For the Iowa City Photographers Guild website, we chose WordPress.com because it is versatile and inexpensive. The basic hosting package is $18 a year for domain registration and hosting.
Once your website starts gaining traffic, WordPress.com reserved the right to place advertising at the bottom of your posts. It’s a complement if you see their advertising appear. It means they think your site is worth advertising on. However, it may be an annoyance to your site visitors.
You can disable advertising on WordPress.com from the Store menu, found in the Dashboard (your website control center). Within the store, there is an option to pay $30 per year for no advertising – a fairly inexpensive ad-on.
So, disabling ads raises the annual hosting fee by $30 from $18 a year to $48 per year. It’s still economical. The $30 fee is presumably to cover the approximate annual revenue WordPress.com will lose when you stop ads.
Today we upgraded the Iowa City Photographers Guild website to be ad free. We felt the ads detracted from our site and it was well worth the $30 to turn them off.