Blogging, Life, Thoughts, Wordpress

A Simple Question

Would hosting this blog on a web server be a nice idea? Would I be losing readership?

Your advice will be appreciated. πŸ™‚

Advertisements
Standard

38 thoughts on “A Simple Question

  1. You will lose all the google/searchengine hits, referrals, etc for a while, as you’re going to have a new domain.

    If you’re remotely thinking of doing it or think it might be a possibility in the future, invest in your own domain and domain mapping here now. It’s $15/year, although I’d recommend getting your domain from another place as there have been complaints in the support forum regarding the whois information that is displayed on the net and that you’re unable to change it. Whereas with your own domain you can change it easier. Plus I think there is a 6 month periode in which you cant move a domain purchased at wp to your own place.

    You will also lose the tag referrals, the ‘next’ referrals and anythign else wp.com specific.

    The wordpress.org forums are also quite unfriendly and have less volunteers, at least that’s what I thought every time I looked on there.

    If all of the above doesn’t matter to you, do it!

  2. you just bought the css upgrade only recently, didn’t you? would be a waste to let it go if you move domains… i guess it boils down on what you really want. if you feel wp.com is too restricting, self-hosting would definitely be a better option.

    personally, as a reader, for some reason i don’t feel as ‘close’ to a blogger when s/he has shifted from wp.com to their own domain. to me, wp.com has a community feeling that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

  3. Apart from the fact that you will loose out on your current address and hence all your link building hard work, I think its a good idea to shift to a host, just because of the amazing variety of themes and plugins you get, not to mention the fact that you can develop your own themes and plugins and hack the existing ones.

  4. Someone has commented that you will loose on the wp.com community features, like tag referrals and so on. This is true, but there are other blogging communities out there where you can popularize your blog. Two very different examples are blogrush and technorati.

  5. Ruhi: I think at least some of the issues are not dissimilar to those you would face if you were simply to move to, say, Typepad. You will lose your Technorati ranking. It is stupid but that is how it is. [I think Technorati needs to be lobbied to make this change. What say – shall we set up a petition? :-)]

    You will also find that those who link to you will not always respond to requests to change the links. You have to let that be. But this will also affect your Technorati ranking.

    The fundamental question therefore is – does Technorati drive your traffic? If not, this is an unnecessary analysis. If it does, you have to think twice.

    Now marketer’s hat off, technical hat on:

    You seem to be keen on doing your own hacks etc. Hosting your own will definitely be more fun for you. But then again, do the maths and see if WordPress CSS upgrades will not address those needs adequately.

    This requires you to address a more fundamental question: why do you blog? Do you blog to play with CSS sheets or do you blog to showcase your writing or to build a community towards some other end? Then one has to assess what fits your needs best.

    Or as the marketer would say: what is this animal called ‘need’? And then think about the product concept from there – wait, YOU are the newly minted MBA! πŸ˜‰ I am sure you will do this analysis yourself.

    On to promoting: I recall an interview where you said you do not do anything particular to promote your blog.

    While that may be the case, there are many ways to promote your blog through networks. Blogher is one (rather crappy if one has to post content there unlike Zimbio which pings your blog to pick content); Technorati is another. If you use Facebook, you can Flog your Blog there using the tools available. Your privacy settings will determine how many new readers you get(I do not get many but some of my friends read my blog from there). Mainly I think many readers come here because you post sensible comments on other high profile and broadly read blogs. Some, not all, of these avenues are affected by how you host.

    Personally I do not care for hosting. I have enough technical stuff going on around me. I manage a complicated network with various machines and devices, wireless and wired etc in my house and have done so for nearly a decade. I would also rather spend time writing and reading and client work than doing CSS modifications. I prefer clean themes and in fact stop reading blogs which get too crowded out by the bells and whistles.

    Good luck.

  6. When you host your own,

    You will have full control of your coding, themes, anything and everything on your blog.

    You can install additional plugins, and have more stuff on blog.

    You have ads, if you want

    You can upgrade the blog, whenever there is a new release ( there is going to be a 2.4 release )

    hmm about loosing readership… if you can manage it well.. those feed readers, and feed readers can be redirected to your new blog.. but those search engine visits, will land on your wordpress blog itself.. and gradually, it will find its way to your newly hosted blog too. You can have others update their blog rolls, send our an email, give links, or make a post and put link to new blog there…. lot of ways to make your new blog known.

    And anything about installing your blog, and initial setup, drop me a line, when you need help… I am sure, I can help you with that πŸ™‚

  7. You can upgrade the blog, whenever there is a new release ( there is going to be a 2.4 release )

    Well, it’s more like you have to update really.. And then there’s incompatibility of plugins, database backups, etc.

