WordPress.com is awesome. It lets you create quick and easy sites with out having to figure out a third party hosting solution. For beginners this is a great choice. If you want something more advanced then check out these self hosting plans. For those of us using WordPress.com to host our site here are a few things you need to know.
Free vs. Paid
Free is free is free. But there are draw backs. The first is Ads. WordPress has to pay the bills and if you aren’t willing to pay the $4 a month for the Personal plan then you will see ads. The tricky part here is you may not even know you have ads on your site until someone tells you or you see your website on someone else’s computer. WordPress doesn’t show you the ads while you are editing your website or if you are logged in and viewing your website. Other people how ever will see your website with ads on it. So pay attention to this and maybe check your site out on another computer to see where ads are placed. In some cases the ads might mess up your layout because your theme wasn’t built with ads in mind.
You can pay to have ads removed by upgrading to the $4 a month Personal plan.
Some other things to keep in mind if you choose the free plan are storage, themes, and domain name.
If you are mainly using your website for text and not a lot of pictures or attachments then storage is not going to be an issue. The free plan give your 3 GB of storage.
For a free plan your site address will use a WordPress.com subdomain (sitename.wordpress.com). If you want to use your own domain then you will need to upgrade to the $4 a month Personal plan.
There are over 90 free WordPress themes available for the Free plan. A wide range of styles to hopefully fit your needs however if you really really like any of the 190+ premium themes then you will need to upgrade to the $8 a month Premium plan. You may have done a search for WordPress themes and found some on sites like ThemeForest. If you are using a WordPress.com hosting you will only be able to install these themes if you have the $25 a month Business plan. Otherwise you will need to self host your WordPress site.
The Personal plan is $4 a month. It includes 6 GB of storage. The ability to add your own domain name. And no Ads.
You still have access to the 90 free WordPress themes available for the Free plan.
Also with the Personal plan you have access to WordPress’s email or live chat support. If you have any questions on how to do something with in your WordPress site.
The Premium plan is $8 a month. It includes all the features from the Personal plan plus 13 GB of storage and access to the 190+ premium themes (as well as the free themes). There are some other customization features that are available to you with the Premium plan.
If you are interested in monetizing your WordPress site with ads you can do this with the Premium plan. The difference between the ads on your site with the Premium plan and the Free plan is you are able to earn money from these ads and place them where you want them to show on your site.
Not many of you will be using the Business plan at $25 a month, but there are some nice features. First, you get Unlimited storage. You can also install third-party plugins and themes. If you are interested in having a site with all these features you might want to look into hosting your own site on a third-party service than using WordPress.com.
For most teachers the Personal plan is going to fit your needs. However, you can always start with the Free plan to see if this is the path you want to take for your website and then upgrade from there. You can check out a comparison list from WordPress on their pricing plans here.