More companies are making their way to WordPress.com to build their web presence either as a blog or as a full website (as long as e-commerce is not the primary function of the site). And what’s not to like? On signing up and agreeing to the Terms of Service, a company gets a free or low-cost website with all updates and security handled by Automattic, excellent SEO built right into the platform, an excellent up-time record and, if a company chooses to buy the Domain Name Upgrade, there’s also easy branding or integration with the company’s existing website. If you are comfortable with not having total control over your website, mostly in the areas of plug-ins and use of special code, WordPress.com is an excellent choice for business.
WordPress.com recently introduced a Business upgrade which for an annual fee of US$300 includes all the benefits of the Pro upgrade as well as access to all the Premium themes, unlimited storage, unlimited upload of audio and video and much more. Check it out in your Dashboard under “Store”.
So what’s not to like? Those same updates to the entire WordPress.com SaaS platform can cause disruption to posting. This is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen. Also, WordPress.com does show advertising on free-hosted websites, but these can be easily removed with the annual No Ads upgrade. Alternatively site owners with their own domains may consider applying for the revenue-sharing WordAds program.
Without a doubt, the single biggest disruption to a company website happens when the company leaves the sign up and creation of their WordPress.com website to an employee who subsequently departs and takes the company’s log-in information with them. This may not be a problem as long as 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 log-in information. But what happens if that is not the case or sign up was left to an external, 3rd party such as a web designer? WordPress.com Staff have clearly stated that a WordPress.com site is owned by the individual who originally signed up and created the site and WordPress.com will not transfer the site to anyone else.
If you are using your WordPress.com site as your business portal, it would be wise to establish clear ownership of the site from the start in order to safeguard your company’s web presence. Site owners cannot be removed from a site by another Administrator unless they first transfer ownership of their site to another WordPress.com account. Site owners can invite a second Administrator, which has its own dangers, or an Editor to maintain their already created website.
With the creation of the new Business and Enterprise tiers indicating a push to bring more business sites to WordPress.com, I feel WordPress.com should consider removing the Administrator’s ability to delete the site, but maintain all the other Admin functions. Otherwise, there may be a growing number of unhappy business owners who suddenly find their WordPress.com website, its content and perhaps even a custom domain name out of their reach.
Addendum: One of my readers emailed me and pointed out quite rightly that the problem of losing site ownership through an employee leaving or a designer retaining Admin rights is not unique to WordPress.com. However, the above post does deal specifically to the current situation on WordPress.com.