Is Self-Hosting Worth It?

Last October I made the decision to take the plunge and move over to a self-hosted wordpress blog on my own domain.  I knew there would be a major dip in traffic for a while, but I expected that eventually, it would pick back up.  I fell in love with all kinds of plugins and bells and whistles and the better templates available.  But five months in and I still haven’t topped more than an average of 20 visitors a day (not counting web crawlers).  This blog, on the other hand, hasn’t had new content in 5 months and still averages about 30 visitors a day.  When I moved, I totally underestimated the amount of traffic I received from WordPress.com’s “possibly related posts”, the “next blog” feature, and the people who surfed by tags.

What’s got me thinking about this today was PBW’s post about being an economical writer.   I love all her posts that challenge that you have to do things a certain way (usually involving spending massive amounts of money) in order to be a successful writer.  She has a free blog hosted by Blogger.  And an enormous following.  Why?  Because she offers valuable content.  Pretty only takes you so far on the internet.  If you don’t have something of substance to offer, people won’t come back.  I don’t think my content sucks most of the time, but I am not getting the traffic I want.

In any event, I got to thinking about it.  I’ve been spending about $5 a month on self-hosting, and I’m not getting the kind of return I’d hoped.  So I am probably the only person in history to move from the self-hosted WordPress platform back to the free dot com version.  I’m not doing anything nutty.  I’m keeping the domain and having everything forwarded here.  I’ve changed the blog title here (obviously) from A Field of Paper Flowers to Murder and Magnolias.  Eventually there will be an actual website associated with my persona as Kait Nolan, and I’ll just link directly from there to this blog.   And once she’s finished with it, I can pay about $15 a year to use the custom designed template that Christine of CYHAssociates is making for me.

It occurs to me that the link you all probably have for Murder and Magnolias is http://murderandmagnolias.com/wordpress (even though I had the regular .com forwarding to that link) because that’s probably what I told you and has been what I’ve listed everywhere.  So… :ducks head against flying shoes:  Can you change your blogroll links again?  Some of you still have this one listed under A Field of Paper Flowers and just added Murder and Magnolias (the self hosted one) to the list.  If y’all could update, I’d appreciate it.  And anybody who’s reading me through a feed, you might need to update that as well.

I know I’ve been kind of a loon about this.  It’s just the latest in a long string of lots of different blogs, email addresses, and username changes.  I was once accused of changing emails as often as I changed socks.  I am happy to report that I have been with my gmail account for several years now and am quite happy.  But the thing is, I’ve left a wake of a LOT of blogs.  Most of them I’ve deleted by now.  A lot of what was fueling this continued change was the search for the perfect username.  I wanted something that really described me. Probably I should be the target of an intervention.  I was thrilled to settle on seanachi.  It’s Gaelic for storyteller. That’s totally me and combines my love of story with my Scots heritage.  And it was perfect but for two things.  1) I misspelled it.  It really should be seanchai.  2) No one else can spell it from a marketability standpoint.  If I hadn’t been a complete idiot and told WordPress I was absolutely positive I’d never use kaitnolan.wordpress.com again, I’d have moved there again, but stupid me…  Oh well.  Domain forwarding works.  Or will, once I get all the hosted wordpress files taken down.

So…yeah, I guess I’m back here.  If you’re following me, thank you!

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