  8. Depends on your requirement and the kind of time you have. You should know that it’ll take a long time to attain your current glories and it wouldn’t be too smooth a journey. You should know that it’ll take a long time to achieve the perfect look.

    And then there’s all these problems with updating your software versions and stuff. And then your server downtimes. Depends on if you want more of a look/satisfaction or hits.

    On the brightside though, you get to use Javascript, bookmarklets and so many other things which really give you an outlet for your creativity. So it’s pretty much upto you to make a decision.

  9. @ Cat:

    You will lose all the google/searchengine hits, referrals, etc for a while, as you’re going to have a new domain.

    That is something that I’m really scared of, unfortunately.

    If you’re remotely thinking of doing it or think it might be a possibility in the future, invest in your own domain and domain mapping here now.

    I did buy a .com domain for this blog, for the simple reason that timeandagain.com isn’t available (some movie). So, I didn’t want to lose timeandagainblog.com to someone else. I have domain mapping on another blog of mine; it is quite worthwhile, but I’m really not sure if I want to give WP.com another $10 from my pocket. I’ve already spent $25 on stuff that should be free, you know?

    I do get some tag referrals and my posts are frequently featured in the top posts. I will be losing those hits, yes.

    The wordpress.org forums are also quite unfriendly and have less volunteers, at least that’s what I thought every time I looked on there.

    Totally agree. It looks much ‘dirtier’ too. I do have the technological efficiency to do most of the things myself and I can dig around the forums for most of my answers. So, I won’t really be needing their help.

    Right now, one of the most important things for me is not having a good google ranking and reduced number of hits. I know the regulars will follow me there, but I’m not sure if it will be as easy for random people to find my blog.

    @Sulz

    you just bought the css upgrade only recently, didn’t you? would be a waste to let it go if you move domains

    Yes 😦 I was thinking about that too.

    personally, as a reader, for some reason i don’t feel as β€˜close’ to a blogger when s/he has shifted from wp.com to their own domain. to me, wp.com has a community feeling that cannot be replicated anywhere else.

    Me neither. There is an amazing sense of community here and it’s really much easier to form friendships and visit each other’s blog.

    @Munim

    You pointed out one of the advantages that has made me thinking of going independent- the style variation and the independence to manage to so many things and learnhow to do it. Staying at WP.com, I will never learn such stuff.

    I don’t really get much traffic from Technorati, even though my ranking is quite good. Like I told Cat, I am to some extent, worried about losing the traffic that I get from WP.com. If my post gets featured in the top posts, then I get a lot of hits that day. But otherwise…most of my hits come from Google Search. So, if I were to shift, then it might take a long time for me to perfect the SEO.

    @Ankur

    Loads of reasons…loads of pros and cons. I’m thinking of doing a summary posts based on the discussion here. One of the reasons you might want to shift is because WP.com is very restrictive. And domain mapping should really have been free. Even the CSS Upgrade.

  10. @ Shefaly:

    Yes, definitely! Let’s file for a petition. My legal skills might finally come into use. I only exercise it for winning arguments with my friends these days. πŸ˜›

    You will also find that those who link to you will not always respond to requests to change the links. You have to let that be. But this will also affect your Technorati ranking.

    Agree! I can expect most of my regulars (on my Blogroll) to respond to my request, but there are many others who wouldn’t care. But then again, is technorati ranking really that important? I don’t really get much traffic from them. Most of my traffic comes from Google Search and to a lesser extent, from WP.com top posts list, in case my post makes it. I also get some hits from tag referrals, but these die down after 2-3 hours of the post being published.

    But then again, do the maths and see if WordPress CSS upgrades will not address those needs adequately.

    Shefaly, like you can see, I have been playing around with CSS since the time I got the upgrade. But I have to admit that it’s a big hassle to get even a small thing fixed using only the CSS. For example- I had to toil for more than 2 hours to make my header image clickable. I could have instead, spent these two hours making substantial changes to my blog, if I had access to the php files and could add javascript.

    Or as the marketer would say: what is this animal called β€˜need’?

    This is the biggest roadblock and the answer is quite complicated. My needs keep changing, depending upon what I’ve got. πŸ˜‰ Earlier, my need was the CSS upgrade. Now, it’s one step higher- Self hosting it. Call it a type of “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”.

    On to promoting: I recall an interview where you said you do not do anything particular to promote your blog.

