I wrote a post a while ago, saying that WordPress.com was a good place to host your business blog, if you were just starting out and wanting to ‘test the water’ as it were.
However, since then I have been emailed by a reader; who pointed out some poorly publicised, but extremely important limitations to a WordPress.com hosted business blog!
I looked into this and found 3 REALLY IMPORTANT reasons why I believe you should NOT use a WordPress.com hosted blog for your business. Here they are:
1. WordPress.com insert ‘hidden adverts’ into your blog
Automattic (the company that runs WordPress.com), inserts ‘hidden advertising’ into the blogs hosted on their servers.
Yes, the ads they place into your blog are hidden from you – so you can’t see what THEY are advertising to YOUR readers in YOUR company’s name! Because Automattic use Google Adwords for these ads, they could be advertisements for your competitors products or services! This is perhaps why they feel the need to hide these adverts from their users? Anyhow, many of their users have no idea these adverts even exist; because they will not be able to see them when they look at their own blog. The ads are only displayed to their readers!
As of last week, you can pay to have these adverts removed, the fee is currently $30 a year. This is an improvement, as until last week you were stuck with them! However, there are two far bigger problems with hosting a business blog at wordpress.com!
2. WordPress.com won’t let you advertise anything
I have been in marketing for over 20 years and I own and run a very successful international marketing business. I don’t know a single company, which has a commercial blog and does not use it to promote their business or market their services in some way. The whole point of a commercial blog is commerce after all!
Although Automattic actually encourage people to host a commercial blog at WordPress.com, they forbid any form of commercial advertising! So, if you have any desire to advertise your services in your blog; you simply can not use WordPress.com – full stop!
3. WordPress.com won’t let you link from your posts to your website
One of the major marketing benefits of having a business blog, are all the links you get from the blog to your main website. These links can be really useful for a business blog!
For example, the newsletter button at the foot of my blog posts is a link; however, it would be BANNED from use on a wordpress.com hosted blog! Also, links from your business blog to your main website can really help with the sites Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
However, these links to your main website (what Automattic refers to as a ‘third party’ website) are forbidden on a WordPress.com hosted blog. Their terms of service state that by making content available on your blog, you warrant that it:
“does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites
Although it is impossible to understand what they mean by ‘unwanted commercial content’ (as this is always going to a matter of opinion), the threat itself is clear. If someone at Automattic sees that your posts link to your business website – you could have your blog suspended until it is removed!
Even if you pay Automattic to have their adverts removed from your blog, you are still left with a blog that:
– You cannot link from as you wish
– You cannot market advertise or promote your services on or even insert adwords
– You cannot customise fully
– You cannot advertise other people’s products or services on
– You cannot add commercially useful plugins to
A ‘free’ business blog on WordPress.com, with the ads removed, your own url added, some slight changes to its look and some extra space will cost you between $70 and $145 dollars a year. For not much more, you can enjoy full control of a blog and (most importantly) use it to market your business; by hosting it with another provider.
I love WordPress software and the people in the wordpress.com user community are fantastic! WordPress.com servers are really reliable and very secure too. However, if you want a commercial blog that you can advertise your services on and you want the freedom to link when and where you wish – I believe you need an analternative host.
UPDATE: Because some people are commenting here, without checking the date of the post (September 2008), I have disabled comments.
2 years later, changes to WordPress.com Terms and Conditions make it slightly more business friendly, but ultimately it is still a platform over which someone else has control. WordPress.com these days says you CAN link from the blog to your 3rd party site (or main website) though they decide if you are OVER linking! Any time you elect to put your time and effort into building something, which someone else can suspend or delete, you are taking a risk. If you are happy with that risk, WordPress.com is still the best free platform out there.
Think long and hard before you build your marketing on a platform they do not control.