Is it time to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.ORG?

Finally, WordPress.com makes it easier to switch over to a version of WordPress.ORG (self hosted version, that means it sits on your own hosting plan, instead of on their server, which gives you A LOT more freedom).  This used to be a chore to do, but WordPress.com has made it much easier with a new Premium option called Offsite Redirect.  Yes, Premium comes with a small cost, but nothing compared to the time and effort of the old way of accomplishing this.  It’s only $12 a yr.

So what does this Premium upgrade get you?  I’ll let them tell you with copy from their post about it called Hello, Goodbye: Offsite Redirect Upgrade – by Jane Wells

Purchasing the Offsite Redirect upgrade will take the traffic coming to your old wordpress.com blog and forward it to your new domain so that links to your old content won’t break and you won’t take an SEO hit as a result of your move. Oh, and unlike the old domain mapping/DNS workaround, the signup process is easy as pie. Mmm, pie. :)

So, now the question on your mind might be: Why would I want to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.ORG?

And, the answer is, if you are happy and have no complaints, stay where you are.  However, if you have ever wanted any of the following, it might be a good time to consider a move:

  • Your own domain name: OK, this one isn’t that much of a problem, because you could always point your own domain name to WordPress.com – and there is even a way to make it so all your pages follow through with that address, but there is a fee for that!  So, if you don’t want your address to be MyBlogName.WordPress.com, you have three choices:
    1. Buy a domain name and point it to your .WordPress.com account
    2. Buy the domain and then pay a Premium to have all your pages and posts reflect that name
    3. Use the self-hosted version of WordPress.ORG – as I said earlier, this reason alone may not be compelling enough, but read on…
  • Control of Ads: On occasion, the WordPress.com folks will throw an ad on your free .WordPress.com blog.  It is their way of keeping their service free (and they do provide a lot and ask little).  So, again, let’s compare the options.  The one concern is how they are placing the ads?  Are they relevant to your keywords?  Since I don’t know how they pick when to put an ad on someones site, it leaves some questions. And, though it is unlikely, I wonder if there is a chance they could put up an ad to your direct competitor?  Hopefully, they have a good system in place to avoid that, but here are your options, regarding ads:
    1. You can pay a Premium to remove these ads from your .com site/blog
    2. You can agree to do a 50/50 split to run your own ads now (I had never seen this before, so not sure of other details)
    3. You can move to WordPress.ORG where you can have the freedom to put up your own ads (maybe subtly promoting your own products/services), make money from offering ad space to others (if your site/blog is appropriate), or be completely ad-free.
  • Scripts/Codes/Plugins: Sometimes you want to put a script on your site/blog, to do some functionality – for instance, collect email addresses from your visitors.  With WordPress.com, you can not put any 3rd party software or code onto your WordPress.com accounts, so you’d definitely want to move to WordPress.ORG to take advantage of the 1000s of amazing add-ons available from the WordPress community, in the form of plugins.  Go to WordPress.ORG’s Plugin Directory to find many of the free ones.  Similar to the iPhone Apps, if you are looking to do something, there’s a plugin for that…
  • Customize the look of your blog/site: To do some light customization (changing colors, for instance) you could pay WordPress.Com to get into the CSS (providing you know CSS), but to get a look that really meets your vision, you could move to WordPress.ORG and use any theme (layout, the look of your site) or have someone custom create a look for you

Again, if you are happy with the way your WordPress.COM site works and/or OK with paying them the small Premiums to get some of the other options, then stay where you are.

However, if you are going to be paying for all those premiums, to try to get the results you want, I suggest using WordPress.ORG and have full control of your site (ads, look, plugins…).  To me, the plugins alone are reason to move!  Either way, you now have at least one less excuse for not moving to a self-hosted version!

I sure could have used this new Offsite Redirect feature, years ago, but glad to finally see it now.

Bottom Line: The $12 a year fee is a small price to pay, compared to the headache of the old way to do this redirect process!

Are you using WordPress.com?  Were you considering which version of WordPress (.com vs. .org) to use for your new site/blog?  Did this post help to answer those questions for you?  If you have additional questions, either comment below, or [intlink id=”8″ type=”page”]contact UniqueThink for a free 1/2 Hour Consult[/intlink], to discuss your unique situation.

Bethany Siegler

Bethany is the founder of UniqueThink, an online marketing and web design/development firm in Boulder, CO. She specializes in WordPress websites and blogs, Email Marketing and overall marketing strategies.

View all posts by Bethany Siegler

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