WordPress or Not
This blog had its humble origins at wordpress before moving on to this new self hosted location. Since then, many suns have set, many Biharis have got beaten up in Mumbai, a Black man has been elected US president, India has found an Olympic champion, and the global economy has gone into the crapper.
How has our experience been? A wise old man said, “Think before you Leap“.
Our words of wisdom: “Think before you Host“.
For people contemplating moving to their own hosted blogs, here’s our reflections on the experience and on the pros and un-pros of going it alone.
Hosting on WordPress.com
1. One word. FREE!
What can i say? That’s an important one.
2. Convenience of setup
Setting up your blog on wordpress is as easy as blinking your eye, and some more. You can pick from a number of themes and have the blog up and running in no time.
3. No Downtime
WordPress does a great job of maintaining its servers, and your blog will be up and available pretty much most of the time. We rarely observed accessibility issues while on wordpress.com.This could be an issue once you move to independent hosting providers.
WordPress also does a great job of providing a steady stream of traffic to your blog through subscribers looking for your tags/categories. There’s a huge community that wordpress has built up, and being on wordpress helps in getting your blog some publicity.
1. WordPress Dot Kaun?
A blog on wordpress is not really your own website. The coolness quotient goes up a notch once you are running your own show.
2. Migration is a Breeze
To make it a seamless move, you can export the contents of your existing blog including posts and comments, onto the new blog. You would typically use the wordpress.org software which means that you blog the same way and using the same interface.
3. Plug into Flexibility
WordPress.org provides thousands of plugins that you can use to provide a much richer functionality on the blog. Some of these plugins let you setup ratings for posts, polls on various topics, enhance the commenting functionality, send thank you emails to users who comment, allow users to recieve email notifications on follow up comments, have tags appear on a virtual sphere, add flickr integration, and do pretty much anything you could think of.
If a plugin that does what you want does not exist, you can write it! Its all super flexible and extensible. A post on our favorite plugins coming up.
4. Do your Makeup
You can completely customize the look of your blog if you are comfortable with scripting and web development. WordPress.com would charge you for custom upgrades to the blog stylesheet.
5. Script Away
This limitation is eliminated when you self host.
6. Get some Kool Aid
You can setup your own favicons, which are the tiny icons that browsers such as firefox display in the address bar.
Its like your individual stamp in the world of websites. Certainly made our chest swell with pride upon seeing the amreekandesi favicon up there.
7. Share the Love
You can do cool things such as joining the dofollow movement, and share linklove with your readers.
8. Quit Your Job
If you are a blogging god, you can actually make money out of the blog by putting up ads. WordPress.com would not let you do that.
1. Hole in the Pocket
Not all good things in life are free! You will have to pay money to a hosting provider who may eventually not provide the reliable service that wordpress.com does. We are running on Bluehost and so far it has been a smooth ride. One great feature is that we pay for hosting once, and can host any number of websites on our account.
Currently in the process of setting up a technical blog. Watch out for a formal announcement soon.
2. Traffic Jammed
You lose out on all the traffic that wordpress.com used to send to you. You were getting 25 million hits a day, and now you are down to just 10k. How much does that suck?
3. Ranking Goes for a Toss
You lose the pagerank on the old blog.
You were the most popular kid in school, and suddenly your parents decided to move to a new city. You were force to move to a new school where no one knew who you were, and you have to start afresh to establish your coolness.
4. Readership in a Warp
You will have to work hard on retaining your old readers, and moving existing backlinks to your new blog address.
Self hosting is like a rope that you could hang yourself with, if not careful enough. We would say it is like running your own business as against working at a stable fortune 500 company; so much more excitement and so much more uncertainty. If you are keen on establishing your own personal enterprise on the internet, we would recommend self hosting, but be prepared to put in some extra work.