Seeking Your Advice…

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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 🙂

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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:

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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.

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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

Thanks,

UNCLE SPIKE

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57 thoughts on “Seeking Your Advice…

  1. […] A while back I was having some real issues with my blog. I was rapidly running out of storage space, and was considering my options, including jumping ship to self-hosting. It was all wrapped up in a post titled Seeking Your Advice. […]

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  2. […] sadly, happens to be true, and EXACTLY what happened to your dear old Uncle Spike, hence my post Seeking Your Advice last […]

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  3. Hi Spike, I went the route of purchasing more space on WordPress. It seemed to the be easiest solution for me. You know, the KISS principle at work. I keep my followers, don’t have to worry about syncing across sites, plus I don’t have to waste time with the maintenance of self-hosting. I used to work in the hi-tech/software industry and quite frankly burned out on it so the last thing I wanted to do was to design/create a website. Your needs, skills, and desires probably differ from mine but those are the reasons I went the way I did.

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  4. I won’t give you technical advice. My hope is to read your words and enjoy your pictures for another great year of blogging. Cheers to your ideas!

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  5. I just send my photographs to Dad and my text and he does the rest with the techy stuff like re-sizing and storage so I can’t help, but I know he likes the spam filters on WordPress although we get lots of traffic from Facebook that doesn’t show up in wordpress? I know there’s things he’s still getting to learn about. Sounds like you’ve sorted it from the other commentators but if you need me to ask him send me an e-mail 🙂

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  6. AnnetteM says:

    Wow – what great advice from your followers. Thanks for posing the question. I do resize my images but probably still keep the resolution too high for screen use. About to check out filesizes. So glad found this information early on in my blogging career – what a pain to have to go through all your images now. Can’t believe you have only been blogging for a year, though, with all those followers. Congratulations!

    Like

    • Uncle Spike says:

      Thanks Annette – yep, started mid June, but only a post a week really until September.

      . I’ll do a quick summary post about this once the dust settles and I have definitive answers to what I am now attempting regards clean-up.

      Like

  7. Can’t you just upgrade to the WordPress.com professional package? It’s not that expensive and I think it will do everything you want. Also, it enables you to have a straight .com domain name, so new visitors think they’re coming to a professional rather than an amateur blog.

    Personally, I like your blog as it is. One of my friends did a big switch and lost nearly all of her followers permanently. People are quite fickle and are more hooked on a site’s content and style rather than an actual person — as much as one would like to think that the main reason for people following us is our amazing charisma and charm 😉

    That being said, I do think you’re pretty cool, Spikey, and have plenty of interest to say for yourself, although I’ve still only seen a picture of your beard and your back view 🙂

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    • Uncle Spike says:

      Hmm…

      The rest isn’t much to shout about, lol.

      I don’t have that sort of cash for an upgrade, but to be honest, now that I have been advised regarding solving my storage issues, I’m not so worried.

      I also don’t want to go down the pro route. I’m just a hobby blogger, and self-hosting or upgrades are another ball-game altogether. I’m happy as a simple soul, and as you very rightly say, why risk losing the following built up so far. Correct again that only a handful would bother to transfer across to a new blog.

      Time will tell 🙂

      Like

  8. I feel for you, Uncle Spike!
    And a timely warning for others…er, like yours truly! I’ve been uploading 1MB photos as that was the maximum suggested on the wp upload media page. Hmm. I’d better plan for the future and downsize to 100kb from now on.
    Thanks for sharing your dilemma. It’ll help / It has helped others. A grateful CC.

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  9. Scout Paget says:

    Dennis’ comments really cover the situation quite well. There are great advantages to staying with wp.

    On a personal note, I enjoy blogging on wp, but am having a hard time finding a community of bloggers who enjoy the same interest. I’ve looked into Blogger (where the majority of my friends blog) and find it a very alluring choice. It is also free, lots of storage, great reader access, and a very large blogger community. I’m considering switching over for more exposure and interaction. Only thing is, I’ve become so settling here at wp.

