It’s been 4 weeks, today, since I changed over to WordPress.com from a self-hosted site. It took me a few weeks to add all of the images back into my archives, but it’s done, and I said I’d mention that… so I am :).
While I’m here, though, there are differences between my site-functionality then and now, so I thought I’d take a few moments to discuss the pros and cons of each.
I’ll be addressing the current version of this site, so the pros are for WordPress.com, and the listed issues are polar opposites, so a pro for one is a con for the other.
1. The community. This is the main reason I moved my site to WordPress.com, and it’s really met my expectations! I have new, regular followers, and just about very post I’ve made since switching has garnered some type of feedback. This flow of community isn’t just one way, though, and I’ve been able to find and keep up with other blogs, as well. It’s been really great to feel like my words aren’t falling off into space, as was sometimes the case when I was self-hosted. That encouragement has more benefits than just joy-joy feelings, though…
2. Ease of use = frequency. This isn’t necessarily a detriment to the self-hosted version, more in how I ran my setup, but it’s certainly a plus here. I’m garnering more attention for what I write, and that inspires me to write more often. Having the WordPress team running the back-end of my site, though, means that there are no oddities for me to deal with, no design hangups, and I have little more to focus on than writing. Actually, the fact that there is NO real site customization to deal with has been a big relief…
3. Limitations. I’ve spent weeks’ worth of time on my site – designing, redesigning, fixing, and redesigning, again. If I had an idea for a new feature, or one of you had an issue with something technical, my tenacity would keep me on finding a solution until I was successful or had exhausted all possible methods of finding my way. On WordPress.com, though, I can’t do that. I can’t edit the php files of my theme, I can’t extensively alter anything in WordPress functionality, heck… I can’t even alter more than a couple of my site’s colors without paying an extra fee, and even then it’s just limited to CSS changes. With these limitations, I’m working with a simpler site and all I have to focus on is writing. I’m very okay with this :).
1. Limitations. No, that’s not a typo; while the limitations are a pro, they’re also a con. I came from a self-hosted setup where I controlled my own database and I could change whatever files I wanted. I could use plug-ins and alter the site as much as I wanted, but I can’t do that on WordPress.com. This isn’t a surprise, of course, but while updating my files, I was reminded of a few of these issues. The main limitation is the loss of Flash animation. I didn’t use Flash to run my site, but I did use it for slideshows and animations. As of now, those things are all gone from my site. There may be a workaround, but as of now, I’ve had to put them out to pasture.
Count the pros and cons above, and you’ll know how I feel about this switch I made. WordPress.com has really made my experience here feel fresh and exciting, and while there are some drawbacks, I’m very happy with my decision. The community, alone, and the ability to share what I have to offer to a greater audience makes the minor limitations pale in comparison. Even moving Random Beauty to tumblr has been a great success – I’m posting a new picture there once a day and it’s a really fitting avenue for something like that, regardless of whether or not it’s pushing traffic to my site (it is, though not much). I’m currently working on a new page for viewing Out of the Box in a fresh way, but other than that, all I have to bring you is more Mark Mushakian-written goodness.
And isn’t that what you’re really here for?