You may have read in my post about starting a blog, that I recommended going self hosting with Siteground and installing WordPress.
If you’re still undecided on which WordPress platform to use and the difference between making money with WordPress.com vs Self Hosted WordPress, keep reading.
(This post contains affiliate links – click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
WordPress is a blogging platform and it comes in two different forms. The self hosted version (wordpress.org) and the fully hosted version (wordpress.com).
With the self hosted version of WordPress, you would need to download the WordPress application yourself and install it on your website (Siteground makes this process easier with their WordPress launch) but then you have thousands of themes and plugins to choose from to customise your blog, as well as more freedom to make money from your blog.
The fully hosted version of WordPress is different. It requires a registration to their website (WordPress.com) and instead of your blog being your own, it’s hosted on their website. This means that it’s easy to set up and free, which is great if you want to test the blogging waters or you just want to start a blog as a hobby.
You can then choose to pay for premium options on WordPress.com, such as a custom domain, instead of having ‘mysite.wordpress.com or upgrade to a premium plan to enjoy more features – although I did this back when my first blog was a free wordpress.com blog, but it was quite expensive for what you could do and self hosted actually ended up being cheaper and more value for money.
So first let’s talking about making money with WordPress.com and what you can and can’t do…
Having adverts is the most passive way of making money on your blog.
It may not be the biggest money maker if you don’t have tons of blog traffic but it’s certainly the easiest way of monetising your blog.
Now, with a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can choose from a few different ad networks (as long as you meet their specific requirements) such as Google Adsense, Mediavine, Media.net, AdThrive etc. to monetise your blog.
However, with a free WordPress.com blog, you are limited to one ad network, WordAds and you’ll need quite a fair amount of traffic before you can get accepted.
So this means you’d need to build your blog to quite a high standard with lots of traffic before you can start monetising with ads, unless you upgrade to a paid plan.
Only the Premium (£7/mo) or Business (£20/mo) plan will allow you automatic entry into the WordAds program and the Business plan allows you to use third party ad networks such as Google Adsense.
Using affiliate links if you’re using WordPress.com is something you could consider, as you can use affiliate links even on a free plan, so no upgrading required!
You may be limited to which affiliate programs you can sign up to, as some affiliate programs require specific coding or plugins that WordPress.com might not support.
Luckily, WordPress.com supports Amazon Associates, which is a great affiliate program.
Your readers are also very likely to already have an Amazon account too, so it makes it easy for them to buy. Not only that but even if the person clicking your Amazon affiliate link buys something different to the product you actually recommended, you still make a sale.
You cannot use affiliate links for gambling, pornography, malware, scams etc. which should be pretty obvious but you also cannot use affiliate links for multi-level marketing. So don’t be using your WordPress.com blog to try and shift Younique or recruit “teamies”.
Websites using WordPress.com that exist only to drive traffic to affiliate links are also disallowed. So you won’t be able to succeed in affiliate marketing with WordPress.com as well as you would with a self hosted WordPress blog.
Another way of making money with WordPress.com is to post sponsored content on your blog.
A sponsored post may be a review or an article that promotes a product or service in exchange for payment by the company, or in exchange for freebies.
As long as your blog isn’t made up of mostly sponsored content (which I wouldn’t advise for any blog) then you’re good to go!
If your blog is simply a tool to raise awareness to your business, you can use your WordPress blog as a platform to sell your services.
Make a page on your blog to specifically list your services, link to that page within your blog posts or as a call-to-action. You can even offer your services to your email list.
Digital or Physical Products
One way of making money with WordPress.com is by using your blog to sell actual products.
Either you can link to a shop you already have outside of WordPress.com such as Etsy or Creative Market or you can upgrade to the WordPress Business Plan and sell directly through your blog using WooCommerce or their Simple Payments if you’re on premium or business.
Making money with WordPress.com vs Self Hosted WordPress
Personally I love self hosted WordPress. Having had both types of WordPress, I wish I’d gone with self hosted from the start instead of having to make the switch a couple of years later.
I like the freedom I have with self hosting and actually in the long run, it’s been cheaper than upgrading to premium WordPress.com plans to get extra features.
That’s not saying you can’t do well with a free WordPress.com blog, many people do, but I’d definitely consider getting your own custom domain. ‘Cause let’s be real, mydomain.com looks so much better than mydomain.wordpress.com, especially if you want to work with brands.
If you do decide to go down the WordPress.com route, just make sure you keep within their Terms Of Service. The last thing you would want, is to work hard on a blog only for WordPress.com to shut it down.
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