If you are looking to start a blog, then one of the best options is WordPress.com. When you are thinking about how to get started with blogging, you should first think of what you want to do blogging for. Will yoour blog jsut be a place where you share your daily mundane activities, thoughts and general opinions or you want it to be a proper website from which you want to earn money and build a following.
In case when you want your blog to be a just a personal virtual space, you can easily start with WordPress.com which offers a hassle free and investment free blogging. However, if your strategic goal is to build your blog as a business, then there are certain inherent limitations of WordPress.com. Read the below WordPress.com limitations to see if it is for you. If it is not the case then you can read the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and build a self hosted blog.
The biggest limitation on WordPress.com is that you are not allowed to monetize it. You can not add your own Adsense or other advertising code and earn money from your blog, regardless of the amount of traffic to your blog. Similarly you can not promote affiliate offers etc. The only thing allowed is promoting your own product like your own ebook etc. Though you can run native WordAds but these are selective and are available to only those blogs which have certain amount of traffic.
You can not upload your own premium WordPress themes on WordPress.com blog. This means that your chances to customize look and feel of your website are limited only to a few themes available on WordPress.com. Even you are not allowed to modify the themes that are available in WordPress.com. You need to pay $30 per month if you want to modify the look and feel of the built in themes.
One of the biggest limitations of WordPress.com is that you can not extend the functions of your blog by installing plugins. There are thousands of plugins available on WordPress.org which can magically enhance features on your blog. However, this is not the case with blog from WordPress.com.
WordPress takes the terms and conditions very seriously and can suspend your blog in case it is reported to be in violation of their terms. This suspension is without prior notice and without giving you the opportunity to remove the infringing content. You have very little control over your blog in this sense. The final plug is not with you.
So the final thing is that you need to be first clear about the direction you want your blog to take. In caes of personal blogs, WordPress.com is enough. However, business sites and blogs will not like limitations of WordPress.com. They should invariably start with a self hosted WordPress.org blog.