    I feel that’s quite true. I haven’t tried Blogher; so I can’t comment on it. Technorati also, I don’t see much use…really. Maybe other people enjoy lots of hits from there, but this blog has never received too many hits from Technorati. So, I can safely ignore it, except for the “compulsion” to have a good ranking. I am on Facebook and did use the WP plug in there to draw my friends to my blog. Then I removed it because it was only referring around one or two people. So, if the same people access my blog everyday from my profile, I’m sure they must have memorized the URL and don’t need that plug in anymore.

    Mainly I think many readers come here because you post sensible comments on other high profile and broadly read blogs.

    I agree completely and that is something that has been bothering me. I feel that we should visit good blogs even though the blog author might never visit ours. But funnily, most of the bloggers prefer commenting on blogs whose authors reciprocate. In one way, this works in my favor because even if I were to self host it, then I can change my URL and that’s it!

    I have enough technical stuff going on around me.

    Great point! Maybe because I don’t manage so many other things that I feel the need to get complicated. πŸ˜‰

    I prefer clean themes and in fact stop reading blogs which get too crowded out by the bells and whistles.

    Same here! I can’t tolerate dark themes either.:)

    @Dinsan

    Looks like the good thing about self hosting is full control on the way it looks and the functionality of it. I don’t want ads on my blog and I can’t have ads, because of my visa status in the US. So, that’s a no-no.

    Can you tell me how difficult it is to upgrade to a new release? Is it a lot of hassle?

    I have found myself forgetting to visit self hosted blogs because they are not on my blog surfer. So, I guess, I have to think twice- whether readerships is important or not. If I can seperate the readership from my need for creativity, then I guess I should take the plunge.

    And anything about installing your blog, and initial setup, drop me a line, when you need help… I am sure, I can help you with that πŸ™‚

    Thanks a lot πŸ™‚ I might just need your help! (Esp. if there is an upgrade coming).

    @Ish

    Yeah..lots of pros and cons. Right now, I’m kind of not liking the CSS Upgrade. It takes a lot of work to make small changes. You know the header image episode very well. Copying and pasting from 1000s of themes is so much easier. Plus, all thos plug ins are fabulous. But yeah, I don’t know how long it will take for me to come up on Google Search. I’ll have to find a way for SEO.

    @Veenu

    Now you understood what I was talking about? Ish told us that your blog got hacked. But I can’t see your blog…still! Ar you sure it’s up and running?

  11. To be honest I’d definitely do the domain mapping. Yes, it’s $10 but it is really worth it. especially if you ever do decide to make move, be it in 6 months, 2 years you will take all your google juice with you.

    I’ve had the domain for give or take six months now and yeah, I’m PR 0 [I switched just when they updated it], it took a while for things to work out, but I’m back now and if I ever move I’ll still have that rather than have a new blog, lose tag referrals and all the google juice.

    One thing you have to remember [lol] is that changing your domain here is smooth, both domains work, just the old one will phase out. If you move, havetoremember.wordpress.com will be worthless and all with it.

  12. ohh come on 15$ p.a. is a small price to pay for the simplicity wp brings…
    i had a blogger account 2 years ago and making any modifications was a pain in the ass… (esp since i am technically challenged when it comes to web applications)

  13. @Ruhi: All those plugins are amazing for sure but they aren’t perfect either. I’ve worked on a self hosted blog and it’s not a lot of fun. Most of the amazing themes you see there are from people who have made it on their own. Otherwise you’ll have to put in work and effort in fixing things up. I like Cat’s idea though..buy a domain and then shift when you have the time. That way you get to take the Google juice [as she calls it] with you.

    @Vaishno: Even I can’t see your blog. I get redirected to my WordPress.com dashboard.

  14. @ Cat:

    Hmm…I’ll probably have to give it a thought then. I paid $10 for another blog’s domain mapping 6 months back, then $15 for the CSS upgrade here! If I don’t go on a self hosted blog soon, then I’ll definitely do the domain mapping thing. Btw, I like that word- Google “juice”. Has a nice ring to it πŸ˜‰

    @Ankur

    I didn’t say $15 is much. It’s just that it should actually have been free.

    for the simplicity wp brings…

    Yes, it’s simple, because there is no javascript and other plug ins and other things to play with.

    esp since i am technically challenged when it comes to web applications)

    That might explain your reluctance πŸ™‚ I do really want to stay at WP.com, but I feel a little dissatisfied even after getting the CSS upgrade, because WP.com is still very restrictive. I like to explore and learn new things.

    @Ish

    Yes, actually, I have been working on a self hosted blog too, since the last two-three days. It is a lot of work, yes. But it’s a lot of fun too. It depends…really. I spent a lot of time fixing stuff with the CSS upgrade too, and I could have easily set up my own self hosted blog in all that time. 😦 There are lots of pros and cons. Thanks a lot for your feedback though. I’ll need to give it a lot of thought.