    Decisions, decisions.

    Like

  10. Ninna says:

    Hi Uncle! I have some experiences about this, but in less then 35 minutes I have to be somewhere else – without my Mac – but I promise I’ll write to you about this as soon as possible.
    And it is always the storage that is the big issue, isn’t it? O_o

    Like

  11. dayphoto says:

    I downsize all my photos to jpg–making my photos 428-640 in size. Helps with the storage problem…and I’ve been blogging since 2007 with lots of room left.

    ✿♥ღLinda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  12. bmagpub says:

    Hi Uncle Spike. Like Amy, I also (now) post my photos at a lower resolution and at a standard size. I use Lightroom, and export to jpg with the long edge at 800 pixels, and a resolution of 72 dpi. This is the general monitor resolution, so not much is lost. As you already us 72 dpi, consider dropping the size down too? at 800 x 600 the photos would be approx 1/9 the size of 2400 x 1800? Also, I think the featured photo doesn’t actually add so much to the overall storage unless you are uploading one especially for that purpose? I usually use one from the post, or one already uploaded if it is a text only post.

    Crowd funding?

    Whichever path, I enjoy your posts.

    Cheers, Brett

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uncle Spike says:

      Your reply got nabbed by Uncle Akismet… Just happened to review by SPAM folder, hence the late reply.

      Got it, I now need to look at that going forwards and retrospectively – any thoughts on this (see my long reply to Dennis)?

      Some posts I only use URL linked images, so that’s where Featured Image is a pain; but if I can resolve the overall storage problem, no worries.

      Thanks so much for your time to help out.

      SPIKE

      Like

  13. Dennis says:

    1. Did you eat up all the wp storage? I just ask because this would be a lot. I blog over 4 years with tons of photos uploaded to wp and still are at 3 % or so. I would convert and resize images before uploading.

    2. Self Hosting or WP Hosting? If you choose selfhosted it has indeed some benefits but wp hosting has some benefits as well and they are huge. If you stay on wp one of your articles could basically go viral and nothing would happen for you.. in the case of selfhosting the provider would kick your account in case you get too much web traffic. Wp has cloud hosting and it can´t happen. You could also seek a selfhosting provider that offers cloud hosting… “a small orange” for example is one with cloud hosting I heard.

    3, About the theme. I feel with you. to be honest and this is just my opinion… the featured image themes are nice but the whole function of featured images is horrible. First you always need to apply a featured image to have it visible on the front side article excerpts… then as you said, you can´t use images from url´s. Additionally every theme shows featured images different.. but sadly not always as you like it. Finally it´s just one click of work more. I prefer to upload images to articles and not extra.

    4. Two or more blogs…. it depends on the person but it can be confusing and more work. Some love to have multiple blogs and other like me don´t. This depends on you.

    Finally everything depends on you but if you want a suggestion… for personal blogging, wp. com gives you all you need. I would highly recommend to use wp and no selfhosting. If you want to fully take care about writing, you have no other work. They do the updates for you. You would need to do this if you choose selfhosting. It´s not bad but be prepared that it is more complex but theirfore also more flexible. But a huge problem with selfhosting is as I said… if you get viral traffic, you will have a problem in case you have no cloud hosting. On wp.com we don´t have this problem. You must consider this. You never know if one of your articles takes off to the moon 😉

    But again, did you really eat up all the storage of your wp account? It´s really hard to image. I mean I will believe you if you say it´s true… but then it might be that you upload your images as they came out of the camera? If you upload 2 or 4mb images, then there is the problem. You can resize images to round about “1000xplaceholder” and it would be still a big photo but way smaller in storage size. My images are usually 50 or 100kb big and not 2 or 4mb… image how many photos you can upload if your photos are 100kb in size, considering that we can upload 3000mb of media files 🙂 Apart from the size, big images also take loading time for your blog visitors.

    post scriptum:
    I just downloaded one of your images, only to find out the file size and deleted the photo again. Yea, your images are way too big in filesize for internet websites. 1mb for one photo is a lot. This would mean you could add 3000 images to you blog while people who upload 100kb images could upload 30.000 images 😉 And most images are usually not even 100kb big if you resize and save them as jpg files.

