If you are considering creating a blog, you might feel a little intimidated when it comes to the actual mechanics of getting started.  You’ve probably heard of WordPress, but do you know there are actually two different WordPress sites to choose from?  Your choice of which to choose will largely depend on what you want to accomplish with your blog.  Are you blogging merely for a creative release or do you want to make money with blogging?  How do you know which WordPress site to choose? Here is a breakdown of each to help you make the right choice.

WordPress.com is a great option if you aren’t in it to make money and don’t want a customized theme.   All the software is managed for you so you can simply sign up and design your site.  It’s quick and easy to get going, but you don’t have complete control over your site.  You don’t need any technical knowledge and won’t be responsible for maintaining the site or installing updates.

With WordPress.com, you will have to use one of their free themes unless you pay for upgrades.  It can get pricey if you decide later you want more control over your blog such as removing ads or choosing a custom domain name.  Domain mapping and additional storage is another fee you may incur.  Although this commercial site hosts your basic blog for free, it also comes with a great deal of limitations.  For example, in order to create a membership or an e-commerce site, you will need to pay for the optional upgrades. You also cannot install custom plug-ins without upgrading.  In the long run, it will be much pricier to customize your blog using WordPress.com than WordPress.org.  That’s why it’s so important to lay out your long-term goals prior to choosing one or the other. 

With WordPress.org, you get your own copy of their blogging software for free, but you face the task of choosing your own hosting site for your blog and domain name.  A major advantage of choosing this option is that you have total control over your site and your use of the WordPress software.  It also has a large network of forums and documentation you can search if you need help. 

Choosing a Canadian web hosting company and paying for a domain name will be additional expenses to factor in if you choose WordPress.org.  Common shared hosting sites can cost only a few bucks a month.  If you don’t need a managed virtual server (VPS) a managed cloud server or a managed dedicated server, this may be a good option.  A managed server package, however, will cost quite a bit more.  Basic domain names are also fairly cheap, but this cost can vary depending on what extension you pick.

WordPress.org gives you the ability to customize your blog.  You are limited only by the terms of your web hosting company.  You can use any theme or plug-in and even include your own chosen ads if you want to try your hand with Google Adsense.

To sum it all up, if you want to blog simply for the sake of blogging and don’t want to deal with the technical hassles, then WordPress.com might be right for your blog.  It lets you write, but the free service offers little in the way of control or modification.   If you need that control and customization within your blog, however, you should consider WordPress.org for the freedom it affords.

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