  15. Things is and this is why I prefer wp.com to being selfhosted, as much as I like blogging, it’s not my highest priority in life. Like now, I’ve made one post on four days. I have loads I want to blog about though.

    If I was selfhosted I’d have the whole trouble of having to look after my blog and find time/energy to blog.

    And wp.com offer me my blog, three server locations, a relatively bug free software, barely any adverts, support and the community. And that’s worth the domain mapping for me. And the CSS upgrade was only because I fell in love with Diurnal!

  16. @ Cat:

    That makes a lot of sense. It shouldn’t really be very high on my priority either. I guess you’re right. It’s better if I just stick here, without any back up or server tension. If you’ve noticed, even I haven’t really blogged much in the past couple of days. More of “mini posts”. Since I have the CSS upgrade here, it’s better that I play around with it for sometime. πŸ™‚ I’ll probably get the domain mapping after a couple of weeks. I don’t feel like spending $10 now.

    We had some great discussion in the comments section here and I think we addressed most of the important issues. πŸ™‚ I can make a post out of all the comments.

    Everyone– Thanks a lot for your advice. My mind definitely feels less cluttered now and in all probability, I’ll just stay here.

  17. “”Can you tell me how difficult it is to upgrade to a new release? Is it a lot of hassle?””

    Its simple, 3 steps.

    1 Deactivate all plugins
    2 Upload New WordPress, Overwriting the Existing one
    Access the /upgrade.php file and finish the upgrade !!

    Blog surfer hmmmm but, you can have everyone add your blog to RSS readers… and that should do I think

    But anyways, for quite sometime, traffic is a question. But if you are not happy, you can always cancel it and come back here !

    πŸ™‚

  18. ruhi,
    Think about it from the reader’s perspective, which is twofold.

    1.If i’m the casual blog reader, and i somehow stumbled to to a blog,then i wont take all the pains ,actually it’ll be difficult for me. πŸ™‚

    2.Secondly If i like a particular blog which i happen to read, then no matter what , you manage to navigate to it,inspite of whatever domain changes may have happened.

    So it’s all up to you,if you are okay with losing the stray reader…:D

  19. @ dinsan:

    Great…doesn’t sound that difficult.

    But anyways, for quite sometime, traffic is a question. But if you are not happy, you can always cancel it and come back here !

    Sounds good πŸ™‚ I’ll wait for a couple of days and see how I feel about it. Thanks for your feedback!

    @Saaki

    Actually, stray readers seldom come back. Most of them come here to read some piece of information and then leave…it is the regular readers that I care about more. Having said that, stray readers do bring me a lot of hits too. I need to do some more thinking before I decide to shift. I’m really not sure if I want to do it, mostly because of the time constraints. Thanks for your feedback! πŸ™‚

  20. Ros says:

    I wonder why you keep saying that the things WP.com charge for ‘should be free’? They’re a business, they don’t have any obligation to hand out any stuff free. Personally, I’m pretty happy to have a free blog given to me. If you can get everything you want elsewhere for free, then why stick with WP.com?

  21. @ Ros:

    They’re a business, they don’t have any obligation to hand out any stuff free.

    No, they don’t have any such obligation. But it’s my opinion, which I’m entitled to.

    If you can get everything you want elsewhere for free, then why stick with WP.com?

    Probably you don’t know about the recent movement I’d started against Blogger when they’d stopped other non-Google users from leaving behind their blog URL. I’m here at WP.com because I like the blogging community and the ease of use. This, however, doesn’t mean that WP.com doesn’t have restrictions. If I do want a free blog, then I’ll stick to WP.com, else just go self-hosted (which is what this post was all about).

  22. Do hits and links really matter that much? I think they only matter when you have commercialised your blog [put in ads etc.], otherwise they are mostly a showoff tool. πŸ™‚

    Hits should never be the point of concern. Ask these questions to yourself –
    1) Are you prepared to be the ADMIN of your site, which includes taking backups, fixing things if they go wrong in coding, dealing with your host and uptime issues etc?
    2) If you specifically want to change just for themes, does it really matter that much? [The fun wears of, I swear.]
    3) Do you have faithful readers? Lets face it, if they like you so much, wouldn’t they FOLLOW you and be happy? [My conversion rate was 100% btw, I had 13 readers. :D]
    4) Do you plan on shifting when you get famous? Do so now then, because th e more you postpone the late it will be. πŸ™‚

    I’d choose self-hosting just for the control, its MY SPACE, I do whatever I like. No need to conform to a community rule. πŸ™‚

  23. @ munim:

    Yeah! That’s one of my gripes against WP.com. We can’t modify anything! 😦 Btw, I’m not being able to view your blog…it says “Page not Found”.