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Uncle Spike says:

      What a superb bunch of comments – thanks very much indeed Dennis for your time.

      As you rightly point out, my image size is the sole cause, hence at 2000 images I am at 2.6 GB already. I am with you on avoiding self hosting, but thanks, wasn’t aware of the high traffic scenario (as if that might ever happen, but you never know, lol).

      Featured Image and themes… yeah it’s a bit limiting and a pain I agree now that I have looked into it over the past month, but compared to self-hosting, which I don’t have the time or need for (nor the income to support it), I am happy to stick with wp.com overall. It can be frustrating, but overall it does all I need.

      Multiple blogs is not what I want really (agree with your summary). I actually strive to keep my blog as a singular entity, but with various angles therein as part and parcel of the who I am, and why I blog.

      So image size… gotcha, hit the nail on the head. I have been sent some posts on reducing file sizes pre-upload, so no problem there going forwards. What though, do you reckon is the best form of recovery? Can I delete some old naff posts and will that reduce storage automatically? Obviously I would have to also delete the images from the Media Library too, but does WP process the delete file flag and how long does that part take (to release the storage allocation)?

      Can I resize images on Media Library, or would I need to reupload reduced size images, attach them to old posts and then delete the originals to have any effect on the existing storage problem?

      I am ok going forwards once I find an easy resize method, but how to recover a large chunk of the 2.6 GB already used is the issue me thinks.

      Wot a numpty, eh? Oh well. Thanks for your guidance and taking the time to spot the issue in real terms.

      SPIKE

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      • Dennis says:

        Regarding the change of the already uploaded images…

        I do think you are in a dilemma now. There seems to be no feature in the photo library, that would allow you to mass resize your images. There is not even a feature that allows you to directly resize the images in the library. In you case I would either…

        1. Do it the hard way and take a weekend to download, resize and replace all or at least a huge chunk of images over the next weekends or any dates your set your self.

        2. Or you do it on a daily basis, for example 2 images each day when you are logged in anyway. It would take more time but overtime you could get some space but it wouldn´t feel like hard work.

        You said you have still 400mb left. If you manage to resize your future uploads as jpg´s with round about 100 kb more or less, it would still be possible to upload 4000 images. This means you have time to make changes to your old posts and photos. You are right, they need to be deleted and re-uploaded in the image library as well. Deleting old posts only won´t help. I wouldn´t even delete old articles.. just delete the embeded images in the text and in the library and upload the smaller image and re-embed them to your articles.

        So, do it slowly over time or go crazy and change huge chunks of images over a set period of time. I would probably set myself a goal like “changing 20 images each week”. Remember, each image you change and re-upload will make it possible to let you upload (depending on the size) probably round about 10 more images in the future. In case you are interested… I wrote a guide some time ago, how to mass resize images with irfanview: http://diaryofdennis.com/2012/07/11/tutorial-converting-batch-rename-and-batch-resize-your-photos-with-irfanview/

        As a last point… don´t worry, we all made some mistakes and realized too late. 🙂 If you take the suggestions you got here in all the comments, you can probably still upload 4000 images until you have no space anymore. I´d say don´t hurry but also don´t forget to make some changes to your old posts and images over time. A parallel or new blog would work but as you said, this blog here is your home already, you have followers here and so on. I wouldn´t set up a new one just because this minor mistake with the images. Just recover over time.

        Last but not free solution as you said, would be a 10gb space upgrade but I wouldn´t do this yet or if at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dennis says:

        And by the way… At the moment you have the “Grisaille” theme activated on your blog. This means the width of your article main column is 605 pixel wide. In the future you could resize your pictures to 605 pixel width but….

