Weekend Coffee Share: Goodbye and Good Riddance to an Awful Month

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve not been this glad to see the end of a month in years. It’s been absolutely brutal, both financially and emotionally. I’ll not give you the list of horrors; suffice it to say that June started off bad and got progressively worse as the month wore on.

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I fell completely off the internet for a good two weeks. I lost my blogging momentum, things began to pile up, and before I knew it I was so wracked with anxiety I could barely open the computer in the little bit of free time I had. At one point, I allowed Sourcerer to go two weekdays in a row without a post, and that almost never happens.

The anxiety has mostly subsided and I am back in the rhythm. We have plenty of posts scheduled at Sourcerer for the next month or so and I am thinking about where to go with my blogging from here. I’m thankful to have such awesome and supportive friends in the blogosphere.

The month was not without its bright spots, though. The house is great, though we’ve not made as much progress getting it setup and ironing out the minor annoyances that come with any new place as I’d like. My grandson is loving it — he’s much more active than he was a month ago, and he’s better-behaved, too. And somehow in all the madness of moving chaos, acute anxiety, and several problems I haven’t mentioned, I produced 25 pages of fiction.

Those of you who have been following for a long time will recall that I have a fantasy worldbuilding & fiction project which I’ve been working on in fits and starts for most of my life. The last significant progress I made on it was in the spring and summer of 2013 — the months before Diana and I started blogging together. I put it on hold to get our blogs off the ground and study the social media, which has taken longer than I’d hoped. I’ve been planning for awhile to get back to the fiction this fall, so I’m ahead of schedule on that, and it’s encouraging.coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I am thinking about where to go with this blog. My traffic here is abysmal. Even on days when I post, and the post is good, I see fewer total views than Sourcerer gets just from search engines. It doesn’t make good sense to spend much time publishing here. The problem is that the things I post here are necessary, and they don’t fit at Sourcerer.

I need a place to archive project links, to serve as my personal website, and to publish #WeekendCoffeeShare posts. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a wordpress.com site, though. I get a lot of pleasure out of blogging, and I’m a firm believer in keeping it fun. I also value the friendships I’ve formed through blogging and clowning around on the social media. I’ll just say this anyway: I want a website with better analytics, and I want to monetize it.

I’ve never talked about this part of my Grand Internet Plan in public, and I’ve only ever shared it with a few people. I don’t see myself ever getting wealthy off the Internet. But I would like to have a website that generates enough revenue to pay for its own overhead and give me a little money for marketing and apps. Even $20 a month would be helpful.

I went with the free WordPress blog because when I started, I didn’t even know if I’d be blogging beyond the first year and I knew very little about online marketing. WordPress.com offers advantages to people who don’t know much about building audience and who are starting from zero. I’m wondering if I’m better off having my personal website elsewhere, though, and since Diana’s mentioned moving Part Time Monster to a self-hosted site a couple of times on her front page now, I don’t see any reason I shouldn’t talk about this.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

Lots of reasons it would be a bad idea for Sourcerer to go self-hosted. Here’s a quick list of a few of them.

  • Not a well-constructed brand for anything other than a non-commercial, just-for-fun blog. Just go and google Sourcerer, and you’ll see why.
  • Too much work to clean up the archives, which would have to be done before ads could be placed. Just based on the amount of time it took to re-vamp the categories during the last redesign, this would take weeks, if not months. Sourcerer will have 1,000 published posts in its archive by mid-July.
  • It was built by WordPress.com bloggers for WordPress.com. It thrives on contributions and thread chatter. It aspires to becoming a community. Severing it from the WordPress.com reader and asking contributors to use a different interface would damage it so badly, we’d be just as well off to start over from square one.
  • I love WordPress.com and don’t want to leave it entirely — I’ve had more success with Sourcerer than with any other online thing I’ve ever tried.

So, since I can’t move Sourcerer and wouldn’t want to if I could, that leaves this blog. I’m not even concerned about moving the archives. I’m thinking that at some point during the late fall, I might just build a better blog, make it a free-standing website with proper policies, and start all over with my personal site.

I could rebuild the traffic here if I wanted to — all it would require is for me to post more frequently and think about what sorts of headlines and articles I could get into Google searches. But since I have one permanently non-commercial blog already, and it’s a much better blog than this one, I am not sure I see the point.

