How to ensure that your blog lives forever

I made a mistake a few weeks ago.

I need to back up a bit and explain something. I hate advertising. I think it’s the devil’s own backyard. Don’t get me wrong: There’s nothing wrong with hawking one’s wares; if somebody wants a widget and nobody knows you can make that widget, that’s not much help to anyone. But what I hate about advertising in this day and age is that it’s not so much about connecting buyer with seller as it is about brainwashing folks into buying things, even when more often than not they don’t want those things (but don’t yet realise it).

How many times have you bought something to make you feel happy (or, just better) and found that six weeks later the thing you bought still makes you feel better? I’m guessing ‘never’… am I right?

The advertising industry is worth megabucks. Make that ‘terabucks’. Why is that? It’s because the advertisers can get us to part with our hard-earned cash to buy things that we can easily do without. And they do it largely through underhanded techniques; persuading us that ownership of this widget or that can make us more appealing to the opposite sex, or will enhance some other aspect of our otherwise humdrum lives. And they do it with repetition, repetition, repetition. Television adverts, for instance, don’t just inform us of what’s available: they brainwash us through constant repeats of the same thing over and over, until all that’s required is the jingle to get us to remember what is being sold (can you hear the sound of Intel in your head?).

Of course they deny that’s what they’re doing. And we buy into this, too… most people believe that they’re immune to the kind of advertising I’m talking about, it only works on the other fellah, right? If that’s true, why is it that the advertising industry is worth terabucks?

… Sorry about that: my tangent went further adrift than I thought it would. The point is that I hate advertising, with a passion. So back when I had a ‘free’ WordPress website, I was very conscious of the fact that I was subjecting my visitors to adverts (and I had no idea what those adverts were pushing). So one day, I decided to bite the bullet and cough up for a WordPress ‘personal plan’, one that would guarantee no more adverts for my poor visitors (you).

Here’s where the mistake I made comes into it…

Hmm… I see that I need to back up a little bit again.

I’ve had this blog since 2007. That’s a long time, in Internet terms. I don’t know of many blogs that have lasted that long. In fact a lot of the blogs I used to connect with have tumbleweeds running through them now; very few are still active. But the blogs are still there. Take Dwight Towers, for instance. The last post there was almost four years ago, in November 2014. And yet the site is still accessible, as dwighttowers.wordpress.com.

Here’s another example: David Robertson has a website at https://davidpj.wordpress.com, another site that’s still accessible. However, David’s old blog points to a ‘new home’ at http://www.david-robertson.net/ — but that domain appears to be as dead as the proverbial dodo :( — I’ve been in touch with him, and he tells me that his latest blog is at https://davidrsci.wixsite.com/hellodavid — though that one’s in the doldrums, too….

From 2007 until very recently, my own blog here, Wibble, was addressable as pendantry.wordpress.com. It still is: but, until recently, that address translated to wibble.blog — because I got suckered into the ‘free’ offer of my own web domain, included in the price of my WordPress ‘personal plan’. And ‘wibble.blog’ was just too good to pass up.

The problem is that if ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ translates to ‘wibble.blog’ then many (not all) of the automatic links that WordPress creates would be to ‘wibble.blog’, not to ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ (comment links, for instance, would be to ‘wibble.blog’).

So (finally) this is where my mistake factors into the equation. I would have to keep paying for the personal plan every year, or the wibble.blog domain name will stop working (or, worse, be bought up by some pr0n dealer). Were I to revert to a ‘free’ plan (the one that inflicts adverts on you good folks) this would mean that a lot of the links to my website (those I’ve crafted using ‘wibble.blog’ rather than ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’) would just stop working.

And of course, there’s one point at which ‘wibble.blog’ will cease to be paid for by me: and that’s after I’m dead (!).

Now that I realise this, I’m going to make sure that I use ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ when linking to my site in future.

The big problem (since I, naturally, want my words to live forever — or at least, as long as possible) is that social media doesn’t recognise death.* When I’m dead, nobody’s going to pay for the upkeep of the domain name ‘wibble.blog’. And that’s why I’ve reconfigured my site so that ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ (the ‘free’ domain) is the main address of my site, and ‘wibble.blog’ is just an alternative.

