.com is certainly a great place to play around, learn a few things, get used to blogging while you still are figuring out things. But, when you know that you are serious about it, that’s when self-hosted starts to make sense and then all these considerations become important. Like I said, I started with WordPress.com as well. But then, I graduated probably just like yourself.
Thank you for coming by and adding value through your story!
thanks so much for sharing this article in regard to why not using WordPress.com is better if you are serious about earning income from yoru blogging.
I knew most of what you listed above.. not because I studie=y it, but because many people I consulted in the past say similar things…
I have a place where I can host my blog with no problem and as we discussed already.. it is not a good idea for me to go and spend any extra money at this time because I am not ready for it.
Yoru in depth list sure have all what anyone need to make a decision. you sure are a professional and I am lucky to have known you through our B3 blogging group.
I am in transition at the moment and so your suggestions and tips will come handy when I am ready to make the move.
Thanks so much for sharing such great information.
It’s great to hear from you and glad to know that you are inching forward inspire of all the technical challenges!
I remember my discussion with you and I do agree to the fact that we must live within our means and invest out money wisely. You are doing the right thing.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us here. Have a glorious new week!
My coach said the exact same things to me but, the thing that really stuck with me was, the content you work so hard to put on your blog is not yours, because just like you said, they can shut you down for any reason or no reason at all.
I wasn’t aware of a lot of these other reasons but, they are all good reasons not to start your business with a free blog.
Thanks for an excellent post. 🙂
Thanks Kumar, I appreciate the time you took to respond to my Twitter comment. I like how you have laid out the information very simply here, yet in a detailed manner. I started my blog just over a month ago and it is quickly growing. The more I read and learn and absorb, I am realizing that I should have a WP.ORG account, and that I should probably make the switch NOW rather than Later !! I have two major concerns :
1.) Do you have any articles about migrating my .COM info to a .ORG site ?
2.) I paid extra to have quickmeups.com. I am worried I will lose this direct website, and this is part of my branding. Any tips to make sure I can maintain this site name for my new site ?
I will also search your site to see what hosting companies you recommend.
Glad you found this information informative enough to make your next move. Thanks for sharing your feedback.
Regarding migrating a website from WordPress.com to your self-hosted WordPress.ORG powered website, it is easier than you think. However, there are two options:
1. You can follow the instructional steps in this post and setup your self-hosted WordPress website yourself – https://www.gauraw.com/how-to-setup-your-self-hosted-wordpress-website-and-blog/ and then export all your content from .com website into here. If you get any questions, you can always ask me.
2. You can follow this post and I can get your migration done along with your website’s setup in a professional manner without losing any of your data – http://www.krishnawwteam.com/start-your-new-wordpress-website-on-your-domain-for-free/.
3. As a third option, you can opt-in for our Managed WordPress hosting solution (which is a bit of a costlier option because of the peace of mind we offer). Check out my hosting offer here: http://www.kwwhost.com
Whichever option seems the most optimal for you, you are to make your decision. But no matter what you choose, if you have a question or two, let me know. I will be glad to help you get this done.
Yes, you can maintain same site name and you will not lose any of your branding benefits. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Good luck to you!