As a long-time user of WordPress.com, I think it is fitting to write a WordPress Review! In this blog post, I will discuss the pros and cons. I will also compare WordPress.com to Squarespace and Wix, and will hopefully help you make the best decision for your blog.
This review contains affiliate links and is NOT sponsored.
Please note that this review refers to wordpress.com, not wordpress.org. This distinction is important, as WordPress.com handles the hosting for my blog. Previously, I was on a Premium plan, but eventually upgraded to a Business one. This review is not relevant to massive eCommerce operations, as Snowy Fictions is an entertainment blog run by one person. (Me!)
WordPress.com is very functional and easy to use. From the web layout to the mobile app, WordPress.com will help you produce high quality articles. The learning curve is not steep (but it is for WooCommerce), and finding answers to your questions is achievable.
My only complaint about functionality is that recently, I’ve struggled to upload blog posts. This is because WordPress has changed the ‘classic’ text editor. By doing so, it feels less functional and more of a chore to add HTML, text and media. It also seems glitchy, which is a shame, because WordPress.com is fantastic in all other areas. However, I believe WordPress is savvy enough to fix this issue.
If you are new to WordPress, this will be less of an issue for you. This is because I, and other WordPress users, are so used to classic uploading. My point is that if you choose to use WordPress.com, you won’t be shocked by a sudden change.
To conclude this point, WordPress.com is very functional to both beginners and advanced bloggers. I just wish the recent change to the interface was done in a better way. However, that may be a minor point to other bloggers.
As for the app on mobile, I am pleased to report that it is functional. Recently, I was overseas without my laptop, and used an iPad to write two blog posts. I was able to do that with ease, although I do wish adding links to pages was a bit simpler.
Functionality has a score of 8.7/10.
I pay $AUD33 per month for a business plan on WordPress.com. You’ll pay $AUD10 for a ‘premium’ plan. In USD, that’s around $USD22 for business, and $USD7 for premium. As this is charged yearly for me, WordPress.com can seem like a significant investment at first. This price may not include relevant plugins (sadly, to use plugins, you need a pricey plan), mailing services like MailChimp, or domains (which costs can range from mere pocket change to well over $500 per year).
But honestly, I think WordPress.com’s pricing is competitive. Recently, I was checking out Squarespace’s pricing, and I believe value for money is lower. Sure, on first glance Squarespace offers more features, but as a beginner blogger, you may not use them. That’s why it is vital that you pick a plan that suits your financial goals.
As I’ve used WordPress.com for nearly a year, I am happy with the pricing for business plans. For what you get out of WordPress.com, as well as the many revenue streams you can make from blogging, that’s pretty exciting.
If you are interested in eCommerce, WooCommerce is a bargain compared to Shopify or even FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon). It also makes blogging alongside eCommerce less awkward, and if I was running an eCommerce store, WooCommerce would be my first choice. It has far more competitive pricing, and offers cool benefits that I don’t think Shopify has. (Especially if you are offering your services as well as products).
Remember: blogging is a business. You will encounter costs the more you blog, and if you want to grow, be prepared to invest some serious dough. But it shouldn’t break you. WordPress.com, through its many plans, offers competitive pricing structures.
Because of that, WordPress.com is my first choice, over Wix or Squarespace. Whilst wordpress.org is cheaper, and hosting providers offer good value for money, ultimately I chose WordPress.com. This is because they take a lot of the hassle out of constructing a blog, and keeping it functional.
Price has a score of 8/10
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
What’s the point of creating a beautiful blog, if no one can enjoy it? In a competitive blogging world, having solid SEO is absolutely crucial. And I’m happy to say that WordPress is king at SEO. As it is an established blogging platform for well over a decade, you can trust that your blog will be well suited for the search engines. More than that, connecting your blog to Google Analytics or Google Search Console is a piece of cake.
What I particularly like about WordPress.com is that from day one, other WordPress bloggers can discover your blog. This is because WordPress makes it very easy for bloggers to discover each other through the ‘reader’ feature. Not only is this perfect for future networking possibilities, but it also helps with your morale as a blogger.
When I was creating blog posts on Wix, I found it demoralizing to create blog posts that weren’t as read. Whilst WordPress.com requires a lot of work, I never feel alone using WordPress.
For effective SEO, I suggest doing research. WordPress also comes with an impressive ‘Yoast’ feature on its Business plan, that helps optimize your blog post for SEO. Ever since using it, I’ve seen a boost in my Google Search Console results. To say that makes me happy is the understatement of the century.
