Why businesses shouldn’t use WordPress.com

In the last couple weeks I had the unfortunate experience of helping a small freelance client build a portfolio site using the WordPress.com platform.  I build sites using WordPress all the time, so it seemed like a fairly easy gig.  I guess that was just too good to be true.

Now I knew the differences between the hosted platform and the self-hosted.  I can even acknowledge there are good points about the hosted platform.  I would say the best thing about the hosted platform is not having to worry about upgrades, being hacked and other techy details that can be overwhelming when you self host.

So it seems feasible that it would be ideal for some users.  Wrong.

My client knew there was limitations and was willing to purchase all the necessary add ons.  To me, this is the first flaw.  You have to pay for everything. She ended up purchasing a premium theme. She paid to be able to customize the purchased theme. She paid to use her domain name. She paid to have no advertising.

Problem #1 – Premium Themes are not all that

I have worked with a lot of themes. I have built themes. I have used purchased themes from Themeforest, InkThemes and other custom themes.  The premium themes on WordPress.com are not premium at all.  They lack options and basic functionality.  My client choose to use the Lens theme.   One of the major flaws with this theme was the logo. You could upload a custom logo, but it would crop and use the image at only one set square size.  Sound weird? I asked the theme developers for help, and it wasnt possible to change it. They offered a refund if I didnt like it.

Problem #2 – Custom Design add-on is very limited

We purchased the custom design add on to have access to make some very basic changes using the CSS.  Unfortunately, you cant see the base css which makes modifying it that much harder. There is very little documentation on the themes to help.  Even with custom design, you cant make many changes that impact the design of your site.  It’s great for little things like changing a color of a simple element, but dont expect much more.

Problem #3 – No plugins, ever.  (Which also means no Google Analytics)

I think for the most part I was able to deal with the no plugins.  It was easy to explain to my client that no bells and whistles could be inlcuded on the site.  She was fine with it since her site was relatively simple.  I was more frustrated with it than she was.  It became ridiciulous when she asked “Can you add Google Analytics to my site?” Sigh, no.   Don’t believe me? Read here.

Problem #4 – Ads

Now, you can pay extra to have no ads on your site.  This sounds like a good deal.  There’s only one catch.  You can’t get rid of the “Powered by WordPress” on the bottom.  To me, this is an ad.   If you pay a premium price, you should be able to remove it.  Why would any business want to advertise their provider?

I understand that WordPress.com needs to have paid add ons to support the cost of running the service.  I think for many personal uses and bloggers it is an ideal solution.  If my grandma wanted to start blogging about cooking, I would definately recommend it as the solution,  But if you are a new business, from startups to food trucks to dog groomers, I wouldnt recommend WordPress.com for yor site.


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