        I´d suggest you to resize your images to round about 900 or 1000 width. I say this because you never know if you make a theme change. Some themes have a post column that is bigger than 605 pixel, which would result in a too small image if you did resize them all to 605 pixels. With 1000 pixel width you are on a safe side as the pictures would be big enough to add them to any theme and any content and the filesize would be still small. I downloaded some of my own images that I resized to round about 1000px and I was wrong in my last comment… they are even smaller than 100kb… I downloaded some of my images that are in 1000px and they are just 25kb big. Big enough in size but also small enough in filesize 🙂

        25kb in your case with 400mb of space left would mean… you can still upload 16.000 new images until you run out with space. Maybe you don´t even have to make changes to your old photos after all. I mean 16.000 images is a lot 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  14. fredrieka says:

    wow unclewithoutpaws this is your prolicking commentor. This is to tech savvy for me and momwithoutpaws but we vote for you to stay we like reading your stuff and commenting as you can tell. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. LB says:

    Hi Spike! At 22 months in, I was running out of storage, and the easiest, least challenging thing to do as a less than tech savvy person, was to purchase google storage space. Minimal cost and I didn’t change anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am surprised that you are running out of image storing space. I have been here for 5 years and still have 25% space available. My solution is to open a new blog and to move old posts there with a link from the main blog title – it seems to work well enough and it doesn’t involve any additional expense.

    Another solution is to go back to old posts that don’t get that many visits and just remove some of the images – dead simple!

    I use theme coraline which suits my blogging needs just fine, it’s rather like yours I think and not too greedy on image storage space.

    I hope you find a solution without going self-hosting!

    Andrew

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uncle Spike says:

      I’m staying put Andrew. Thanks for the comments and advice. Image size has been the problem and I am looking at how best to recover space now. Cheers, Spike

      Like

      • I go back to old posts with lots of pictures that no longer attract hits and remove one or two to free up space.

        Advice from Google is not to delete the post as this confuses the search engine and delivers a page not found message which is not very professional.

        I am sure that you will know this already but if you delete a picture from an old post be sure to delete it completely from the library at the same time because deleting a picture from the post leaves it there still using up space.

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  17. Amy Pinkrose says:

    Uncle Spike, I have LOTS of room on my blog for photos. Before I post them, I crop them to a 6×9″ size and make sure they are only 150 pixals. I use PS Elements 6 which is comparatively easy to use. If you are putting your full size photos on here, then I can see why space would be an issue. Some people cut down their photos to 72 pixals, but to me, for my flowers, that would not be enough. Hope this helps. I personally would like to see you stay on WP. xx Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uncle Spike says:

      Thanks Amy – looking into image sizing now as a way forward 🙂

      Like

      • Amy Pinkrose says:

        That is the ONLY way I know of, Uncle Spike. My iPad only holds so much room for pictures and it got to a point, I had to delete pics because I ran out of room. I don’t know what you are going to do at this point, because of all the pics you do have already on your blog. I only know how to image size. It would take forever and a day for you to go back and image size all the photos you already have on you blog … I can’t see that happening with your busy life. I really hope you arrive at a solution. I don’t want to see you leave WP. That would make me very sad. xx

        Like

        • Uncle Spike says:

          No plans to go anywhere… now working on trying to find a solution for my current stuff, but at least I can control the new stuff. Worst case, I’ll have to but that extra 10GB for $20 a year. I made a mistake, so have to learn from it and pay accordingly most probably. Might be better than spending 100 hours rework; just for the sake of that amount of cash.

          Like

          • Amy Pinkrose says:

            Yep, sounds to me that $20 would come in handy. And then from that point on you resize your photos. You’ll be all set. Lessons are sometimes worth learning. One does becomes the wiser for them (hopefully). Tee Hee

            Like

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