When my critique group began blogging nine years ago, WordPress led the industry in providing new bloggers with a good start. You could set up a basic WordPress blog for free. And they offered free courses to help you be a successful blogger. And they had provided a daily blogging prompt. To keep their costs down, they put an advertisement on the bottom of your posts. Eventually, as your blog grew, you would want to upgrade to a paid website, if for no other reason than the increased storage capabilities.
For many bloggers, a free website is the only one they can afford, especially if they don’t use their blogs to generate income. (I fall into that category, but after a year or so I upgraded ARHtistic License to the lowest level of paid blog because I use a lot of images in my posts, and I filled up my image storage.)
A couple of years ago, the WordPress ads changed to “Sponsored Content,” a grouping of links to nine articles and advertisements including images that were, frankly, disgusting, like a half-dressed torso with a protruding gut, or a cross-section of a prostate gland, or a woman wearing inappropriate clothing. Is it just me, or does it seem like WordPress is purposely trying to nudge people into upgrading to a paid plan? Unfortunately, it’s working. I recently sprang to upgrade a group blog that I contribute to, because I didn’t want readers to abandon us because of the aforementioned disgusting ads at the bottom of our posts.
But yesterday I visited one of my favorite WordPress blogs which is beautiful and artistic, and as I passed from paragraph to paragraph, video advertisements popped up. What the heck?! It was incredibly distracting and annoying. I closed it out and went back to the article again, and this time no ads popped up until I got to the very end.
But, you know what? I don’t remember seeing ads on that blog before.
It’s dissatisfying for me to see the WordPress experience change like this. As it unreasonable to expect an altruistic company to continue on the same path when it could be increasing profits?
I am thinking about making a change.
One reason is that a couple of years ago I filled up my 13 Gigs of storage space on my WordPress Premium Plan, for which I pay $96 a year. I could upgrade to a Business site with 200 Gigs of storage for $300 a year. But really, 100 Gigs would be plenty, if it were available for $150–200 a year. I even asked WordPress if they would consider creating an in-between plan like that for bloggers who are not businesses. But no.
WordPress suggested that I could store my photos on Flickr and import them to my blog posts. So I opened a free account on Flickr, and it is now almost full. Also, I don’t have the ability to arrange photos the way I could if they lived in my WordPress image library.
I can add unlimited storage on Flickr for $72 a year. I might just bite the bullet and do that.
Or I might switch to a different platform.
Readers who blog, I need your help. What blogging platform do you use? How much do you pay for it? Do you like it? Have you used more than one blogging platform? Compare your experiences with them. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.