    @Ash

    What a convincing comment man! πŸ™‚ I’m confused AGAIN. Let me answer each of your points. Please feel to correct me if I’m wrong anywhere, because you have a self-hosted blog and know much more. Btw, I was really hoping that you would come here and let me know what you feel…because you have a self hosted blog too.

    Do hits matter? Not really. I care about quality discussions- which 98% of the times- come from my regular readers. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, I’m quite prepared. I don’t think taking backups take that long. There are plug ins to help you that take only a minute. I’m quite comfortable with coding and stuff. Frankly speaking, I have seen tons of amazing copy and paste themes. So, there won’t be much coding anyway.

    2. I don’t know if I specifically want to change just for themes. It is one of the reasons, yes. Plus, like you said, it’s more to do with freedom and the attitude that it’s my blog and I do what I like…I keep it how I like.

    3. I think I do πŸ˜› And hopefully, they’ll follow me.

    4. Famous? Heh. I will be stuck here forever. Maybe with a domain hosting (like Cat mentioned), I can get my own URL here and if I happen to shift to self hosting anytime, then the process with be smoother (links and Google ranking wise). But yes, it’s better to shift while we still can. I’ve been blogging since a little more than a year, which is really not that much.

  24. I think one of the main reasons why I like .com [apart from the ones already mentioned above!] is the workarounds. Things work instantly. There are only some things I’d change and it’s quite nicce seeing them work out.

    Like the Xbox Live Gamercard on my blog, like the welcome box which I’m so going to steal and other things.

    And I don’t think point number 4 matters to be honest. It’s all about the url which you can domain map. Think about it, what else would you get for $15?

    πŸ™‚

  25. Sorry, what I meant is the whole blogging works without issues giving me time to concentrate on other things, to find workarounds.

  26. well, yes you would lose your hits temprorily because of the url change ..but it may start rising again…
    but i guess you could put adds on ur blog and u are a good blogger u would gain the readers in no time πŸ˜›

  27. @ Cat:

    I actually like that Xbox Gamecard of yours. Looks very cool πŸ™‚ I agree with you when you say that wp.com definitely gives us more time to write instead of focusing on the administrative part.

    There are so many points in the comments section now. I think I need to sum them up into a post. πŸ™‚

    @Arvind

    Agreed. I guess I’ll stick here for sometime and then see if I have the time to do all that stuff. I’ve been working on a self hosted blog since the past one week and my writing has definitely gone down.

  28. Carrying linkage will always be a problem. 4) pertains to CONTENT. The longer you stay, the more content you make [quality or not, thats your problem]. When migrating, it becomes a headache when porting that over. You wouldn’t want your hardwork gone down the drain would you. WordPress especially had a nagging problem when I hopped over in that it was difficult to import exported wordpress.com data. My host had to do it all manually for me.

    Things work instantly. There are only some things I’d change and it’s quite nicce seeing them work out.
    Sure but only those things that the wordpress folks think or like to add. I mean how many people leave Snapshots on?

    It gets back to control. Do you want to use the services you want [and don’t mind doing a few minutes of work to get it working] or do you like to not meddle in things and use whatever the admins choose? This will be a niggling issue especially because many people cry out wordpress restricts this and that when they provide such a great service for free.

    Think now, act now. πŸ™‚

  29. And just for the record, those backup plugins don’t always work 100%. I tried two and both of them screwed up something so I took to manually backing things up. πŸ˜€

  30. It doesn’t have an impact on your blog but as far as I’m concerned, Snap is a total pain in the backside. I don’t wanna see related news whenever I hover over a link. And the worse part is that once the Snap thing appears, it’s not easy to let it go and it totally hides the links and a lot of surrounding text.

  31. //Think now, act now. πŸ™‚

    Just did that…I realized that I do want to move. So…better late than never. If I wait longer, then the authority of this blog will only grow larger and it will more difficult for me to move.

    I did initially have problems importing the comments….but then I figured that you need to make sure that the surrounding rss tags are in place. I do need to sort out the tags though. They’re a mess now.

    Yes, Pinky and the Brain’s awesome. πŸ™‚ It used to come on MTV a very looooong time back.

    I’ll probably do a manual back up every week. Hoepfully, nothing will go wrong. *shudders*

    @Cat and Ish

    I turned off my Snap thing too….I guess visitors find it annoying.

  32. Pingback: Sorry for Another Shock « Time and Again

  33. Pingback: I’m Moving Back to WP.com | Time and Again

Comments are closed.