Have an awesome weekend, and keep blogging. Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linky at Part Time Monster, and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

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28 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: Goodbye and Good Riddance to an Awful Month

  1. Right there with you on the “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” month. The “joy” of being human. :-p Hope things get better. Trying to get back into the swing of daily life myself. Good luck with blog changes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been toying with the self-hosting thing too. Mainly because some friends are heading in that direction. I still don’t understand the advantages completely, other than ads. For now, I’m leaving things as they are. I know my limitations with time management and I just don’t have the time to fool around with it…

    Liked by 2 people

    • More opportunity to make money, if you can figure out how, is the main thing. The other big one is that WordPress’ parent company retains a worldwide license to use all content posted on WP.com blogs for promotional purposes in perpetuity. They don’t take authorship rights, but they can scrape — or allow other people to do it — and post it on other sites to generate ad clicks all day long. And they have terms of service that are more like a social network than a domain provider, which means they can suspend blogs much more easily than a provider could take down a self-hosted one.

      But, like I said. Advantages for people who don’t know much about building audience and don’t have one to start with. Also, for people who don’t have a lot of time, money, or tech knowledge to put into a website. The easy pingbacks and the WP reader make it much easier to find readers — at least in the beginning and up to a certain point — than it is to find them for a website.

      Basically, once you go self-hosted, you’re competing with the whole Internet and you’re no longer integrated into the WP.com community. So it’s a big step, you can expect to see less traffic for a while after you move, and you have to maintain the whole site yourself — not just the content and theme — or find someone to help you with it.

      I’m only considering it because I have one WP blog already that takes up a lot of my time, this one is super-not-performing, and my ability to keep growing this network we’ve built without money is going to be very limited going forward. I’ve hit a plateau.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have thought about moving to self-hosted and for now I’ve decided it’s not a priority. There will come a time when I will need to develop one, but I’m not ready yet and the time isn’t right. I’ll be following to see how you progress in the process, should you decide to change things here. Hopefully July is better!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had an unintended break from blogging as well this month and I’m still not sure how it happened. So I completely get you! I’ve also been thinking of moving to at least wordpress.org at some point, because I really like the CMS but I don’t want to sever ties with the wordpress blogging family.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been told that if you move a wp.org self-hosted blog, they’ll add the new one to the readers of your current followers; but you still don’t get a wp.com follow button to gain new followers — wp.com users who want to keep up with you that way have to add you to the reader manually.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s what I heard too, though that still sounds easier than rebuilding from scratch. I opted for wp.com because previous hosted sites had tanked and I couldn’t justify the expense for hosting and domain – I never imagines to have more than 1000 email followers….

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well if you or your sister decide to go self hosted or if you move to a platform such as blogger which allows mototonizing of your blog, you should defiantly check out problogger.net . There is more than just ad-sence out there to explore as options. 🙂

    Either way I’m glad you are writing and blogging again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad you got through the month! I really dislike Blogger, as a reader. I almost never read Blogger blogs. It has to be something really wonderful to get me to go there. I know a lot of people that feel the same way. But of course, you have to do what you have to do. I’m sure you will sort it all out in the months ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeah. Not a big blogger fan myself. But it’s a huge network, and If I’m going to have two blogs, at this point, they have to be on two different networks.

      The days when I could use two wordpress blogs to support one another and grow the followings of both are over. But I did have good long run of that.

      Like

  7. Sorry to hear it was a difficult month, Gene. Personally I don’t know how it is possible to find time to manage more than one blog, but if you choose to separate the personal from the persona, that’s a good reason to have two. I’m not sure revenue generation from ads is worth the hassle. I have heard that ad revenue for blogs is way down, and that the new thing is “sponsored content” and “native ads,” which many folks have ethical objections to. But you may know someone who is doing it successfully. Whatever you choose I hope it helps you preserve the relationships you’ve established – that’s where the gold is. 😉

    Like

    • Agreed on the relationships, and that’s the only reason I run two blogs. This one is really just a sideline, to establish that the other one is run by a human and to be a place to connect with my friends via these personal posts. I’m doing a lot of research on marketing and revenue generation, though. Maybe some posts about that coming eventually, if I can figure it out.

      Thanks so much for stopping by today and for your comment 🙂

      Like

  8. I’ve talked about self-hosted before with Shawn, and I know you saw that conversation, so I won’t rehash, but self-hosted takes even MORE work to get the traffic you’d need. I think maybe the real question you should be asking yourself for this blog is not the benefits you want (better analytics and monetization) but HOW you can get those things and WHY you want them. What does your blog offer (better than its competitors)?

