I wish someone had told me this earlier. All the pro bloggers urge us to create self-hosted WordPress blog. I understand that they give a more professional look, control over code and monetization options. But how can I say that I am just taking my first baby step. I know there are many of us who are hiding behind their screens thinking whether to start a blog or not. To be blunt, blogging is not going to make us rich overnight. It will take hours of hard work and dedication.
Having a self-hosted blog is not going to make you rich if you are not giving your 200% to your blog. Yes, you read it right. It takes a lot more than what you think. A blog is just like building your own online community. You need loyal readers who are interested in your content.
I decided to take my baby steps! I started a free blog with WordPress.com account. The reason why I chose WordPress is, at any time when you want to go to a self-hosted website, I can directly backup my database and migrate to WordPress.org. There is a clear difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.WordPress.com is a platform where you can create a blog with four different plans. We will discuss plans further. All the code is maintained by WordPress.com team. Thus you do not need to worry about technical stuff. On the other hand, WordPress.org is a platform which is just like any other platform to host your self-hosted website. It gives you complete control over code and you are the one who is going to handle all technical details on your blog. Both of them have live support option depending on the plan you chose.
You can create a blog using WordPress.com with four different plans. Free, Personal, Premium and Business.
- A Free blog allows you to host a blog under wordpress.com domain. Your blog name looks something like this: ~sampleblog.wordpress.com~. There will be hundreds of free themes you can use. WordPress.com is going to show Ads on your website. Becuase it takes some cost for WordPress to host your blog and constant maintenance of it. So they display Ads to advertise about their platform. This is one of the best options to choose for people who want to blog as a hobby.
- A Personal blog allows you to chose a custom domain name (note: You may need to pay for it). You will be given Email and Live Support from WordPress.com team called Happy Engineers! I loved their name 😉 Both Free blog and Personal Blog comes with 3GB storage space. On a personal blog, WordPress.com Ads are removed. There will be WordPress.com branding at the footer, though.
- A Premium blog comes with 13 GB storage space allowing you to integrate Audio and Video files into your posts. This is going to help those bloggers who have YouTube channels. They can directly link to their video or upload a video on blog only. You can monetize your blog on WordPress.com using WordAds program. WordAds program is designed specifically for WordPress blogs featuring Ads from external networks Google, FaceBook etc. Premium and Business plan blogs are having automatic access
to WordAds whereas other users with moderate to high traffic and with appropriate content can apply for WordAds. Learn more about WordAds here.
- A Business plan is for those who are taking their blog to next level. It comes with unlimited Premium themes, Unlimited storage, and Google Analytics Integration.
All the WordPress.com branding will be removed your blog. It will be more like a self-hosted website where all the technical stuff will be maintained by WordPress. You will also have access to video support! Google Analytics Integration will be really helpful when you want to monetize your blog and analyze your blog’s traffic.
You can always create a free WordPress.com blog and upgrade when you want. I suggest you sign up with a custom domain which comes for as low as 3$ per month (Personal Plan). When you sign up with some random URL, it will be difficult for your readers to recognize you when you upgrade with some different URL. Choose a URL that is close to your blog’s niche. Do not try hard for a URL because it is already taken. Let us say, you want the following URL:
If it is not available, do not try something like this:
~www.sampleblog.com~ or ~www.sampleblog567.com~
It will be difficult for your readers to remember all those numbers you have added. Imagine you are saying your blog name to your friend like it is ~www.sample1blog4.com~. Sounds weird right? Choose the right domain name. You are going to stick with for a while. So chose wisely!
Now you are familiar with all the WordPress.com plans and the type of domain names you may want to choose. Let’s get into detail. You can create your own blog using WordPress.com in 5 easy steps.
- Choose what want to blog about. Based on that you will be given theme recommendations in next steps!
- How do you want to your site to look like? This will give you themes with a similar design. I suggest choosing a grid theme for a food blog and list of latest posts for DIY and LifeStyle blogs.
- Choose a theme for your site! Based on your design you will be given hundreds of themes to choose from. If you want to know which themes I used and I really liked, check out my resources page.
- Let’s find a Domain. This is the place where you can choose a default WordPress.com blog which is free or you can buy a custom domain as per your needs. As you can see, there will be options for you to upgrade to a Personal or higher plan.
- Final step. Create Your Account! here you will provide your mail address and password for WordPress.com and your blog is created.
So why do I chose WordPress.com site over WordPress.Org site? The reason is, I have a day job and I am not working from home. I work on my blog over weekends to interact with passionate bloggers and bloggers to be. I still look at my blog as a hobby over a business. Thus I stick to WordPress.com site. I promised myself that I am going to take all the pain when I want to go for WordPress.Org site.
Last but not the least, you cannot monetize your blog with third-party ad networks like
Google AdSense, OpenX, LIjit etc on WordPress.com. For this, you need to host your blog using WordPress.Org. You may want to see all the monetization related articles from WordPress.com here. You can use MailChimp Subscriber Pop Up for collecting email IDs for your readers. But you cannot use embedded HTML forms from MailChimp for email subscription lists. Learn more about MailChimp widget here.
Want to know more? Here is an article from WordPress explaining the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.Org.
Planning to Organize your blog content? Here is a freebie for you!