“What’s the solution?” I hear Paul Handover asking me, as is his wont. I’m not sure there is one. The Internet is still too young; the designers didn’t think far enough ahead to cater for linkrot-caused-by-death-of-the-one-paying-for-a-domain-name.

The moral of this story? If you’ve got a ‘free’ WordPress plan, your words can live forever (well, as long as WordPress continues, anyway). If you’ve bought into having your own domain name, if you actually use that name, your words may disappear along with you when you go….

* I had to manually change the ‘wibble.blog’ in that link to ‘pendantry.wordpress.com’ :(

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Communication, Computers and Internet, Education, Ludditis, Phlyarology, Strategy, Tech tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to How to ensure that your blog lives forever

  1. Thanks a lot for sharing this post.
    My IT pro friend who is my guide dog on the internet told me to stick to the free plan. I thought about monetizing many times but everytime she said its not worth it yet.

    Thanks for giving me one more reason. We all want our words to live forever..

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am not going to ask: “What’s the solution?” because you have so clearly set it out. With your permission I would like to republish parts of your post and get an idea of what the good folks who follow LfD would like me to do. Thank you, Colin!

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      You don’t need my permission. All the content I produce is covered under the Creative Commons CC BY-SA licence, as it says down there at the bottom of the page (on the left). But, thank you for considering republishing my words.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am with you I so dislike the adverts and often log into my site without signing into WordPress just to see what is being advertised as we authors do not see them.. And like you I have a Free Site and have since 2007 transferring here from Windows Live Space Days in 2010 with it shut its doors and gave us the option to transfer…
    My only problem is the media Library limited upload space which is more than half full.. Despite me manually going through photo sizes to reduce them.. It seems to have not made any difference to usage..??
    Any way P.. It has made my mind up not to purchase a domain.. I had my own name site offered too, but saw no point in changing.. Sorry you had to go through all of those hoops to alter things..
    Wishing you well my friend..

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      The hoops were no trouble. But having jumped through them, I wanted to make others aware of them.

      As for your media usage, I’m not entirely sure what the problem might be there. If you optimise your images from this point onward, you should notice that you’re not approaching your limit as fast as you once perhaps were….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. daryan12 says:

    Of course this only works so long as wordpress.com stays up and in business. Remember what happened to blog.co.uk. Social media is ever changing, who knows traditional blogs could die out and we have to all get a vlog channel…..or worse a facebook page (shudder!).

    Liked by 3 people

  5. john zande says:

    How many times have you bought something to make you feel happy (or, just better) and found that six weeks later the thing you bought still makes you feel better? I’m guessing ‘never’… am I right?

    A good umbrella always brings a smile to my face. And good boots.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. mistermuse says:

    Thanks for the info. I’ve never given serious consideration to monetizing, and after reading your post, I probably never will. I don’t think it’s a big deal to deal with the ads by simply ignoring them.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Laurie says:

    I always get such good blogging advice from reading your posts. I have been posting since January 2018. Sometimes it seems like I am one of the old-timers (blog life, not my age!) I have a free WP site, and it works well for me, but there are things I would like to do which I don’t believe I can do with a free site (like host a link up).
    I am not great on the computer and got advice from my computer science PhD son when I first set up my site. I wish it was easier to get some help from WP.
    Anyway, sorry for the ramble. I have been thinking about getting a personal plan too, but you have made me have second thoughts. It sounds like more trouble than it is worth. My storage space will be used up before too long. I don’t really care about a blogging legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence!

      No worries about the ramble, my post was a bit of one, itself :) If you’re running out of space, you might want to investigate optimising your images, that will help a lot.

      I actually think that the personal plan is good value for money. It gets rid of the adverts (a BIG plus, for me) and the two times I’ve asked WP for support since I bought into it, they gave me faultless service. I can’t blame them for not supporting their free service as well as their paid plans.

      What do you mean by ‘host a link up’? Maybe I can help with that… ?

