said 1 year, 2 months ago:
Well, there actually is a paid version of Wordpress at Wordpress.com. What Erik is talking about is the underlying software, which you can download for free from Wordpress.org. Or most web hosting companies today seem to offer WP as a pre-set install, so once you sign up for their hosting you don’t actually have to download anything — just click the “install” button in your hosting control panel and voilá!
The advantages Erik mentioned are some of the many reasons I strongly advocate the self-hosted WP option. (You don’t even have to purchase a template — if you’re good with design and understand HTML/CSS, you can fairly easily create your own totally custom theme. Everything you need to know is thoroughly documented in the Wordpress Codex at http://codex.wordpress.org.)
If you’re comparing between WP.com and Blogger, though, there aren’t too many reasons to make the switch — other than, if you’re already using a WP format blog, when you do finally decide to step up to hosting on your own domain, the transition will be easier and you won’t lose all your old posts. You can simply use the export function in the WP.com blog and the import function in your new self-hosted WP blog and all your content can be migrated over.
But really, really, you should consider getting your own domain name and hosting your own WP blog instead of using somebody else’s service. As Erik says, you get control over everything. You can decide what plugins you want to install instead of choosing from a limited list. You have total freedom over the look and feel instead of choosing from a relatively small selection of themes. And when you build your audience, you’re doing it for your own domain, your own brand.
That’s definitely the way to go, IMO.