I am happy to bring to you today a guest article by Donna Fitch, a fellow WordPress expert.
Writing and Editing Today, Owner
WordPress.com is a great way to get started with a website. It’s free, it’s easy to install, and it’s hosted on the WordPress servers. You have no maintenance responsibilities. Just log in and post your content.
But how do you know when you’ve outgrown WordPress.com and are ready to move on to a self-hosted WordPress site? Here are some warning signs:
- You want your own domain name. If you don’t opt to purchase a domain name, your URL will be [yoursitename].wordpress.com. You may not like the look of this, especially if you are trying to establish your author brand. WordPress.com gives you the option to purchase a domain name from them, but other domain registrars offer cheaper prices. With the self-hosted version of WordPress, you purchase your own domain name from the beginning.
- You want to host videos. Videos take up a lot of storage space, and WordPress.com limits the space you’re allotted. You’re not allowed to upload videos to your WordPress.com site. VideoPress is available as an add-on, but it’s cheaper to host them yourself.
- You want to use Amazon widgets with images. Amazon makes available a wide variety of widgets for use on your website, both for your own books and for any of the universe of items sold by Amazon. An Amazon Affiliate account earns you a percentage of the cost of the item or book when someone clicks on your link and purchases that item. On WordPress.com, you’re restricted to text only affiliate links, rather than the more attractive image widget.
- You want to sell books or other items on your website. E-commerce, or selling online, is not possible on the dot-com version of WordPress. You can use PayPal buttons, but that becomes impractical if you’re selling multiple items. For that you want to use an e-commerce plugin, providing a shopping cart, display of various products, calculation of prices, and the use of credit cards.
- You want to have a range of features available. The self-hosted version of WordPress allows for plugins, small bits of code that extend the features available on your site. Plugins exist for additional search engine optimization features, social media icons and links, email newsletter opt-in widgets, forms, and backup utilities, just to name a few. Many of the plugins are free, but some have higher price tags.
Those are just a few of the reasons you might want to move on to WordPress self-hosting. Migrating from the dot-com version is as easy as the export tool on the dashboard. That file can then be imported into WordPress self-hosted.
Have you had experiences moving from one version to the other? Share them in the comments below!
Donna K. Fitch, MLS, MCert, is the independent author of Second Death, The Source of Lightning, and The Color of Darkness and Other Stories. She is the founder and CEO of Maximum Author Impact, creating beautiful WordPress websites, training webinars and other resources for indie authors.
To receive a special video gift, “Web-Shine: Taking Your Website to the Next Level” and find out what Donna can do for your web presence, visit: maximum-author-impact.com.