      Like

      • Laurie says:

        I had read your article on optimizing your images when it first came out. I think now I understand better what it means and how to use it. I will play around with it for my next post.
        Some bloggers host a weekly (or monthly) link up where other bloggers can link a post with the understanding that you will link back to the host in your post and comment on several other posts which are linked, including the host’s post. Here is a link to an example of one I typically link to (you must scroll down to the bottom to see the links)
        http://cleaneatsfastfeets.com/2018/07/16/week-in-review-141/

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry says:

          Ah, I see what you mean. But you don’t need to rely upon another site (that may itself at some point bite the dust) to provide a ‘link-up’ system: just encourage the participants to put links to their related content in comments (the very easy option), and/or use pingbacks (the still easy but requires a tad more nouse option).

          Or (the somewhat more complex option) you could invite people to contribute posts directly on your site… see my post ‘Creating content collaboratively‘. :)

          Like

  8. Eilene Lyon says:

    Interesting. I’ve been making plans for my (not imminent) demise and this is definitely something to be thinking about. Of course, WWIII could happen and all this internet stuff will be moot. At least we won’t be subjected to any advertising anymore then!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. colettebytes says:

    Ah, that is very interesting.

    I am a sporadic blogger, and only since the start of 2017 on this particular blog. I have left two others to their internet fate! I do use the free version, and my words of wisdom (or otherwise) are there for anyone who wants to read them. They will be there for as long as WordPress maintains its servers. And the links therein, for as long as Google and YouTube, maintain theirs.
    I actually ignore advertising on any site, so figure most readers do the same. If the advertising is in conflict with the message in my blog, I think most readers are savvy enough to know that the advert has benn placed by a ‘bot that has used algorithmic coding governed by the highest bidder and out of context words appearing in any missive.

    We live in a world of materialism. Everything must be paid for without exception, but we can be selective about what we look at, and what we choose to do with what we see.

    As for a blogging legacy… Well everyone in history, without exception, is usually remembered for the last thing they did. No one remembers the runners up in a race!

    I share my thoughts, because I want to. If no one reads them, I don’t mind. They are there and by making them public, I define who I am, which helps me enormously. For if we don’t take a stance on what we think, why do we enter the blogging world at all!😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      I have to admit that I would rather that my words be read than not. I’m not really fussed about ‘after I’m gone’, except for the fact that I care about anyone who might want to read my garbage once I’m not here to maintain it. You’re right about YouTube, if they were to fold, or change their system to block out video embedding, a lot of my posts would make little sense.

      Anyway, thank you for reading my words, and for telling me what you think :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • colettebytes says:

        You have much to share on your Wibble’s. I learn so much on blog sites, that I prefer them to mainstream news. At least here, people are sharing their truths. I am not attached to outcomes of my posts…otherwise I might be a tad disappointed at my words lost in a sea of information. If someone is meant to read (and perhaps learn something from) my blog, they will find it. Otherwise, it is useful only to me.😉

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Eric Alagan says:

    I believe with the “free” WordPress one cannot upload videos. Or am I wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As someone who has only been running a blog since November last year it’s good to know these things. I’m always interested to know about potential problems that should be avoided.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oof. This sounds like a headache. But hey, bright side is that you’re still around posting! You’re like a legend.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Your post is of great help. I think I’ll continue with my free plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. floatinggold says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us.
    I’ve been toying with the idea of upgrading for a while, but because I do not know the unknown (obviously), I’m not sure if it would be a good idea. So far, I do not think the pros outweigh the cons. Being able to change my domain name is something that tickles my fancy, but I was wondering about it. What happens when I stop paying? Does my blog fall apart? Do I lose my content, etc. So in a way, you answered my unasked question.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. floatinggold says:

    And on the topic of advertising – I love it and I hate it. I have a huge interest in the works behind ads and psychology. I think it’s fascinating.
    Do I think I give in less than an average Joe? Yes. Do I still give in? Of course. But I like to think it’s because I want to, not because of their pushed message.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi this is interesting reading. I don’t understand much about the URL bit but I pay for a personal plan and this includes my URL sunraintea.com. Does anyone know if I should change things when my years plan is up for renewal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      The main thrust of my post is about what happens when you lose control of the domain name — in the extreme case, this would be when you’re no longer around to pay the bill, but maybe that’s not a concern. Assuming the service you’re getting is satisfactory, why would you want to change your current plan?

