Saturday 19 April, 2014 by Uncle Spike
Hello Spikey’s, in particular, my fellow bloggers… As I approach the one year mark for this blog, I find myself at a crossroads in terms of how to proceed, technically speaking. Now, if you are not very familiar with how WordPress.com/.org and other self-hosting offerings such as HostGator work, feel free to tune out now – I bid you good day and won’t bore you further 🙂
Ah… you’re still there, feel like reading on? So, I have options to consider, and I’d be really glad of some pointers 🙂
As you will know by now, Uncle Spike’s Adventures is a mix of photo posts, stories and a few other bits’n’bobs. Therefore I want to keep a ‘magazine style’, and for the moment, see no reason to change themes. It’s just a hobby blog after all; I have no commercial ambitions, so I dont crave the additional functionality and customisation options of self-hosting. My most pressing issue however, is storage, so I have started using Flickr, and that will slow down the immediate need. But it’s not that simple.
My theme (Grisaille), like most other magazine-style themes, utilises the Featured Image functionality. It’s a good feature, in that post snippets have an image which is preferable to just showing a post title and a small lump of text (boring). BUT, these Featured Images must be hosted on the WordPress Media Library – one cannot simply link to an external URL. There are plugins for wp.org or other self-hosters, but they only extract and upload the image via the URL, so basically the same storage issue for the Featured Image.
What to do, hmm…. As I see it, I have four options:
Self hosting – That would entail shifting across to WordPress.org or HostGator et al. That can be done relatively cheaply for my non-commercial needs, but my blog would potentially disappear into the ether as I would miss out on the community of amateur bloggers found on WordPress.com – such as WP Reader, and the immediacy of contact that provides. Yes you can still view non-wp.com blogs there, but not in the same way or as easily. So all in al, I don’t think self-hosting is the way to go for my blogging requirements.
Theme change – sure, I could move away from a theme that uses Featured Image, but I’ve not seen one that fits a magazine-style. I don’t want readers to have to trawl right through a whole post just to find the next one. After all, part of the underlying dynamic of this blog is that I like to keep it varied, so being able to scroll easily through post snippets remains my ultimate preference.
Purchase WP storage – the annual cost for an increase in storage is similar to the cheapest self-host packages out there, so not beyond reasonability for a hobby, even on Turkish incomes. If I could utilise Flickr as much as poss, and only upload to wp.com Media Library for Featured Images and obviously therefore for single image posts (such as photo challenges), then that would work for a long time, albeit with an annual fee
Parallel blog – I have seen this done very successfully by others, so creating a new blog (More of Uncle Spike’s Adventures), but that would entail building new followers and cross-blogging challenges, so not sure it it’s worth it. I don’t think you can move whole sections of posts between blogs, and even so, that would only result in each blog becoming effectually fractured and unnecessarily individualised.
So guys… any thoughts? Plenty of options I know, but for my non-commercial set up, is there any need, or point, in pursuing self-hosting? Maybe image hosting on Flickr for the multi-image posts and buying some storage is the way to go? Your thoughts would be very much appreciated. If you prefer, you can mail me at uncle.spikes.adventures here.@gmail.com