    I’m with you on the saying goodbye to June, though. It’s been a really difficult month, but at least it can end on a high note with the Supreme Court ruling. I’m struggling with the plans for our move as well. A quote that said a $40 futon would be $140 to get picked up by the city trash center sort of put a hole in my grand plans for decluttering easily. Today I’m hoping for a better answer from the local recycle shop.

    In any case, anxiety is never good. I hope that you are feeling better now. I go through periods of being super manic, everywhere on the internet, and then going dark for 3-4 days as I recover my energy.

    Like

  9. It does seem to have been a hell of a month for pretty much everyone.

    I’ve pretty much nixed the idea of taking the Monster off WordPress.com. It’s just not terribly viable, and I don’t think it’s worth the effort it would take to do it. But at least the blog is doing well where it is and taking off.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am sorry to hear that your month of June has been so terrible, but I am glad that for you it is coming to its end. I do hope that July will be better for you.
    As for the hosting, can’t you have your blog hosted by wordpress but with your own domain? Because some self hosted blogs out there are so hard to comment on… Last coffee share I tried to leave a comment on a self hosted blog, but as I did not want to sign up to some commenting service, I did not comment in the end…

    Like

  11. I’m so sorry you had a horrid month and not only was it awful, it got worse as time went on. I hope things continue to get better for you!
    About Sourcerer and Just Gene’O…I won’t tell you what to do but rather that I love those blogs and I will continue to be a fan no matter where they go!

    Like

    • Diana and I have about decided that going self-hosted with a well-established blog is more work than just starting over from scratch with a new blog, FWIW.

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      • I have someone who’s going to help me with the switchover, but frankly I won’t be able to find monetization opportunities very easily since I’m so nicheless and refuse to use all standard marketing advice to bump up SEO, etc. I don’t want to lose my style or community feel in the switch, and I’m worried that insisting on building an email list feels SO businessy. Yet at the same time, I feel like it’s something that needs to be done so that I can market my knowledge of plug-ins, marketing, etc. for getting work later. I don’t know. I’m torn.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Me too, on the torn part. Good that you have someone to help you, and I am also lost on the monetization opportunities.

          “Community” is the keyword here. It’s hard to foster a community and monetize a website at the same time. I’ve not figured out how to do both at once yet.

          I’m also with you on the email list, but for some reason, I keep reading that direct email is super-effective for getting people to read your stuff. I am afraid I’m going to need to give that a go eventually.

          I’m also trying to figure out a way to market my knowledge — mine is not marketing or plug-ins. I’m just apparently good at understanding why groups form, and why they fall apart.

          If at some point you want to share the plugin and marketing thoughts with me, I will happily explain to you how I float projects, measure support, and make decisions about what to keep and what to throw out.

          There are very few people I know exclusively on the Internet whose judgement and knowledge I trust as much as yours.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Once I actually dip my toes into more active marketing + get my actual education on those topics started, I’ll share what I discover to be best practices. I’d definitely be interested to know about your strategy for decision-making, because that’s something I struggle with in projects, hence the hodge podge that my blog has become (not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but dang it’s all over the place).

            Like

  12. Gene’O, I used to try and keep up with your blogs (and Diana’s) but to be honest, they moved too fast for me! So you’re getting less traffic from me because I’m just overwhelmed with the sheer number of posts — and sure, one a day per blog may not sound like much, but there are so many things I need to keep tabs on, on top of the things I *want to* keep track of, that it’s just too much. I’m sorry to hear the blog-situation gave rise to some anxiety — keep reminding yourself that this is YOURS. You call the shots. And if that means that, because you have a life, a job, and a family, there’s only one post a week, or posts are irregular, I think that’s perfectly fine. That’s the difference between newspapers and blogs, to me at least — we don’t have to fill the pages every day. When we do post, it’s because we do have something to say / share / show, and that’s why people do pay attention when that happens. Maybe not half the Internet, but hey. It’s out there. Unless you take it down, it will keep getting views as people discover your archives and as various search engines index your posts. Breathe, Gene’O. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL, yeah. Breathe.

      Thanks for this.

      I’m not actually worried about this blog. This is not about that, and I won’t take it down, because that would kill posts on other blogs that link to this one, which would be discourteous, to say the least.

      Eventually, though, I gotta stop updating it and move my personal presence elsewhere. It’s only a matter of time before that happens. But not yet.

      I hear what you are saying about the keeping up. Diana and I don’t even keep up with one another, and haven’t since the early days. If we want one another to see something we published, for sure, we PM one another links. Only so many page views in a day.

      Liked by 1 person

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