WordPress is free of cost for everyone. You must have heard this sentence a lot. But is it actually free? And if it is free and for everyone, how come people are spending money on their WordPress Blogs? Well, the answer is yes and no both.
WordPress software is free for everyone to download, use, and even sell its codes and plug-ins, but to unlock its premium features and get hosting, one must pay the premium amount. This article will talk about the free aspects of WordPress and how you can optimize your blog.
Is WordPress Free?
Yes, it is! If you sign-up for a free WordPress plan. Even if you do not go for the premium version of WordPress, the major cost you can face is to buy the web-hosting and domain name. Starting from $10 yearly, it can go up to $300 per month, depending upon your website.
But if you sign-up for the free version of WordPress, WordPress.com provides you with a sub-domain for free instead of buying a self-hosted domain. With this, you also get powerful website hosting, storage, SEO options, some security options, and dozens of free themes.
WordPress.com Free Version
In the later sections, I will explain the complete process of signing-up on WordPress Free, but first, let’s see what it has to offer, its pros, cons, and it is worth sign-up for it.
Features Offered by Free Version:
When new users sign-up with WordPress, some features are pre-activated, and some they can activate from WordPress dashboards such as free plug-ins.
WordPress.com (WordPress.org is an entirely different platform)
- It offers up to 3GB of free space. After this limit, if you need more space, there is no option but to switch to a paid plan.
- Free hosting and your domain.
- WordPress takes care of backing up all the data of your account. Besides, updates are automatically added to your account.
- As it is an open-source platform, you are a complete owner of your data. You can see any legal thing with it.
- Free of cost built-in Jetpack features. These are pre-activated ones.
- Once you have good traffic on your blog, you can become a part of the WordAd program. Run ads on the website and share a part of the revenue with WordPress.
- Basic community support.
- Thousands of free plug-ins.
In the world of blogging, these are just the basic features. To access everything offered by WordPress, you have to buy premium themes. Besides the free one, these are the versions:
- Personal – $48 per year
- Premium – $96 per year
- Business – $300 per year
- eCommerce – $540 per year
- VIP – starting at $1700 per month
Creating a Free WordPress Website:
You can build a free website on WordPress.com, not on WordPress.org. Here is the step by step process.
Firstly, you have to create an account on the WordPress.com plan. On the homepage, click on Get Started page, and it will redirect you towards the sign-up page.
You have to fill-up several fields on this page, i.e., name, blog-address, username, email address, password, et cetera. You can change your username and password later if you need to. With this version, WordPress will provide you with a free domain name. One of the limitations of the free version is that you cannot use your own domain name. Whatever domain you choose, it will be suffixed with WordPress, for example, yourchosenname.wordpress.com.
Once you fill in all the fields, click on Create Blog.
2. Email Verification
To activate your account, WordPress will send you a verification e-mail.
In this e-mail, click on Activate Blog to confirm your email address and proceed further.
3. Blog Set-Up
Just like step 01, you have to fill several fields in this step. You have to provide details of the Blog Title, tagline, which introduces your blog and your blogging language.
Click Next Step after that.
4. Theme Set-Up
Just like the previous 3 steps, this one is also mandatory. You can use both free and premium themes for your blog.
You can choose a free theme and customize it. Customization limit can vary from theme to theme.
Once satisfied with the look of your website, click on Next Step.
5. Connecting with your Social Media
You can skip this step if you want to, but we recommend you not to skip it. When you integrate your Twitter and Facebook, it is easy to share blog posts on these mediums. If you enable it in settings, it will automatically be shared on your Facebook/Twitter whenever you publish a blog.
If you skip this step, you can always connect your accounts later. There are numerous free plugins available for this purpose.
6. Finishing Set-Up
Click Finish on the bottom right corner of the page.
7. Changing Appearance
You have successfully created your new WordPress website. From now, you can start posting blogs, but you will notice that your website looks bland. You can make the appearance using the built-in options.
Click on the My Blog option on the top of the homepage. It will take you to the dashboard. On the left side, you will find options of:
- Collapse Menu
Using these different options, you can add media, change the themes, add plugins, connect the website with social media accounts, change settings, customize themes as per your need, and do many other things.
Is Free Version Better or Premium one?
WordPress software and signing-up are free, but to utilize their full potential, there is no other way but to pay the premium.
If you are a beginner and want to understand how WordPress and blogging work, you should sign-up for a free version. With this, you cannot make money until or unless you have good traffic on your blog, but you can learn a lot about running a website without paying a single penny. For business or making money, you should choose any package of WordPress.org starting from 48$ per year.
You get to host your website instead of a suffix website (www.example.com instead of www.example.wordpress.com). You can also keep all the revenue of Ads on your blog, unlike the free version where you have to pay WordPress almost half of your ads earning. Signing-Up with WordPress.com is free, but it does not allow you to monetize your blog.
On websites of free users, WordPress runs its ads, which users cannot remove. Premium-paying users get to enjoy Ad-free websites.
Even an armature website owner can differentiate between the websites using the plugins and one which isn’t. There are thousands of free plugins available to integrate Google Analytics into your blog, Search engine optimization, prevent the website from threats, build firewalls, web designing, customization, themes, building e-stores, and many more.
Unfortunately, free version users cannot utilize these perks. Only the users of pad programs can access and use these free plugins for their websites. Not only plugins but users of free versions are also limited to very few built-in themes.
On the other hand, users of the premium version can download any free or paid theme from the WordPress theme marketplace. They also get complete access to their website’s code as they are using a personal domain.
Start with the free version to learn about running a blog/website and then move to the paid versions to make money.