If you are reading this article, this means that you are ambitious and determined to create a website. You most probably have received information from a lot of different sources but nothing unequivocally comprehensible. You still can’t make out what is the best way to create a website. First, let’s talk about the platform of your website. There are a lot of different CMS (Content Management Systems) to choose from. Selecting the appropriate platform will mean implementing a long term viable solution.

There are a lot of free website building platforms which will let you use their hosting service and assign a sub-domain. This is an excellent temporary solution, but you will not be able to reap all the benefits of doing business online by this method. Choosing a free website building platform could be a temporary solution to creating an attractive blogging website but not a business website. Let’s look at the factors involved in choosing the appropriate platform.

Choosing A Feasible Platform

There are platforms which require the user to understand programming languages, and then there are user-friendly platforms. These user-friendly platforms require some basic HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) or CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) knowledge. The three most popular platforms are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Each one of these platforms has its pros and cons, but the most popular platform is WordPress. One-third of the websites on the internet are built in WordPress.

Even within the WordPress platform, there are 2 different versions to choose from for users. One is the fully hosted WordPress.com version which is free for all users. The other is the WordPress.org version which may be a little more expensive but lets users implement customizations based on their website design. Let’s look at the unique differences between the two versions of WordPress.

Unique Characteristics of WordPress.com & WordPress.org

Although the name is the same but WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two distinctly unique platforms. New users often use the names interchangeably as if they were one, this is not the case. WordPress.com has two versions in itself. The first is the Free Version of WordPress, and the other one is the Business Version. WordPress.org has only one version. Each version has its distinct advantages and drawbacks. Let’s look at the details of each.

1.     Hosting:

The free version of WordPress.com administers free hosting with a limit of 3 GB of storage. However, the Business version of WordPress.com starts from $300 a year and manages unlimited storage space which comes with the customization and the tools to remove ads.

With WordPress.org you need to pay monthly for your hosting through a hosting provider. You can choose from a multitude of different hosting providers. Keep in mind that for high traffic websites, hosting can become very expensive very quickly.

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2.     Domains:

In the free version over the .com platform, custom domains are not allowed, so users are limited to subdomains. Your final website will display advertisements so that they can make a profit. For $36 a year you can get the personal plan which includes custom domains and removes ads but no customization. The premium plan costs $99 a year. Moreover, it’s business version administers free domain for one year.

WordPress.org gives you the facility to pay a yearly domain registration fee.

3.     Free Themes:

In the free version of .com users are limited to the selection of WP free themes available in the library. None of these themes can be customized nor can users upload any custom themes. The $ 99 per year version delivers theme customization options.

The business version of WordPress.com administers full support for all themes and the facility to upload third-party themes.

WordPress.org supports comprehensive themes. Users have the choice to use to protect their WordPress content with commercial or custom ideas and the ability to customize existing themes with full control.

4.     Monetization:

Free users cannot sell advertisements on their website. Users becoming a high traffic website (exceeding 25,000 monthly views) may apply for revenue sharing with advertising. The $ 99/year package administers monetization support.

WordPress business users get instant access to the WordAds program instantly.

While the users of .org can place as many ads as they like using any ad service of their choice. The best part is you get to keep 100% of all the earnings from those ads and nothing to share with the platform.

5.     Plugin Support:

Free users do not have access to upload any paid, free or custom plugins. There are plugins like built-in features which they can use. Furthermore, the business package of $300 a year gives access to users to install third-party plugins.

WordPress.org users can install any custom, paid or free plugin. They can even install the best security plugins to accelerate the performance of their overall website design.

6.     Branding:

Free users of WP.com must mention the words “Powered by” on their website in addition to having free ads which they do not profit from. “Personal” users can remove this phrase by paying $36/year and “Premium” users at $99/year.

Business users of the same forum paying $300 per year can choose to remove the ‘Powered by’ link.

WordPress.org gives users the freedom to do as they choose. They are under no obligation to include anything next to their brand name.

7.     SEO Features:

No SEO support for free users since they do not have the authority to choose which plugins to install on their website. Despite, users availing the business plan can install third-party plugins to monitor and maximize their SEO.

On the other hand, WP.org users can install third-party SEO specific tools. They can also get specialized content prepared by experts at Australian Master to use on their website.

8.     Analytics:

Free users get access to a built-in analytics version which delivers statistics. Free users cannot install third-party analytics which may be more effective. If you pay $300 per year as a business plan, then you are allowed to install a third-party analytical plugin, like Google Analytics.

WordPress.org users can install any third-party analytics plugin which is viable to the primary function of their website. This could be MixPanel or Kissmetrics or any other plugin which seems appropriate based on the main market of the website.

WordPress.org is The Clear Winner

In addition to these features, there are some factors which are ultimately not supported by WordPress.com. For example, an online vendor wants to make an online store. With WordPress.com you cannot create an online store. WordPress.org can build an e-commerce website. This is because WordPress.org provides support to make payments through third-party payment vendors (i.e., PayPal, Payoneer, Bitcoin, CC, etc.).

WordPress.org is the clear winner because it also has the capabilities to a membership site. Let’s say you have a number of students you want to provide access to paid academic content. You don’t want to give access to all the students. Creating usernames for all the students and ensuring access accordingly is the best solution. WordPress.org supplies the necessary to support to create multiple level usernames, restricted access, and drip content.

Amanda Jerelyn

Amanda Jerelyn is a qualified Master’s in HR Management from the University of London. She administers academic support to marketing students at AcademistHelp.

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