The quick answer is either when you have a very loyal following or right at the beginning when it’s all nice and clean with few or no followers to lose.
Whether you are at that decision point or not the following post is worth reading so you know for future use whether to stay or go.
I have chatted with people who have left at the wrong time and the stories are always the same. ‘Boy it’s lonely out here!’ The move has usually also been complicated by having to transfer lots of previously accumulated posts. Then they find that the culture outside of WordPress.com is very different.
There really is little point in moving if you can do a better job of building your readers on WordPress.com than out there in the cold harsh internet all by your lonesome. WordPress.com is at least based around a community which allows you access to people quite easily. (I’m sure most of you will know that WordPress.org is the paid version and people jump ship there mainly to have full ownership of their blog and domain name).
The other platforms like Blogger or Tmblr or even WordPress.org have a whole other vibe to them which may or may not suit you. I would not abandon WordPress.com until I have experimented with other platforms and I am sure that I could do better elsewhere. A lot of folk like to blame their tool for lack of visitors and wonder if moving to another platform would solve the issue. The truth is, the issue is not always the tool but often the user. If there is a problem with your marketing, SEO, or traffic it will follow you to wherever you go if you don’t deal with that specific problem head on.
Remember, plenty of people have succeeded on paid platforms and plenty of people have succeeded on free platforms.
There is a fairly big difference between a free blog platform like WordPress.com or Blogger and a paid one such a WordPress.org. Apart from the money (which if you are aiming to do big things is really negligible), being on WordPress.org is like paying a mortgage for a home you ostensibly own.
WordPress.com is like renting a room and has the same kind of limiting limitations from the landlord!
- a) You can’t place ads of your choice.
b) You can’t play with the overall coding or look of your site from what your template and their system allows.
c) You can’t SEO your blog as freely and comprehensively as you can on WordPress.org.
d) You can’t access full stats as freely and comprehensively as you can on WordPress.org.
e) Plug-ins are extremely limited on the free platform with swathes of choice on the paid one.
f) If you are ready to branch out and earn from marketing, brand sponsorship, affiliation or advertising opportunities certain platforms will not work with you if you have a WordPress.com account because of it’s limitations.
Plus there are some various other rules about what you can and can’t do which are not imposed on a paid platform.
Now if you are a newb this will not bother you one jot. But as you start to learn about the possibilities of blogging and your confidence and audience starts to grow you may start to rub up against those WordPress.com limitations and feel that you need to stretch those wings and own your own home. And as I said, if you are halfway in your journey with neither a particularly large audience or a particularly small one, but you have committed to quite a number of posts that are important to you, switching platforms has been known to be a little stressful technically to say the least.
The cleverest thing to do?
A lot of people who make a clean transition from WordPress.com to WordPress.org start to feel the cold reality – the harsh wind and the blowing tumbleweed of isolation. But actually, there is no reason that states that you have to make a sharp blogxit! <—topical! 🙂
I would suggest tapering things off and testing the waters before you make the big move. Think of it like leaving your parents home as a young adult, but they allow you to keep your bedroom as is …you know…just in case.
So what you do is keep writing for your WordPress.com base and invite your existing followers to visit a few posts on your new WordPress.org blog from time to time.
You can simply start your post on .com and then have them click to your .org to complete it. Often people just say ‘I’ve moved – here’s my new blog, click here’ which actually gives very little incentive for a passer by to ‘click here’. But if you wrote a post that was exciting, interesting, funny, moving or informative, who wouldn’t click through to read the end of it? Who doesn’t want to hear the end of a knock knock joke…even if it isn’t funny!
I would repeat this over a number of months, some posts for .com some for .org. If your audience follows you to your .org posts repeatedly then you know you have a loyal readership who are willing to follow you to your new home permanently. If they don’t, then you know you have much more work to do to build that loyal readership.
19 thoughts on “When Is The Right Time To Move From WordPress.com?”
