I have been asked no less than 5 times this week by real estate agents, “What’s the difference between WordPress .org vs WordPress .com?” As any good real estate technology guru will tell you, if you have to answer a question more than twice, write a blog post about it. WordPress.com is the exact same software as WordPress.org. The difference comes down to cost, hosting, and customization.
WordPress.com is free (mostly). There are a few features that you can pay for such as additional storage space for your images (as low as $20 per year), a custom design ($30 per year) or getting rid of the ads that WordPress occasionally pops up on your website ($30/year). Yes, that is right. Because you get WordPress for free, they use advertising on YOUR site to help cover their costs.
With WordPress.com, hosting is a non-issue. Everything is hosted on their servers with backups and security taken care of for you. They also control all of the updates, so you will always have the latest and greatest. Nice, huh?
This is where WordPress.com falls short – VERY short. You have a limited number of themes you can use, most of which are very basic although premium themes are available for a price. You are also limited in the ability to provide much in the way of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or adding things like an indexible IDX system.
WordPress.org is also free software. The difference here is that any features that you want such as custom designs and themes will have to be purchased independently or developed on your own. However, these designs and themes will often be much more user friendly and advanced that what you are able to get on WordPress.com. On top of this, you will never have an advertisement on your website unless YOU put it there.
With WordPress.org, you will have to host the website on your own server (which you probably don’t have) or on someone else’s server. The cost varies depending on your useage and your needs, but I pay less than $7 per month through GoDaddy to host all of my websites. Right now, they are running a discount for $1.99 Web Hosting for the first 3 months. Sweet huh? And because you have your own hosting, you can use features like an indexible IDX system and upload larger files through the use of an FTP server/system if you ever need to.
This is the granddaddy of the differences – WordPress.org is fully customizable with the only limitations of either your knowledge (if doing it yourself) or your budget (if you hire someone to do it). The sky truly is the limits here. WordPress.org inherently allows for much better search engine optimization, utilizing things like video and chat, and much, much more.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
If you are serious about business, you absolutely must have a self-hosted website through WordPress.org. It may cost you a few extra dollars a year but the return on investment will be exponential. However, WordPress.com is still a good platform for learning about WordPress and seeing if this is something you will actually do and like instead of paying in advance for something that will go to waste.
Do you have questions on WordPress? Are you rocking a WordPress site? Reply below!