      Like

  17. Ughh I got suckered intp the bigger plan too for the reason of removing the advertising ….just waiting for that to end before it auto charges again….grrrr

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      Hi, Kerri! Sorry for the ‘late-to-the-party’ response. I’m working on a follow-up to this post, which will reveal some more on the topic. Some of what I’ve said here is not entirely right (though I’m having trouble clarifying exactly what – and the WordPress.com Happiness Engineers are having one of their (admittedly infrequent) bouts of refusing to understand what it is I’m saying to them; it’s a bit like getting blood from a stone sometimes.

      Glad to see that your site is still active at kerri-elizabeth.com (unlike the site owned by the commenter above you, which is currently presenting me with a ‘Access Denied’ message, weird). My own ‘personal plan’ is due for renewal shortly, but I fully intend to renew it, purely to remove the adverts. (I’m going to miss the ‘live chat’ facility, which I’ve found useful – WordPress.com have changed the rules so that the ‘personal plan’ no longer includes that, but, c’est la vie.)

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Green Gravity Hackers says:

    Okay I also thinks for monetization and thats why i have started youtube channel

    Like

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  22. Hariod Brawn says:

    Oh dear, Colin, I may have fallen foul of this myself. Not sure, as I kind of skim-read the technical bits of this piece. I have my own domain name, so maybe not. On advertising, then it’s the emotional manipulation — or crass attempts at it — that really irk me. Bill Hicks wanted to shoot all marketing people. That’s a sentiment I’m not entirely unsympathetic towards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      I’ve been thinking recently about the ‘what happens to a website when there’s no longer anybody around who cares to pay for its upkeep’ conundrum. I’m thinking the solution might be a non-profit foundation to act as curator. Do you think that idea has any legs?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Well, putting the question as you have, then the copyright holder (originator) seems not to value the content, so why would anyone else?

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry says:

          That’s a fair point. Counterpoint, however: if someone were to value the content, and want it to persist, I’m not aware of any means by which that could be accomplished, bar handing over the reins to another individual. An organisation devoted to the task could handle the technical issues far more effectively.

          I’m thinking along the lines of something like ‘the Wayback Machine’, though that, while incredibly useful, has limitations (as can be seen from the content missing from this copy of the Wibble home page that I picked at random from 2012).

          I think I’ll have to cogitate some more.

          Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      Dang, Hariod, I just tried to visit your site via ‘contentedness.net’ and I got the message:

      Warning! Domain mapping upgrade for this domain not found. Please log in and go to the Domains Upgrades page of your blog to use this domain.

      … and it would appear that your free wordpress.com domain isn’t ‘contentedness.wordpress.com’; there is a site there, but it doesn’t resemble what I remember of yours…

      Ah! Found you (via a link in your Gravatar): https://contentednessdotnet.wordpress.com/. Phew!

      … you may want to fix the link in the middle of your home page, the one to your book. The current link is to the original domain name (contentedness.net); if you change that to https://contentednessdotnet.wordpress.com/a-book-by-hariod-brawn/ it’ll work again. Oh, and, on that page I see you have a link to amazon.co.uk (which will be a stumbling block for those who live in other necks of the woods). Here’s a present for you: a ‘genius link’, courtesy of booklinker.net, which I’ve just created for you to consider using instead. It will automagically redirect to the relevant amazon site, like magic!: http://mybook.to/TheSwayOfContentedness :)

      Hmm… I bought a copy of your book some time ago, but I’ve yet to read it. I don’t suppose you have a spare round tuit for me?

      Liked by 1 person

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  25. Forestwood says:

    I have been contemplating changing to a personal plan for years. Now I know that I won’t. For the reason that you just enunciated! Thanks for saving me the pain of having to export and save it somewhere – I guess the only guarantee of saving it is to print it off into a hard copy – and just the most interesting posts, as one Blogger did. But then you lose the interesting comments too?

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Just to be clear: I’m not arguing against having a personal plan. I have one of those on Wibble; it’s due for renewal soon, and I fully intend to renew it (assuming I’m not dead). My reason for doing so is twofold: it removes adverts from my site, and it gives me access to (the very useful) support from the WordPress.com ‘Happiness Engineers’.§

      The ‘personal plan’ allows you to have your own domain name. But you don’t have to do that — that’s the point I’m trying to make here. The advantage (to some) is that it takes ‘wordpress’ out of the domain name, which makes the site look ‘more professional’. The downside is, well, as I’ve elaborated in this post. WordPress offers a ‘free’ first year of your own domain name, which I see as a marketing ploy to get you used to it — and thus encourage perpetual continuation of the plan (until you die, assuming you want to continue your site to that point).