SEO has a score of 9.5/10.
Support & Help
Just because you are creating a blog, doesn’t mean you should feel alone! Luckily, WordPress.com has an active support feature, multiple help forums, and a terrific subreddit. That’s the benefit of using WordPress.com: so many other bloggers do! Meaning, if you encounter a problem, chances are, so do many other bloggers. WordPress.com prides itself on the terrific community it has.
I will note that you will get more support and assistance when you are on a higher plan. This may bother people, but when I was on a premium plan and required assistance, I still felt well looked after. No one working at WordPress.com has ever been rude or mislead me, and when I needed help, they assisted me.
My only complaint is that there were was a single time on a Premium plan where I figured out the problem myself. However, that isn’t a bad thing necessarily, as I was in constant communication with WordPress help.
Support & Help has a score of 8/10.
Monetization Possibilities & Advertising
Who doesn’t love to make money from their blog? I know I do! WordPress.com have numerous opportunities to make money from blogging. Recently, they have introduced features that allow donations, recurring payments and digital products. I plan to use digital products in the future!
However, a vast majority of monetization requires a business plan. This is because it allows seamless use of plugins. This is the main reason why I upgraded plans. It’s just easier to make money on WordPress.com when you are on a business plan. I know that’s awfully ironic (you have to spent money to make money) but it’s the norm in the blogging world.
A disappointing aspect of WordPress.com is WordAds (only available on premium or above plans). To be honest, it is not great. The amount of money you can make from it is small, and WordPress simply can’t compete with Google Adsense. Fine for beginners, but those who want to establish a business from blogging are better off with Google Adsense.
To conclude this point from my WordPress review, I’d still suggest WordPress.com for monetization strategies. This is because most blogging alternatives don’t even have an equivalent to WordAds, and don’t enjoy the range of monetization plugins that WordPress business has.
Monetisation Possibilities & Advertising has a score of 7.8/10.
Beauty sells, and this is true in the blogging world. What I love about the business plan of WordPress.com, and something I can’t stress enough in this WordPress review, are the beautiful range of themes that I have access to.
Another thing that’s great are the WordPress help forums. If you encounter a problem with your theme, just head over to the relevant theme’s help forum, where someone will assist you. (Who knows, it may even be the person who created the theme!).
What I dislike about WordPress.com themes is that you can’t really customise them. Your options are limited in what themes you can use (depending on your plan). This is a massive shame, as although WordPress.com has a great range of themes, some niches are better served than others.
However, finding a suitable theme with WordPress.com is easy. On the blogging interface, discovering the perfect theme is just a few clicks away. The WordPress themes are also optimized for SEO, and suit a variety of posts and image sizes. The chances of your blog looking glitchy or tacky are much lower when you use a WordPress theme.
Although I have qualms with the aesthetics in this WordPress review, I will give aesthetics a reasonable score.
Aesthetics has a score of 8.0/10.
There’s a difference between running your own website and using Tumblr. You can choose what your site looks like, have more freedom and can include advertising. It’s absolutely vital that whoever hosts your blog- WordPress.com or not- gives you options in how your blog functions and looks. WordPress.com delivers, but there is room for improvement.
For one, whatever plan you pick on WordPress, will limit your options. This is the norm in business, so its not a big deal in my books. But I believe Premium plans should be able to use plugins, for instance. I also wish themes were easier to change, and that implementing HTML was more simple.
However, WordPress.com still gives you a fantastic variety of choices. I never feel ‘bogged down’ or ‘limited’ by what I can do on WordPress.com. That’s why this WordPress review is glowing! It is really a platform that gives you many options with what you can do.
More than that, I feel rewarded by using WordPress.com, as if I am connected to a wider blogging community. That’s something I believe WordPress.com’s competitors do not offer.
Choices has a score of 8.2/10
Conclusion & Whether Or Not I Recommend WordPress.com
Here are the pros and cons of WordPress.com that I expressed in this WordPress review:
- Very easy to use
- Great help and assistance
- Beautiful themes
- Terrific monetisation possibilities
- The feeling of being connected to a wider blogging community
- Ease of use
- SEO capabilities
- Competitive pricing
- Not a great variety of themes
- Can feel limited
Overall, I highly recommend and cheer on WordPress.com. It’s been a game changer for me. As an entertainment blogger, I’ve managed to implement a variety of blog posts. Because of those features, I am pleased to give WordPress.com a final score of 9.1/10.