To be honest, I think you can use both sometimes! I’m in the process of creating a resume/portfolio site on my main tylerharcourt.com/.ca self-hosted wordpress, but have planned to use TylerHarcourt.blog with WordPress.com (here) to write content that matters in a different way. There’s always RSS feeds (techy way to read your posts here from another site) for every category and archive you have on WordPress.com, where you can use the wordpress.org plugins to cross-share previews of your wordpress.com full content blog posts. You can link to your wordpress.com blog posts perhaps in a widget on your non blogging professional website? Can always do a subdomain of blog.yourname.com too! I think it’s great to use WordPress.com for users who want to connect and feel like their dashboard is anothet home to them. Perhaps the self hosted version is best suited when you have “pages” that matter more than “posts”. I am a developer and I love the freedom that exists here of not having to create an experience around your content, but within your actual content instead. Thanks for the read! 🙂
Yeah I agree. I always encourage the linking between the 2 platforms and getting your crowd to visit both. No need to abandon either for the other. And as you say there are plenty of ways to do this RSS, widgets etc. Thanks for visiting! Will pop over soon.
Hi! This is the most clearly understandable thing I’ve ever read about the whole WP .com/.org issue. Most posts go on about the freedom to use themplugins and that seems to be it. Also the general consensus was that it’s ‘better’ to be self hosted on WP .org.
I attempted to go the .org way but I found it difficult and confusing. Thankfully I didn’t sign up to a plan and lose money. After a couple of weeks of trying, I gave up and came back to WP .com.
There’s a community here at .com, there’s interaction and support. Not to mention avoiding all the FTPs, Servers, Security issues etc which I couldn’t get my head around at all.
So for me, staying here is the best option by miles! 😀
Ha ha! Yes it can be daunting dealing with all the potential security issues and tech side, not everyone likes all that fiddling. 🙂
I guess some people don’t mind and they find it easy to get their heads around it. But, for me…crikey, it was a complete nightmare!! Blessing in disguise, I think 😀
you DO know that you’re a superstar right?? Love ya Madam Ed! x x x OH, p.s. I’m still not getting an email when you do your one to one sesh’s to help folks like moi.:(
Really? No probs, I’m going to get you on live and walk you through the process myself I think. I’m snowed under this week but next week I will come to your latest blog post and leave a message and set a time and we will walk through the sign up process together.
…Oh yes and of course I know I’m a superstar! 😀
After three years with WordPress.com, I chose to move to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. There was trauma. I couldn’t for the life of me get the migration to work properly. I settled, in the end, to keep the old site and refer to posts in that blog and move ahead with the new one.
I enjoy the flexibility of WordPress.org so much I now have three blogs there and another one using Squarespace.
I agree with your assessment that beginners really should start with WordPress.com and then when confidence is built do a transition to another service. For me, it will always be WordPress.org I only keep the Squarespace blog going because for me the podcasting element is easier.
It’s weird that that whole transition process has proven to be so irksome for many….still.
And yeah I’m a .orger. It just has so many more options. But I’m not dissing .com it has some good things too on balance and a fairly robust team behind it.
I’m with you on the simple referrals between each platform also.
I love that the support with WordPress.com is so good, and so friendly. I keep Jetpack going because it keeps me in the WordPress.com community. The best of both worlds.
You are right .. it was hard when I moved from blogspot to wordpress.. but slowly with time things changed..
Now I can’t even dr2am of shifting as such people have become busier or have lost interest a few that I have will go away tooo.
But blogosphere on a whole is a funny world..
Lol. Why is it funny B?
I love your words of wisdom… I’m still working on mine so I’ll stay with .com for a while 🙂 The transition ideas are great to keep in mind though!! Have a Super Duper weekend!!
Super Duper!? Lol have you been in conference with one of your munchkins? 🙂
However I shall endeavour to go for a Super Duper one just ‘cos you said it! You too! 🙂
Haha… No, I actually heard it said.by someone on “Wheel of Fortune” one time when she was explaining how excited she was… “Super Duper Excited” so now I just use “Super Duper” all the time…hahaha… And I shall have a Super Duper weekend..a break from soccer schedule for a couple of days!!
[ Smiles ] You as a blogger should know which one is most suitable for you; whether it be a free blogging platform or a paid one.
However, I truly believe that content outweighs the platform that someone blogs on.
Absolutely. It’s usually not the tool, however new bloggers often don’t know and have asked me or lacking sufficient knowledge they change platform and regret afterwards.
The other thing Renard is that specific blogger niches are bound to do better on a paid platform for all the reasons I stated, regardless of content.
Thanks for your input!
[ Smiles ] You are most welcome!