Comparing WordPress .COM and .ORG

I have been blogging on WordPress.com for several years and have setup several blogs for myself and for clients.  I was happy with WordPress.com until I tried to add some functions that would not work in the free version.

Here is a comparison of some of the key features in the 2 versions of WordPress, and a few things that I found when I moved a small blog from WordPress.COM to WordPress.ORG

Feature WordPress.org WordPress.com
Cost WordPress software is free but you pay for hosting from some 3rd party hosting company that provides WordPress as an installable option Free.  Hosted by wordpress.com no charge for hosting or setting up and running blog
Ease of use Having some experience with wordpress.com is helpful.  Many of the widgets and plugins have to be installed to get the same functionality as on wordpress.com Comes with the most commonly used widgets and themes.  Easy to learn to use and administer.
Widgets These widgets need to be installed and setup – askismet, subscribe, RSS Subscribe, and others.  Not all widgets that I was using on WordPress.com were initially available and had to be added individually and reinput coding and settings Text widgets are not able to include iframe or java script. This limits the coding you can include from other websites. E.g. if you have a book on blurb, lulu, photo widgets etc they will not run on wordpress.com
Hosting BlueHost has WordPress available in features. You click and install a new version of WordPress for each blog you want to host.  Each one sets up an individual database.  You can have up to 100 different blogs hosted under the 1 account. There are video tutorials. WordPress.com is the host.  There are some limitations on what you can link and install on the site.
Monetizing You can sell items on your WordPress.ORG blog You cannot sell affiliate products or monetize your WordPress.COM blog.   This is a primary consideration in deciding the move.

Moving a blog from .COM to .ORG

Feature WordPress.org WordPress.com
Hosting Setup your hosting account on a server that supports and provides WordPress.  I used BlueHost but there are others.  On research they are giving good value and I tested their customer service and online video tutorials.   You will need to setup a DOMAIN NAME for the blog. You don’t need to setup any hosting.  Just register your blog at wordpress.COM and begin.
Setup Setup the WordPress installation for the blog you will be importing. On BlueHost there is a tutorial video on this step.
Import / Export Step 2 – Tools – IMPORT – upload from your computer Step 1 – Tools – EXPORT – save on your computer
Themes In my transfer of a small blog from .ORG to .COM the following items occurred:Photos in the blog did not transfer fully and had to be reloaded to show up in all browsers 

photos in galleries that I was using the shortcode did not transfer

Had to upload the photos again

Added a plugin for slideshow

Setup the necessary slideshows in individual postings

Widgets Widget not included for “Subscribe” – setup a feedburner account and use widget in text block RSS Subscribe is built in
Plugins Do the “Add Plugins” and search and add plugins to add functionality.  (another blog on this later)
Photos In my transfer of a small blog from .ORG to .COM the following items occurred:Added a plugin for slideshow 

Setup the necessary slideshows in individual postings

Shortcodes The shortcodes that you used in WordPress.com do not work in WordPress.org.  You may need to search for plugins that will accomplish a similar functionality.   The new comment form functionality doesn’t work in wordpress.org Shortcodes are easily used for functions such as and the new comment form
Links Links reverted to inline links – to open in 2nd browser window have to edit the code in the HTML window or re-insert the links. Links set to open in 2nd browser window.

Before and After

This is an example of the same blog on 2 different platforms.

http://traveloutandabout.wordpress.com/ – on WordPress.COM (free wordpress hosting)

  • Initial blog development using the Twenty-Ten Theme
  • Wrote three postings and did basic organization and concept development
  • Used the built in Widgets of RSS links, email subscription to blog, Categories drop down, Tag Cloud, Links, and RSS import from imagekind RSS
  • The postings include photos and photo galleries using the shortcode slidesho
  • The CONTACT page uses the inbuilt “Contact Form” editor that is available on the edit menu
  • I wanted to add more affiliate links, amazon books, and google adsense.  I also wanted to be able to easily use widgets from my other Imagekind gallery where I have my photography.  None of this was possible on WordPress.com
  • I researched and selected BlueHost; setup the blog
  • Exported the content from this blog
  • I had not made this WordPress.COM blog public and was using it for initial development so there were no subscribers or any need to inform people of the move.  If it HAD been public there are some other steps. (will address in another blog post)

http://www.outandaboutns.com/ – on WordPress.ORG  (on paid hosting)

  • I setup hosting on BlueHost
  • Installed WordPress and registered the domain name   www.outandaboutns.com – I decided that this blog would be specifically for travel writing and photography about Nova Scotia
  • Tools – Imported blog
  • The Postings and Pages did import but I had to find new ways of doing many of the widgets as they are not inbuilt.  There is a learning curve and you should know something (or be willing to learn) about FTP and actually doing some work directly on the server from time to time.
  • The www.outandaboutns.com website now has
    • Using the available built in widgets: Search box, Recent posts, categories, archives, links, recent comments, pages
    • Widgets and Plugs that I added:  Google AdSense, Amazon affiliate, Amazon book carousel, Imagekind widgets for displaying photography, contact form, google maps, slideshow, Share (for social networking)
  • Some of the images inserted in the posts that were imported did display on my computer – but in testing some other people were not seeing these so did a re-upload and insert of images that weren’t displaying.

Denise Davies is an Internet and media consultant.  She works with nonprofit organizations and small businesses to maximize their effective use of the Internet to build their organization and achieve their objectives.  If you have questions or would like to learn more contact through the contact form

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About Denise

Internet and media strategies for nonprofits, film, travel writing and photography
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