WordPress is, in my opinion, the finest blogging software in the world. Little wonder then, that the vast majority of the world’s top blogs run on Matt Mullenwegg‘s brain child. It’s the only blogging software I use and the only one I recommend.
WordPress.com offer a free version of WordPress, hosted on their own servers, which has proven extremely successful, and this free version is what today’s post is all about.
You see, although the free WordPress.com service is amazing, it has significant issues for some business users.
WordPress.com, advertising and you
The main issue is the idea of building your blog, knowing that you do not have the freedom to use it the way you want to. This is a particular problem for those of you, who would like to make money from advertising on your blog or earn affiliate income; 2 of the most popular ways to monetize a commercial blog.
Even this blog, with just 1 affiliate, would fall foul of the terms regarding a free WordPress.com blog and would be suspended! This can be a lot more severe than it may sound. Here’s a direct quote explaining what can happen to suspended WordPress.com blogs:
“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 decide to run adsense etc on your blog. Here’s 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.
So, you can actually advertise on WordPress.com, but only if you get your blog delivering 25,000 or more page views a month AND you pay WordPress 50% of the money you make!
If you’re OK about working for years to build that kind of readership, and then giving half your income away, it’s an option. Why any business savvy person would do that is beyond me. To have that much traffic and give half your earnings away, just for some free hosting, makes no commercial sense whatsoever.
Automattic is right to charge businesses for a business service
Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, is totally right to charge for what they do, when business users want to benefit from their services. That’s my point. If you want to monetize your site with ads then WordPress.com is a paid for service, not a free one. Equally, there’s no option I can see, to allow you to use your affiliate accounts on WordPress.com – free or paid versions. (If you know otherwise, please let me know including links and I will update the post.)
My understanding is that you are allowed to mention your business on a free WordPress blog and even mention special deals you have, but there seems to be a great deal that’s unclear about what WordPress consider appropriate and inappropriate.
For example, in a section on WordPress.com regarding the types of blog you are not allowed to have, they actually mention pyramid selling and MLM in the same sentence, and seem unaware that one is a legitimate business whilst the other is illegal in most countries. Putting these in the same category is also rather insulting to those working hard and ethically in Multi Level Marketing, and makes it hard to see how an MLM business owner could use the platform and stay within their rules.
In my experience, it makes a lot more sense for you to simply build a blog, like this one, using the excellent WordPress software, and place it on the best hosting you can afford. It starts from around $5 a month. This gives you freedom to build your legitimate online business, your way and retain all your income. You are also free to use whatever plugins you need, giving you and your readers a huge amount of added functionality.
WordPress.com and you
As I said at the beginning, I love the WordPress software, but believe that their limitations may make their free hosting service a poor choice for some business bloggers and entrepreneurs. It seems WordPress agrees, as one of the suggestions they offer to people who want to make money from their blog, is for them to do exactly as I suggested and get a self-hosted version of WordPress from WordPress.org. I also have concerns regarding the vague nature of what a WordPress.com moderator may regard as inappropriate, (thus suspending your account.) Just look at how they categorised MLM and pyramid selling together.
I would like to know your feedback, regarding WordPress.com as a business blogging platform. Maybe you believe that their free hosting is worth the price (millions of people do)? Whatever your feedback regarding this amazing platform, I would love to hear from you!