WordPress.com Review

WordPress is a behemoth in the world of websites, but this review is about its commercial .com rival. It does a lot right, but fails to deliver in certain key areas, as you can read in this full Wordpress review.

By Theo Porutiu
— Last Updated: 2021-02-16T16:35:49+00:00
Starts from $ 300 per month
Free plan available (All Plans)

When you say WordPress, most people think WordPress.org, but that’s not what we’re talking about in this review. WordPress.com is a paid tool offered by Auttomatic that features similar customization to the free version, but the website builder is much easier to use and has found a place among our best website builders list.

WordPress is a behemoth in the online world. Over 172 million websites were built using Auttomatic’s software, and for good reason. The tool is efficient, complex, features great support and the results look good, to boot. We’ll go through all its features in this full WordPress.com review.

wordpress-comparison

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Powerful
  • Easier to use than the free version
  • Complex features

Weaknesses:

  • Steeper learning curve compared to most website builders
  • Sacrifices customization options

Alternatives for WordPress.com

  1. 1
    • Premade Themes
    • Form Builder
    • HTML Editor
    • Mobile Support
    • SSL Certificate
    • Domain Name
  2. 2
    • Premade Themes
    • Form Builder
    • HTML Editor
    • Mobile Support
    • SSL Certificate
    • Domain Name
  3. 3
    • Premade Themes
    • Form Builder
    • HTML Editor: Pro plan only
    • Mobile Support
    • SSL Certificate
    • Domain Name
  4. 4
    • Premade Themes
    • Form Builder
    • HTML Editor
    • Mobile Support
    • SSL Certificate: No
    • Domain Name: No
    Free
  5. 5
    • Premade Themes
    • Form Builder
    • HTML Editor
    • Mobile Support
    • SSL Certificate
    • Domain Name

Features

85 % – Very Good

WordPress.com gives you a lot of tools and lets you edit minor details, such as whether a new article needs to be reviewed before publishing.

WordPress.com Blogging 

Blogging with WordPress.com is done by accessing the “articles” tab. It’s a simple interface, letting you quickly add, manage or delete posts. You can create drafts, custom links and even add a team of writers to your platform. That way, if you have to work with freelance contributors, workflow is streamlined. Our best project management software does it better, though.

wordpress-blog

The best thing is that metadata, tags, post categories and social interactions are editable, which gives a lot of control to the user. It’s not as versatile as the WordPress.org platform, but it’s easier to use.

SEO with WordPress.com

We reviewed WordPress.com using the Personal plan, so we didn’t get to try the built-in search engine optimization editor. That said, you can modify a lot of metadata from the “settings” tab on any plan, which is the first step for a good Google ranking.

On top of that, WordPress.com integrates with Yoast SEO, which lets you target keywords, analyze your content’s performance and see estimates of how a particular article will perform. If you’re willing to sacrifice SEO functionalities for a drag-and-drop platform, read our uKit review. It’s not as powerful, but it’s easier to use.

WordPress.com’s Plugins

In theory, adding a plugin is easy. Just open the “tools” menu and follow the instructions for each add-on. The problem is configuring plugins means using the “WP admin” area, which is much harder to master than the basic interface.

It’s counterintuitive. The only reason people would buy a WordPress.com subscription is that it’s easier to use than the WordPress.org interface, but “WP admin” is comparable in complexity.

That said, there are great plugins. For example, you can integrate with Google Language, which automatically translates your page for visitors based on their IP address. It’s a nice add-on, but it’s not a full-fledged localization tool. If you’re looking for that, read our Voog review.

On the other hand, we still recommend WordPress.org for plugins. It’s richer in third-party add-ons, and if you’re worried about ease of use, its plugins also include visual editors that take the grunt work out of designing a website.

WordPress Ecommerce

WordPress’s ecommerce system is well-rounded. It features basic product editing options, such as adding a picture, setting prices in different currencies or adding shipping information. Products can be separated into categories, you can create variations for them and you can get paid via PayPal or Stripe. You can also create discounts and coupons with a promotions editor. 

