Life without hosting
For many years I have paid a company to host my Wordpress site. I believe it was a fair price and the services they provided were well done and professional. And to be honest, the price was very good…about $10 per month plus an annual fee for the domain. Aside from the constant security upgrades and other minor plugin maintenance, the site hummed along fine.
I’m sure as most who have run their own blog will tell you, there are ebbs and flows to writing online. My experience was no different. I would post in spurts, as the spirit moved me, but mostly my posts had some age between them. At various points I wondered, why am I doing this? My Twitter and Instagram feeds seemed to get all the love, while my poor blog, not so much. I felt guilty for neglecting it and as a result didn’t promote it. It wasn’t that I didn’t have things to publish, I just found other somewhat easier tools on more trafficked platforms to post.
So we come to today. I made a decision. Pitch the Wordpress blog and use a collection of tools (most of them free) to accomplish the same things…perhaps in an even better way.
Step One: Determine where longer form “blog” type content should go. That one is rather obvious. Medium. I like the simplicity of the platform. It can be accessed easily from mobile devices, and there are people here. Another thing I think I’m going to enjoy is “Series”, Medium’s take on SnapChat and Instagram Stories. Just a little tool to allow you to “journal” things over time. I’ve create a “Continue In Him” Series that allows me to write regular thoughts I have when reading and studying the Bible Verse of the Day from the WELS Mobile app.
Step Two: Figure out what to do with my domain (www.martinspriggs.com). The most flexible and future proof solution is to take greater control of that, meaning being able to modify the DNS at any time I like. So I transferred it from my hosting provider (who I no longer needed of course) and moved into Hover for about $13/year. They allow forwarding, so I could literally point my domain at any location I wanted. That decision was a little tougher. I could point it here (i.e. to Medium, my new blog), or Twitter, or even a Google Site, but I finally decided to find a simple jumping off point that would provide enough space for a short bio, and then links to all my other digital dwellings — “about.me”. About.Me is a one page site that will give me just enough for people to land on, then on to ways they might want to follow or connect with me. Sort of my online contact page. Now when I decide to add or subtract a social network, I make one small change there. Done.
Step Three: What about my photo galleries and portfolios? I don’t do a lot of freelance work any more these days, but I still like to share some of the projects I do work on. I had been using WordPress for that, so that kind of stuff needed a new home. Now for those of you who know me, this next part might surprise you. I turned to Pinterest.
I needed a visual bulletin board of sorts that I can post images, screenshots, etc. and then provide a brief description and web link. Presto. It turns out Pinterest is good at that! I have to confess I needed to struggle with it for an hour or so to get comfortable with the process, but I think I’m there. (Side note: I still haven’t found an easy way to “pin” a screenshot/website. If anybody knows the trick to that, please let me know.)
The net of all this is I can now send people to www.martinspriggs.com knowing they will learn a little about me, my interests and beliefs, and then be able to connect, if they like, through whatever channel suits them. I have the tools I like to use and an online presence that just seems a little more like 2017.