WordPress is my choice for a webhosting platform for both business and personal sites. I love its easy use and flexibility. The problem occurs when people confuse WordPress.com with WordPress.org they are the same but different, like an Oreo cookie pulled apart they are the same but each one has different amounts of frosting on it.
So you ready to take your business to the next level online. You are ready to devote some time to a blog or have already done some time on a blog. Let’s say for the simplicity of this article that you have chosen or are already using WordPress.com as your platform.
As many people out there know WordPress.com is a fantastic free web hosting service, it is a blog and more now. This excellent platform which is the brainchild of Matt Mullenwegg is so easy to use for creating your website or blog but there are a couple of caveats when using WordPress.com.
I wish to cover some of the more important things to think about before using WordPress.com. The biggest issue here is how much control do you want over your website? Do you prefer to have total control or can you handle giving over most of the control to a third party? The next Issue is suppose you have been at your blog for a while or it might even have taken off right away, now you want to monetize it can you do that on WordPress.com?
Maybe you’re interested in adding advertising or affiliate links to your blog two of the most popular ways to monetize a commercial blog. Can you do that? Well if your like me on this website which is running on WordPress.org you can but if you are on WordPress.com you can not add these things. If you add one single affiliate link to your blog on WordPress.com you can run afoul of the terms of service and have your site suspended.
Here is a direct quote from WordPress.com
“If a blog has been suspended for violating our terms, its domain/URL and content will not be returned.” From the suspended blogs page on WordPress.com
You will also be suspended if you try to run AdSense, Chitika, Yahoo or any other types of ads on your site. what they say on the advertising page, in the WordPress.com support section.
“Adsense, Yahoo, Chitika, TextLinkAds and other ads are not allowed on free WordPress.com blogs. If you would like to run ads on your blog, one of these options may work for you:
We have a feature called Ad Control that lets WordPress.com bloggers with a lot of traffic (generally 25,000 pageviews/month or more) and appropriate content turn on AdSense and Skimlinks for their blog and split the resulting revenues 50/50 with us.”
Well this means can actually run advertisements on WordPress.com, but only if you get your website delivering 25,000 or more page views a month AND you pay Automatic 50% of the money you make!
Well it all makes sense from a business point of view after all. Since WordPress.com is supplying you with free hosting, a fantastic program all setup and configured all you have to do is insert the content and promote it, they should get have of your earnings right??. — Ok sarcasm does not come though my writing very well yet but, I am working on it.
The main point here is that Automatic the company that runs WordPress.com has every right to make a buck off their hard work just as you have that right. The problem occurs that when you sign up for their hosting service you agreed to their TOS terms of service which prevent you from doing any advertising on your site except what they will allow and then sharing the revenue stream from it with them. But to give away half your earnings for some free hosting does not make allot of business sense.
Now like all those TOS (terms of service) agreements there are a few vague areas in this one also. The way I understand some of it is that you can mention your business (that’s mighty nice of them) you can even mention that your business is having a special deal on something. But, there is still a great deal that is unclear about what WordPress (Automatic) considers appropriate and inappropriate. With this kind of fog they could conceivably do what they will to your site if they see something they just don’t like.
With all these limitations from WordPress.com it makes so much more sense to simply create a blog/website like this one www.LauraMathes.com where you can add whatever you like as far as advertising goes to try and monetize your site. You can do this with the same excellent software used by WordPress.com by downloading it from WordPress.org completely free.
Then you can build you site your way, retaining all the freedoms to use whatever plugins you like/need keeping all the revenue you make for yourself. By doing this you can also add functionality to your site that will engage your readers and keep them coming back. You can do this for as little as $5 a month
As I said I love WordPress software (I have drunk the Kool-Aid), but I believe the limitations placed on the WordPress.com site make it a poor choice if you are planning a business website that you may want to monetize in the future. In fact WordPress.com seems to agree with this assessment as they say.. “You can run any ads you’d like if you manage your own WordPress installation” and they then suggest places you can get WordPress hosting.