WordPress.com has been known to experiment with its pricing from time to time, and the platform announced another major change today. Users on the Free plan are now able to use monetization features without upgrading.
In the past, WordPress.com users who wanted to earn money on their websites by collecting donations, creating a newsletter, or selling items or subscriptions, had to be on one of the paid plans. These monetization features are now available to all users on all tiers.
The fee structure varies, based on the user’s plan. Transaction fees are the highest for Free users at 10%, but it gives creators the opportunity to see if they can make money without it costing anything upfront. Commerce plan users ($70/month or $45/month billed annually) don’t pay any transaction fees. Stripe also collects 2.9% + US$0.30 for each payment made to a Stripe account in the US.
|WordPress.com Plan||Payment Fees|
Self-hosted WordPress users already have many free plugin options to monetize theirs sites but with that comes the requirement of knowing how to maintain and update their own sites. WordPress.com’s offering is targeted at creators who just want to get started making money online. The company is inching closer to being a one-stop shop for websites, especially as it makes a play for former Google Domains customers who are looking for somewhere to host domains after theirs were sold to Squarespace.
It’s important to note that creating a full-featured online store is still restricted to Business and Commerce plans. Using Pay with PayPal to accept credit and debit card payments via PayPal is also only available via an upgraded plan.
WordPress.com’s pricing page has not yet been updated to reflect monetization features as being free – i.e. the Personal plan still lists paid subscribers and premium content gating as an upgrade. It’s possible the team hasn’t edited that page yet or this may be another pricing experiment.
Expanding the availability of monetization features is likely to be received as a positive change, since users are not losing any features that were previously free. Instead, they have the opportunity to see if they can monetize and then adjust their plans based on their comfort level with the transaction fees extracted.