It’s been a while since my last post so in this update I wanted to cover what’s new, a couple of changes and the future. This also ties into why I decided not to renew my Premium plan with WordPress.com and some of the things you can do with a self-hosted blog instead.
It’ll all make sense in a bit. Lets continue…
Why the change
The main reason behind all of this was my decision to change website hosting service providers (web-hosts).
While I loved my previous web-host (WordPress.com) for many reasons there was a lot of stuff I couldn’t do on their Premium plan ($99 p/year) without upgrading to a more expensive plan ($300 p/year) and there’s a few things you can’t do at all.
No custom permalink structure
Lets take a look at the following link…
The same link when hosted by WordPress.com would always include the date…
A custom permalink structure allows you to define how all links are generated. You can specify if they should include just the post link (like in the first example above) or maybe the date as well (like in the second example above), or category, etc.
By enforcing the “always include the date” rule it probably helps WordPress.com prevent broken links however it’s at the cost of having a longer and, in my opinion, uglier link. The problem is, as of right now, there’s no way to change it.
I don’t think it’s possible with a Business plan either.
Every blog post and update will include the date unless you go with a self-hosted WordPress blog (another web-host).
WordPress.com – Who’s it for?
If all you want is a fast, reliable and basic personal blog WordPress.com could work for you. In fact, I have no problem recommending them for most beginner bloggers but with a 12-month renewal coming up I had to make a decision. Fast.
Was I okay staying on their Premium plan, paying extra for their Business plan, or jumping ship to another web-host?
Self-hosted – What can you do?
As you already know I changed web-hosts and the rest is history. Here’s a run-down of what you can do with a self-hosted WordPress blog:
- Access to the full unrestricted version of the WordPress Admin area (their custom Admin area is very different)
- Upload custom plug-ins (SEO, e-commerce, cache pages, optimise images, etc)
- Upload custom themes (versus a predefined list of themes)
- Custom permalink structure (versus all posts including the date like in the second example above)
- No more upgrade/up-sell links and offers (do you want e-fries with that?)
All this for $20 p/year. Need I say more.
What’s new? Update version 2.0
What we covered in the last section is all fine-and-dandy for me but a list of technobabble doesn’t necessarily equate into benefits for you as a reader of this blog.
But first, WordPress.com may have had its negatives ($$$) but the one thing they really impressed me with was their page loading speeds and reliability. Pages loaded almost immediately and I never experienced any downtime or loading issues with them. I can’t say with the same with my current web-host yet so at this stage I’m going to see how it goes.
Please let me know in the comments section below or contact page if you encounter any issues.
So those were my concerns but here’s some cool stuff and benefits:
- New “spring” website theme redesign and logo 2.0 (do you like the new look?)
- New email sign-up form where you’ll be notified of new blog posts and updates (see below)
- Updated contact page with Google map & business address information
- Footer section contains contact information
- Post/page sharing options using SumoMe (it slides in from the left when available)
- New Search function (refer to the main navigation menu above)
- Share images to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (just hover or tap on the image above to see the options)
- Redesigned blog page layout
- All posts updated for better readability and SEO compliance
- Likewise all images are optimised (smaller file sizes for faster image loading times)
- Entire website is cached for faster page loading times
The Future – what’s next?
- My first goal is to share at least 3 posts p/week
- Several blog posts are already in the pipeline which we’ll go over next time
- Changes to how I use this blog and social media
- More content for the home page
- Updated content for the about page
And there’s lots more on the horizon. I can’t wait to share them with you.