Most of my web development business is done with the .org variety of WordPress. But lately I have started offering consulting services to businesses and nonprofits that can’t afford a custom solution and more importantly can’t afford hosting and maintenance. In the past, when I knew their budget wasn’t great enough for a .org soluion, I would tell them that WordPress.COM is a great solution. The problem here is most don’t have the time to figure out how to get the site up and configure pages, a blog, the menus, social media sharing, etc. So I offer a site-building package via WordPress.COM that sets up the scaffolding and teaches them how to enter content in pages and posts.
On Saturday I will be presenting about WordPress.COM to the WordPress.ORG digerati at WordUp. I doubt if they will want the package mentioned above. Instead, I’ll let them know the latest news and features about the .com WordPress variety. Automattic (owners of WordPress.COM and contributors to WordPress open source code) often test new features pre-contribution to the open source version. There is also the JetPack plugin which plugs you into WordPress.COM from a WordPress.ORG site and integrates many .com features. (One of the handy integrations with JetPack is the ability to share content with your social media sites like Twitter and Facebook when you publish a post.)
All of us custom developers have relatives and friends who want help (usually on the cheap) building a site. A .org installation — at any level — is pricey especially when you include the hosting and maintenance. But a .com solution is very affordable. Basic level is free but generally you would want to point a domain to your WP.com site ($13) and turn off the .com advertising. If you need more design control, for $30/yr you get access to the CSS and a slew of fonts. (You can register a new domain at WP.com for $18/yr and that includes the “point a domain” charge.)
It would be relatively easy for you (as a .com developer) to help your friend or relative set one up and show them how to post and add pages. The cool thing about going the .com route (rather than SquareSpace for example) is now they have a WordPress site and content can be exported to a .org installation when/if they need a more custom solution. As for the themes, many of the .com themes have .org variations.
I gave this presentation two years ago. A lot of cool upgrades have happened at WP.com since then. You can now purchase the WordPress.com Business package for $299/year. It includes all the upgrades already mentioned plus unlimited storage and eCommerce via Ecwid or Shopify. All fees for premium themes are included too!
There are many more approved themes too. The count today stands at 301. (No custom themes allowed at .com.)
And hot off the presses is Google Apps integration for your domain. It costs $50 per user (same as if you bought Google Apps outside of WP.com) but it will be integrated into the WordPress dashboard. I’m curious to see how this will work.
My session on Saturday will be a quick overview — 25 minutes.
And if you don’t have the time or inclination to help your friend or relative, you can send them my way!