There are two different types of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. This can certinaly be confusing but it needn't be. Just what is the difference between them and which is the best choice for your blog?
Let's start by looking at the difference. WordPress.com is a hosted service, which means that you create a blog on WordPress's servers. It's very quick and easy to set up a new blog and WordPress.com offers beautiful templates plus many other features including stats, security and backups. You can even get a custom domain, which means you can change the URL of your WordPress blog from, for example 'yourname.wordpress.com' to 'yourname.com'. This helps with your branding and gives you a more memorable URL to share as you promote your blog. WordPress.com is free unless you buy any of the additional services offered there.
The alternative is WordPress.org. With WordPress.org you'll need to buy your own web hosting and install the WordPress software there. This is more difficult than setting up WordPress.com, but there are plenty of online tutorials to help you and you can pay a web designer or freelancer to do it for you if you prefer. WordPress.org is also free of charge.
So why would you choose getting your hands dirty with WordPress.org when you can set up a blog in seconds with WordPress.com? It's all about control. With WordPress.com you need to stick to WordPress.com's terms of service. If you break them then you could lose your blog.
If you're blogging to promote your business then having a WordPress.com blog could give the wrong impression, too. If your clients know that it's cheap and fairly easy to set up a self-hosted blog then it could look unprofessional to use a hosted blog such as WordPress.com, especially if you haven't set up a custom domain. If you already have a business website then it's often easy to add a blog to it, so it's worth discussing this with your web designer before you create a blog at WordPress.com.
On the other hand, if you're just dipping a toe in the blogging world, perhaps for pleasure or to promote a cause, then a WordPress.com blog could be a great choice. You can switch from a hosted WordPress site to a self-hosted WordPress site later on if you need to, so this doesn't need to be a big decision.
There are many other advantages to having a self-hosted blog, too. There's a huge choice of themes and plugins which means you can choose almost any feature you want for your site from design features such as fonts, colors and layouts to functional features such as shopping carts and email sign-up boxes. So there's plenty of room for your blog to grow, for example if you'd like to sell advertising or information products in future.
So there you have it, the differences between the two types of WordPress and a guide to help you decide which is best for your blog, right now.