Unfortunately, just like with form editing, you can’t go the extra mile by creating custom thank you pages or automating email responses after a purchase. That’s a limitation of the basic ecommerce engine, but you can do those by integrating with WooCommerce.

As we said, though, it’s hard. For a more user-friendly platform, try Shopify, which makes those options accessible to more people. It’s still not a walk in the park, though, so read our beginner’s guide to Shopify if you’re going to give the platform a go.

Features Overview

  • Design

    • Premade Themes
    • Form Builder
    • HTML Editor
    • Forum Support
    • Vector Art Gallary: No
    • Audio
    • HD Video
  • Usability

    • Drag and Drop interface: No
    • SEO Editor
    • Mobile Support
    • App Center
    • Blog Support
    • eCommerce Support
    • Page Editor
  • Services

    • SEO
    • Marketing
    • Website Design
  • Extras

    • SSL Certificate
    • Domain Name
    • Ad Credits
    • Site Review
  • Support

    • Help Center
    • Forum
    • Live Chat
    • Phone
    • Email
    • 24/7 Support
    • Video Tutorials
    • Text Tutorials
  • Misc

    • Free Plan

Pricing

90 % – Excellent
Free
  • Jetpack essentials Free themes
  • Storage Space: 3 GB
Blogger
  • Everything in Free plus: blog domain Email support Basic design customization Removes WordPress ads
  • Storage Space: 6 GB
  • Domain Name
Personal
  • Everything in Blogger plus: Free domain Live chat support
  • Storage Space: 6 GB
  • Domain Name
Premium
  • Everything in Personal plus: Unlimited premium themes Marketing & monetization tools
  • Storage Space: 13 GB
  • Domain Name
Business
  • Everything in Premium plus: SEO tool Google Analytics integration Personalized help Plugins Upload themes
  • Storage Space: Unlimited GB
  • Domain Name
Ecommerce
  • Everything in Business plus: Advanced ecommerce features
  • Storage Space: Unlimited GB
  • Domain Name

The Blogger plan isn’t exhaustive, but it’ll do the job if you just want a platform to share your thoughts. You get a domain, email support, basic design customization, free themes and a basic version of the features we talked about. Unfortunately, the free domain you get is a .blog one, which isn’t ideal for SEO, and 6GB of storage might become too little after a year of publishing.

The Personal plan is an upgrade to the Blogger one. It doesn’t change anything drastically. It just gives you a regular domain, more storage and more advanced features. 

The Premium plan, on the other hand, comes with unlimited premium themes, advanced design options and basic marketing tools.

The Business and eCommerce plans give you access to SEO tools, personalized help, advanced ecommerce features and the more expensive one gives you integrations with top shipping carriers. 

Altogether, it’s a decent pricing scheme that’s below the market average.

On top of that, you can get a full refund within 30 days of purchasing any plan, no questions asked. With all plans, you’ll also get a domain, which is refundable within 48 hours of purchasing it. Finally, you can try the tool without strings attached using the free plan, which is a downgraded version of the Blogger one that gives you less storage and customization.

Design & Tools

85 % – Very Good

To get started with WordPress.com, you’ll need to choose a website category, find a domain, choose your plan and then you can start editing your website. Note that if you close the pricing plans tab a few times, you’ll be offered the chance to try a free version of the tool.

To see if the tool fits your needs, we suggest trying it for free before purchasing a plan. Regardless, you’ll be able to edit the content and style of your website using a few menus.

The “statistics” menu is powered by the Jetpack plugin and gives you an audience overview. It’s not as advanced as a Google Analytics report, but it’s great for seeing how you’re progressing. An excellent feature is that you can quickly see how your latest article is performing, which helps when you want a short update on a website’s content evolution.

wordpress-recent

The “site” tab lets you manage published content. Its broken into “pages,” “articles,” “media” and “comments,” so there’s a lot of flexibility in how you analyze the content. For example, you can quickly sift through what people commented on your posts, which streamlines your enterprise’s community efforts.

