In addition to individuals, companies are also building their web presence on WordPress.com, either as a blog or as a full website including full e-commerce websites. And what’s not to like? On signing up and agreeing to the Terms of Service, a company gets a website with all updates and back-end security handled by WordPress.com, excellent SEO built right into the platform, best-in-class hosting, and with a custom domain name (with any upgrade plan) there’s also easy branding.
What we’ll cover:
- Upgrade to Add More Features
- Who owns your WordPress.com website?
- Keeping Your Site Secure
- Not Just Businesses
Upgrade to Add More Features
If you choose to upgrade your website to the Business or eCommerce plan, you can install 3rd party plug-ins, custom 3rd party themes and use special code, and still enjoy the above-mentioned benefits that all WordPress.com hosted sites enjoy.
So, what’s not to like? Those same updates to the entire WordPress.com SaaS platform can cause posting disruption. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. Also, WordPress.com displays advertising on ad-supported websites (currently free and the legacy Starter plan) to help offset hosting expenses, but ads can be removed
with the No Ads Add-on or* by upgrading to a plan.
(*Update 2 November 2022: WordPress.com has recently removed the No Ads Add-On for purchase. The only way for now to remove ads is by purchasing an upgrade plan for your site.)
Check out this page to review the features of the current WordPress.com hosting plans.
Who owns your WordPress.com website?
Without a doubt, the single, biggest disruption to a company website happens when a company leaves the registration and creation of their WordPress.com website to an employee or 3rd party who leaves and takes the company’s website log-in information with them. This might not be a problem if the employee used a company email address to create the account and the email address is still active, as it can then be used to retrieve the website log-in information. But what happens if that is not the case or your site was registered by a 3rd party, such as a web designer?
Ownership of websites on WordPress.com is determined very simply: the person who originally registered the website on WordPress.com is the site owner, unless ownership has been transferred to another WordPress.com user account. If you hire an outside party to set up your WordPress.com website for you, include a clause in your contract to ensure transfer of site ownership, and any upgrades and domains associated with it, to your account upon completion of their work for you.
If you are using your WordPress.com website as your business portal, make sure to establish clear ownership of your website from the start in order to safeguard your company’s web presence. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the company of unhappy business owners who suddenly find their WordPress.com website, its content and perhaps even a custom domain name out of reach.
Keeping Your Site Secure
Site owners and Admins can invite other trusted individuals to manage their website. However, be aware that invited Administrators can do nearly everything the original site owner can, including deleting the entire website. If a user in the Administrator role deletes your website, there is no wrong-doing involved as far as WordPress.com is concerned.
Understanding User Roles before you invite a new user, as well as removing users who are no longer active, is key to the security of your business website. This is in addition to maintaining good general web security practices, including updating the site owner email address and log in information as needed in the site owner’s Account Profile.
Our community forums are sadly littered with threads from despondent business owners who have lost control of “their” site by overlooking these practices.
Not Just Businesses
While this post discusses business websites, the information here is also applicable to a club membership site, a co-op or nonprofit or any website that is set-up as a hub for a group of people and is handed from the existing administrator to a new administrator.
Another scenario is when a single site owner/administrator passes away leaving a group without access to the full administration of their website. If that person neglected to advise their website log in credentials to the organization or a second, trusted individual, the only recourse is to contact WordPress.com support for assistance in regaining access and that is not guaranteed.
Without a doubt the best practice here is to be aware of the one site/one owner policy from the start and to plan ahead accordingly.
As always, the information in this post is correct as of publication date. Changes are inevitable.
This post was revised from my earlier post on “Doing Business” which appeared in 2013.
7 thoughts on “Why Build Your Business Website on WordPress.com”
Not planning a business, but I’ll keep this in mind.
Knowing you I have no doubt that you have all your digital ducks lined up for when the inevitable happens.
If you’re referring to running out of space, I’ve freed up a lot by deleting videos and replacing them with Vimeo and YouTube links. All of the posts now use embedded photos from SmugMug (no hit on the media library), and the only stuff I add to the library are the cartoons and the occasional photo I might use in comments. As far as storage goes, I’m good for a number of years (many years), and I still have more videos I can delete if need be.
Side note: the current method means that when I die, if the SmugMug isn’t maintained, many posts won’t have photos. Given my readership, it won’t be a tragedy . . . other than, maybe, the me dying part.
If you’re referring to me starting a business, having run a business before, I’m immunized from starting another one. The only reason I might is so remote as to not worth mentioning.
If you’re referring to WP forcing users to switch to a business model . . . to quote Jayne, “well, that will be an interesting day.”
In this case, I meant your eventual demise. You took it in a completely different direction, but good to know (I think). 😉
Hmm . . . yet another person contemplating my demise . . . Soon, there will be enough to form a club, if not so already.
. . . I’m not sure if I should be flattered or worried . . .
It’s been so long since I signed up for a new account that I don’t remember if site ownership is mentioned at sign up. (Keep your welcome email! Print out those 2FA codes!) Given the number of forum threads on the topic, it really is a thing. Granted if you think about it, there’s a certain amount of common sense involved here, but, well… ¯\_ (ツ)_/¯