WordPress.com is a great starting point for new bloggers. It gives you a taste of WordPress usage without having to pay for hosting, pay for a domain (unless you really want one), or worry about installing plugins or themes. However, for those who are planning to be a professional blogger, WordPress.com just won’t cut it. Allow me to explain.
First, let me define what I mean by a professional blogger. By a “professional blogger” I mean a blogger who places ads on their blog(Google Adsense, Affiliate Links, Sponsored Links/Banners/Ads), receives products for review, or receives money in exchange for blog posts.
Now for the reasons why professional bloggers should not use WordPress.com (at least not the free version). I’m going to save the main reason for last, so bear with me here.
1) No Plug-ins – WordPress.com does not allow you to install any of the thousands of plugins that are available to self-hosted WordPress users. If you think you’ll need the use of plugins, WordPress.com’s free service is not for you. While WordPress.com offers Premium & Business (paid) options, it appears that neither of them allow you to install your own plugins. Professional bloggers need plugins to keep their sites running the way they want them to.
2) Limited Theme Options – FREE WordPress.com has limited theme options and for the best themes available, you’ll have to either pay for the theme or upgrade to Business ($299/year) to get “free” access to those themes. Even then, there are still limited theme options as you are still limited to whatever themes are offered in the Appearance > Themes area.
3) Ads – Free WordPress.com serves up on ads on your blog – ads you won’t get money from. You can get rid of those ads for as little as $99/year.
4) You Can’t Make Money Off Your Blog – This is the biggest reason I can think of that WordPress.com (at least the free version) is not for Professional Bloggers. Free WordPress.com’s terms of service state that you may not receive compensation in any form for any post, banner, button, or link you place on your blog. Simply put, no making money off WordPress.com’s free service.
Now I have not tried WordPress.com’s Premium ($99/year) or Business ($299/year) services because I’ll be honest, I’ve been on self-hosted WordPress for so long, I can’t imagine using WordPress.com’s premium services for any reason. I have so much more control over my blogs than I would on WordPress.com and the descriptions of their premium services really don’t give me confidence as far as having more control over my blogs.
I highly recommend if you are planning on taking your blog to a professional level that you put purchase hosting and run self-hosted WordPress.