      And I believe that you’re mistaken about the need to export/ import/ print (which would indeed lose all of the interesting comments). Buying into a personal plan is entirely transparent, as, indeed, is cancelling it (unless you’ve chosen the personalised domain name option, which would complicate matters quite a bit).

      § Under the terms of the ‘personal plan’, I currently have access to ‘live chat’ support, which I’ve found extremely useful… but they changed the rules not long ago. When I renew, I’ll only get access to email support, which is unfortunate — but I still think it’s worth it.

      Like

      • Forestwood says:

        WordPress seem to change the rules at a whim, decreasing functionality for both paid and unpaid plans and adding some extra features that may or may not be useful. I suppose it will come to the point that free plans will become almost useless, as they might coerce bloggers into a user pays subscription or else keep a blog that can’t be enhanced/linked or have images added.
        I do get your point about the reasons but the free first year domain advertising ploy doesn’t do enough for me, personally. I am pretty happy the way my blog is atm, as long as they don’t decrease too many features. Searching in comments as a function has gone and that was a feature I regularly used.

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry says:

          It really is disappointing how many ‘upgrades’ seem to be more for the benefit of the ones offering the service than those who use them (not just WordPress, but generally).

          Like

          • Forestwood says:

            Agreed! Users may look for alternatives at some point, so whilst they are riding the wave of preferred blogging platforms, atm, that might change if they continue that kind of business strategy!

            Liked by 1 person

          • pendantry says:

            WordPress has, I believe, a very large following. I don’t know how large WordPress.com’s share of the blogging platform market is, but it may well be large enough that they don’t need to worry about the relatively small numbers who might desert them.

            One of my pet hobbyhorses is the way that monopolistic businesses can ride roughshod over their customers once they have sufficient inertia — a reality that free market fundamentalists refuse to acknowledge. ‘Choice’ is, all too often, an illusory fiction.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Forestwood says:

            I am sad to say you are correct. The holy grail of free market economics has not only ruined the planet but many lives as well. You have to be ruthless, mean and hurtful to be successful in business. Capitalism is meant to weed out the small fry. Everyone wants to be successful but under the system, not everyone can be successful. This is rationalised as the drive to increase productivity, which does improve some items but means a poorer product make with cheaper parts in many others. I despise this system and yet are pretty much powerless to opt out of it entirely, unless we become a hermit. Instead we do what we can, in our own little microcosm. This weekend I am buying direct to the farmers through a REKo. https://www.growingformarket.com/articles/reko-ring-new-way-presell-online

            Liked by 1 person

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  27. Chris Riley says:

    Wow, now that is food for thought for those of us (like me), who thinks that after I’m a long time dead my children will be able to get answers to questions about me that, when I was living, they were to busy to ask. There were so many questions that came to mind when my own mum was dead and buried, questions that I’d never thought to ask her in her living years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      That is an excellent point – and one that I hadn’t previously considered; probably because I have no progeny of my own (I’m a proud member of VHEMT!). But then, my brothers have children, and grandchildren, and, who knows, maybe one of them might be interested in finding out more about their uncle, after I’m gone. Perhaps I should revisit an idea I had a while ago, about setting up a non-profit foundation to curate websites after their owners had passed on….

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment, Chris, and welcome to Wibble!

      Like

  28. Thanks for the information here. I found it from Amanda’s blog and need to decide whether I even care if the blog goes on or if I let my kids close it down when the time comes. I love how we help each other on WP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      I think that the important issue to consider is not whether you care, but how your children (and perhaps their children) might value what you have created – and might mourn it, if it is lost forever.

      I, too, appreciate how we WordPress bloggers help each other. It’s a great community we have, here, and I hope that it continues long into the future (however that turns out).

      Welcome to Wibble, insearchofitall! :)

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Margy says:

    Excellent advice. I pay for the upgrade – originally for the Personal plan, then the Premium plan when the personal plan no longer let you do Advanced design customization. I didn’t choose the domain change though.

    Liked by 1 person

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