Plus, the “media” tab is as developed as it is in WordPress.org. That means you can modify pictures for better size, meta descriptions and alternative text. It’s a great tool because media content is fundamental for proper indexing and ranking by Google.

The “design” menu could do with upgrades. It’s a better looking version of the theme editor in WordPress.org, but it suffers from the same limitations. For example, resizing the header is a big struggle. On the other hand, you can add snippets of CSS using the menu, so it offers more than theme mods.

If you’re not content with the look of WordPress.com websites, you could try Squarespace. It’s not as powerful in terms of blogging, but it comes close, and it creates stunning websites. Read our Squarespace review for more.

WordPress Tools

The “tools” tab focuses on plugins and supported integrations. You can use it to add Page Builder, Yoast SEO, WooCommerce and Google Analytics to your toolset, but it also features innovative extensions. For example, it can integrate with Upwork for better collaboration with freelance writers.

wordpress-plugins

The “admin” menu lets you do back-end settings. From there, you can modify your website’s language, address, slogan, header and even time zone. Plus, you get dozens of commands to manage comments, which shows again that the platform is focused on helping bloggers.

There are downsides, though. WordPress.com isn’t a drag-and-drop editor. As with WordPress.org, editing is based on forms and you modify design and content separately.

As with WordPress.org, that creates a big problem. You can’t edit a page and see the result in real time because you work with words and visuals separately. You also run into the problem when making design choices. Whether it’s a font or color palette, you modify it from a small list of options, but you don’t see the results instantly. That breaks the website building process.

On the flip side, themes are responsive and aesthetically pleasing. You can choose from 294 templates, but they aren’t without fault, either. Different themes let you edit different aspects from the theme editor, such as colors or fonts, so you might have a hard time figuring out where those options are.

It would also help if you could edit media on-page. It’s faster that way and most website builders let you do it. Unfortunately, such options are only possible with a drag-and-drop website builder. If that’s what you’re looking for, read our Weebly review.

Ease of Use

90 % – Excellent

WordPress.com’s user interface is easier to use than the one in WordPress.org. That’s the major selling point of the platform. It’s better designed, uncluttered and the menus are better labeled for quicker navigation. Plus, the language is much simpler to understand. It’s clear that the developers put in the effort to make this platform beginner-friendly. 

It could use a quick tutorial, but you can get the gist of it in a few sessions without one. The problem is that there are many helpful tools that you won’t know about if you don’t read the knowledge hub. For example, you can cap the number of times a person can comment on one article, which is great for stopping spam, but the option is hidden under several menus and tabs.

Maintaining a blog can’t be done with the same control as you get with WordPress.org. For example, the metadata you can edit is simplified, but that means it’s easier to blog. Though there are fewer plugins, which means less control for the user, that means there’s less confusion for a person who’s unfamiliar with what Yoast SEO or OptinMonster can do.

Support

85 % – Very Good

WordPress.com’s knowledge center is one of the best we’ve reviewed. It doesn’t feature a ton of categories on vague subjects, but rather creates a journey for the average user.

wordpress-support

It separates the website building process into four steps, all of which have quality guides and video tutorials on all aspects of WordPress.com.

wordpress-tutorials

That’s also available from the on-screen chat at any point. If that’s not enough, you can get in contact with the developers by submitting a ticket, chatting with Auttomatic’s “happiness engineers” or submitting a query on WordPress’s forums. It’s a well-rounded system that has everything to support you in developing a website.

Unfortunately, personalized support and chatting with Auttomatic agents are only available on the more expensive plans. If you’re looking for quality support at a lower price, read our Site123 review.

The Verdict

If you want a version of WordPress.org that’s easier to use and has decent content management system functionalities, try WordPress.com. If you’re looking for a drag-and-drop experience, check out our best website builders to see which one suits you. We generally recommend Wix. Read our Wix review to find out why.

If you want something different, read our best web hosting providers article. We recommend using WordPress.org with those providers, but look around and see if something piques your interest.

Do you agree with our analysis of WordPress.com? Let us know down below, and thanks for reading.

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