I’ve been thinking that it’s time for this little birdie to spread its wings. And by this little birdie, I mean the blog, not me. My feet shall remain very firmly on the ground thanks. As much as Geek Ink is growing, its growth has slowed down, which is at least partly to do with certain limits on the WordPress.com platform. I need to address these limits in order to take the blog to the next level.
WordPress.com’s comment system
In order to help Geek Ink grow, I need to build a build a community around it. The WordPress.com comment system would be fine for this if I was targeting WordPress users, but most of the people who visit my blog frequently aren’t. I need another comment system to make this happen. Thankfully there are plenty of plugins on the open source WordPress system that allow you to integrate different comment systems.
Limited visual flexibility
WordPress.com has some decent free themes, but the really sexy themes with a high level of customisation cost money. If the themes I wanted were cheaper then I’d consider buying them, but the themes that would be ideal for Geek Ink are all $70 and up. That’s a fair chunk of money considering the blog doesn’t earn me anything at this point. If I move to another WordPress host, I will gain much more visual flexibility for free, or for very little cost in comparison to sticking with WordPress.com.
Lack of monetization options
As much as I didn’t get into blogging to make money, the reality is that this site actually takes a reasonable amount of my time and energy to keep going. I think it’s time that I started getting something back from Geek Ink, even if it’s only a small amount of cash to cover some of the bills associated with the running of it. Unfortunately there’s only WordPress.com’s very limited ad system, which wouldn’t earn me even a tiny fraction of the money I put into running the website every year. I still have faith that I will eventually be able to earn some money through Patreon, but as I said earlier, most of my readers are South African and economically things aren’t great for most of us at the moment. Again, moving over to WordPress’ open source system will allow me to engage with affiliate programs or advertising programs like Google Adsense.
Right now I know next to nothing about the open source side of WordPress and I need to learn how to use it properly before I think about moving the site over to another host permanently. In order to accomplish this, I picked up a cheap three month GoDaddy hosting deal which allows me to experiment without any risk to the main site. Once I’ve gotten to grips with it, I’ll put together a few mock-ups for you guys to check out, and then hopefully not too long after that I’ll be able to migrate over to a new WordPress host.