Monday, March 20, 2006

Bloggin’ On Up, Part 1: So Long Blogger!

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

Well I’m bloggin’ on up! (Bloggin’ on up!) To the east side! (To the east side!) To a deee-luxe web server in the skyyyyyyy.

While Funny Munny is only a few months old, I feel that it’s already outgrown Blogger. Ever since I read Jonathan’s story about moving MyMoneyBlog from Blogger, I’ve been debating the move to a paid web host; but now the arguments for the move outweigh the arguments against. Just what are those arguments? I’m not going to tell you!

Hmm, this post came to a rather sudden conclusion…

Okay, then I am going to tell you! You’re so lucky!

Why Should Funny Munny Move to a Web Host?

  • Because Blogger = Pffft! Once Google acquired Blogger, the consensus was that Blogger would receive the Golden Touch of Google and it would become the most awesome piece of bloggy goodness in the whole wide world. That was three years ago, and Blogger has yet to be touched by the angels of Mountain View, California. For goodness sake, it doesn’t have basic blogging concepts like categories and trackback support. On top of that, blogs hosted at Blog*Spot have the nasty habit of breaking whenever somebody sneezes. Of course, what do you expect of free, ad-less blog hosting? Still, the quality of Blogger and Blog*Spot, even at no cost to me, is just too low below my junk tolerance threshold to be ignored any longer.
  • Professionalism Demands It! While I’ll admit this blog is not quite the epitome of professionalism, it is the epitome of awesomeness, and such awesomeness needs lots of open space, fun toys, and a balanced diet of cool stuff in order to thrive. As kweee.blogspot.com, I just can’t help but feel a little trapped. Sure there are a ton of high-quality, professional bloggers who use Blog*Spot, but for each one of them, there are 50 more “LIKE OMG I SAW A CUTE BOY 2DAY AND HE SAID HI TO ME AND OMG OMG OMG” right beside them.
  • I Need Cooler Toys (And A Bigger Toy Chest). Blogger’s customizable layouts are pretty nice, and I was perfectly happy with mine until the last couple of weeks. I tried adding a couple of extra features to my sidebar and I couldn’t get them working in Blogger. It was simple stuff that should have worked effortlessly, too! Then I started doing a few posts with HTML tables; don’t even get me started about what Blogger did with those tables. And for reasons unknown, my sidebar contents now hang out at the bottom of the page in Internet Explorer. In short, I need a flexible web host that will let me do the cool things I can do with Perl, PHP, Ruby on Rails, and all the other nifty stuff that makes the internet so pretty.
  • Other Projects. I’ve been running websites that I built from scratch for years. I’m no stranger to HTML, CSS, and all the different web programming languages out there. At present, I have a number of websites hosted by a number of different free and paid services. I’d like to consolidate all of them into a single service that gives me a big chunk of space and bandwidth that can be divided into many different websites (each with its own URL). Having such a setup might also convince me to start a few projects I’ve been putting off for a while.
  • It’s Now Or Never! If I stay with Blog*Spot much longer, it would become increasingly difficult to transition away from it in the future. And while I may not have reached the commonly used threshold for leaving Blogger (whatever that threshold may be), once I do reach that level, it might be impossible for me to leave without starting over completely.

With all of these reasons for leaving Blogger behind, you must be curious why I haven’t done it already!

Why Shouldn’t Funny Munny Move to a Web Host?

  • It Costs Money. Bingo! Reason numero uno why people are using Blogger and Blog*Spot instead of any one of the thousands of top-notch web hosting services out there: such services aren’t free! In fact, some can be downright expensive. While you can find a dirt cheap web host that will give you a tiny thimble full of space and bandwidth through a straw, it’s gonna cost at least a couple bucks a month just to match Blog*Spot’s sub-par level of service. Quality web hosting with lots of space and bandwidth accompanied by satisfactory service can run anywhere from $2 to $200 a month, maybe even more! Sure, advertising revenue can help offset the costs, but plenty of people aren’t yet at the point where their ad money would completely cover their operating expenses. Still, many people (myself included) are more concerned with providing good content to the general public rather than making a quick buck (though doing both at the same time certainly wouldn’t hurt).
  • More Trouble Than It’s Worth? This Blogger blog was relatively easy to set up. It’s pretty easy to maintain, and I’ve added a few nice features without too much trouble. This is perfect for millions of people who use Blogger and Blog*Spot, and it did the trick for me for a while. But now it doesn’t, so it’s time for me to move on. Moving on, however, isn’t as simple as hopping on a covered wagon to the next town. Unless I start over from scratch (which I don’t plan to do), it’ll take some elbow grease to get this blog transferred over to a different web host. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available online to help make the transition a little easier, and I’ll be discussing some of them as I go along.
  • So Many Hosts! If there’s one thing the world doesn’t need more of, it’s web hosts. I estimate there are at least 74 different web hosting services for each person in the world. So how is someone supposed to choose from the roughly 444 billion web hosts out there? Is one host better than another? How about customer service? Am I getting the best value for my money? All those questions were enough to keep me from shopping around… at least until now. I’ll be dedicating an entire part of this series to selecting a web host.
  • Even Without Starting Over, It’s Two Steps Back. I equate the change from Blogger to a new web host to buying a new baseball glove. The old one may be dirty and falling apart, but you’ve got it broken in just how you like it. A new glove will take some getting used to, but the change will likely be worth it in the end. My biggest concern with leaving Blog*Spot is maintaining my current audience. I don’t want to lose any of you six! Seriously, while there are some simple ways for letting your audience know that you’ve moved, it often requires some sort of action to be taken by your audience to follow you. Using a service like FeedBurner helps with the move because people who put your blog in their RSS reader won’t need to do a thing to find your new feed; you can change the location in your FeedBurner profile and it will automatically propogate to the rest of the world.
  • Maybe Blogger and Blog*Spot Aren’t So Bad… Boy, how many times have I thought these words? Sure, they’re not the best free blog host out there, but it did help me start this blog, and it’s still here three months later! If you’re thinking about dabbling in a little blogging, I’d probably recommend giving this place a try. Just keep an eye on your progress, know when it’s time to jump ship, and make sure you have a life jacket handy.

I’ve already been researching potential web hosting services, and I believe I’ve reached a final decision that I’ll carry out within the next day or so. It’ll take a while to transition, so I’ll be continuing this series right here at http://kweee.blogspot.com for now. Be sure to join me for the second part of “Bloggin’ On Up” where I’ll discuss how to pick the best web host for you. (Now where did I put that dart board…)

For now, I’ll leave you former and never Blog*Spot bloggers with these questions: Who’s your web hosting provider? How’s their service? And how hard was the transition for you (if you had one)?

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