I assume you read my blog at least occasionally, since you’re reading this post. Maybe you’ve only recently discovered it—if so, you should look in the archives, there’s some neat stuff there—or maybe you’ve been reading it for the over six years that I’ve been writing it. Anyway, I’m fast approaching a point where I am going to have to make some big decisions about its future, and I would appreciate any advice you have. There are really two separate issues to consider:
First of all, when I started this blog, it was largely an attempt to keep my friends from Caltech updated on what I was doing in grad school. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, and I picked WordPress as a platform largely because I couldn’t figure out how to make a new blog on Blogger when my Google account was already linked to another blog, a group blog that the Colourful Linguist and the Dog and I set up and then quickly abandoned. It has worked fairly well for that purpose, I think, though being able to upload video files would occasionally be useful, as the Caltech UGCS server I’ve been using for that gets less and less reliable. But I’ve also started to write less-personal, more polished posts on topics such as transit and science.
While I was a grad student it didn’t really matter that these posts were intermixed, but now that I’ve dropped out of grad school, I need to consider anything that could be the basis of a job, even a part-time one. Some of my more professional posts could serve as samples of my writing, or evidence of my teaching ability, and it might make sense for me to post them online in a location where I could bring them to people’s attention without linking them to my more personal posts. As a result, I’m starting to think it might make sense to split things into two separate blogs: a personal one and a professional one. I’m also wondering whether the professional one should be configured as a website rather than a blog, though in that case I would need to figure out how to handle web hosting for it.
The second issue that is coming to the fore is that the free WordPress subscription I’ve been using has a limit of three gigabytes of storage space. I am now very close to that limit: I can upload about fifty more photos, maybe a hundred if I keep them small, before I run out of space. It used to be that WordPress would sell you a storage upgrade for $20/year, but I can no longer find any evidence of that: it looks like my only option if I want more storage space on this blog is to pay them $99/year for a more general upgrade that would also come with my own domain name and other features.
If it wasn’t for the first issue, I might just go with the $99/year upgrade, but as someone who’s unemployed and expects to struggle to make ends meet even when I can find some work, I really can’t afford that. Especially when just abandoning this blog and starting a new free one is an option. In addition, I recently discovered that WordPress’s export tool doesn’t allow you to export files you’ve uploaded. While I do keep copies of all my photos and files on my own computer, I don’t really like the level of lock-in this produces: it would be an insane amount of work to recreate all my uploads and links on a new platform and I just wouldn’t do it most likely.
Given all this, I have some questions for my readers:
- What do you think of the idea of splitting my content into two separate blogs: one personal and one professional?
- If I split my content, should the professional one be a blog, or should I integrate it into a professional website of some sort? (For that matter, should the personal one be a website somehow? That seems less useful, but maybe?)
- What are your thoughts on platforms? Should I keep using WordPress, or should I switch to something where I have more control? If the latter, do you have recommendations? I don’t trust UGCS in the long term and since I’m not a SIPB member I can’t count on MIT web hosting in the long term, either.
- I know that many of you are rich, at least by my standards. Would anyone be interested in donating money, either to upgrade this blog or to pay for some sort of hosting and domain name option for its replacement or replacements?