If you use WordPress for your self-hosted site, there are many plugins available to support marketing and selling your products. The free, or nearly free, WordPress.com service can also be used to promote a business, sell products, or request donations, but there are a few conditions. These are discussed below, and are largely summarized from this WordPress page.

You should be familiar with the user guidelines for WordPress.com. Basically, site content should be original, and not offensive. You should read the terms and conditions too.

Forget running ads to make money, no matter how many posts you read about making fortunes running ads. WordPress.com runs ads on your site, unless you pay to remove them. That’s part of how they can offer the service for free. You cannot place Google AdSense Ads or anything similar. If you are getting thousands of page views per month, there is an advertising service from WordPress you may be able to join, but for most of us that’s not an option.

However, you can place affiliate links, such as links using the Amazon Associates program. Links have to be for reputable sites, and WordPress decides what is reputable, but if you have to wonder, it’s probably not. Also, you cannot build a site just to place affiliate links. If you write book reviews, and post an affiliate link for each book reviewed, that’s okay, but you cannot make a site that looks like an online bookstore.

A site that promotes your business (like this site) is allowed, though I recommend purchasing a package that removes ads. There’s no point in promoting potential competitors. You can also sell products and request donations. You won’t be able to set up a shopping cart system or payment system, but you can provide links to your products on sites like etsy, or sell items directly and collect payment through PayPal. You can post PayPal links or buttons following these directions.  WordPress also has a complete tutorial on setting up a business site.

You can request donations, using the PayPal donate button, but you must meet the PayPal requirements for donations – in other words, be a registered charity. Charities may also quality for a discount on their PayPal processing fees. If you are not a charity, you can still request contributions, but those contributions are purchases, not donations.

If you are selling or promoting products that might be considered mature, such as nude photographs or drawings, make sure you mark your site as Mature, and understand the limitations of mature content.

Although there are some restrictions and conditions, in many cases you can use a free WordPress site to quickly and easily promote your business, or sell products you have made. If you would like assistance setting up or modifying a WordPress site, please contact us.