WordPress.com Allows Users To Monetize Websites for Free

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An image of a WordPress.com template with a white menu highlighting the ability to include paid content.
WordPress.com users can now monetize their websites using paid content even on the free plan.
  • Monetize your WordPress.com website no matter what plan you’re on
  • Users can set up an online store and start taking payments without spending a cent so long as the website is operating in a country that is compatible with Stripe.

It’s a well-known fact that most website builders hide their monetization tools behind a paywall. Until recently, WordPress.com was one of them. To earn money, its users needed to upgrade to a paid plan – however, in its newest update, the platform is changing the narrative, allowing all users to accept payments regardless of their plan. This means that even users on WordPress’ free website builder plan will be able to make money from their websites.

WordPress identifies this as a move that’s “about empowering you to take creative risks,” allowing users to “push boundaries instead of fretting about what it’ll cost.” The initiative certainly opens up doors for those on a budget, broadening the functionality of a free WordPress website and making the platform’s overall offering more attractive.

With monetization tools unlocked across all plans, users will be able to do the following:

  • Create an online store
  • Send paid newsletters to subscribers
  • Release premium content for visitors
  • Offer memberships and subscriptions
  • Request donations and tips
  • Use PayPal to accept credit and debit card payments
  • Advertise via WordPress
  • Add affiliate links to your content
  • Publish sponsored posts

WordPress.com now joins the ranks of Square Online, which is one of the only other prominent website builders to allow users to sell for free. Like Square Online, WordPress aims to remove limitations for its users, but that doesn’t mean its new initiative doesn’t come with some drawbacks.

The first of these is that to take advantage of WordPress’ free monetization, you need to be located in a country that is compatible with Stripe Payments. Although 49 countries support Stripe, there are a few that fall outside of the eligibility criteria.

The second thing to bear in mind is that although WordPress.com advertises the ability to accept payments as free, users will be subject to transaction fees. Those on the free plan will need to pay 10% in payment fees, as well as a standard Stripe fee depending on your country of residence. As you progress up WordPress.com’s premium plans, the fees you pay gradually decrease until you reach its Commerce plan, where you’ll pay nothing.

WordPress.com Plan Payment Fees
WordPress.com Commerce 0%*
WordPress.com Business 2%*
WordPress.com Premium 4%*
WordPress.com Personal 8%*
WordPress.com Free 10%*
* Depending on region, users will also have to pay a standard Stripe fee in addition to WordPress.com's transaction fee

WordPress.com has implemented the sliding scale, it says, as a way to “make this as accessible to as many people as possible.” It uses the analogy of choosing the right gear for a bike. Users can start in a lower gear and shift upwards as they gain momentum.


It also means that unlocking selling tools for free plan users doesn’t take away the incentive to upgrade. If users want the best terms for monetization, the more expensive plans still look attractive because they come with fewer hidden costs.

Still, in allowing users to start monetizing their websites without having to upgrade, WordPress.com has taken a bold step to set itself apart from other website builders out there. It currently resides in the minority of platforms that offer this, which will certainly make it an attractive option for cash-strapped entrepreneurs looking to get their businesses underway. 

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Once upon a time, my digital knowledge was virtually nonexistent – I couldn’t even hook a printer up to my laptop without a good helping of blush-inducing curses. Since then, I’ve worked hard to change that and, thanks to the team here at Website Builder Expert, I’ve learned a lot (who knew that hosting doesn’t just refer to handing out drinks at a summer BBQ?). Using my passion for words and my own experiences with website-building and digital marketing, I’m determined to help others like me get comfortable and take the internet by storm– without any stress or the need for profanities!

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