As I’m getting ready to do a redesign of my main personal site, one of the questions that I keep coming back to is whether or not it’s finally time to just wave goodbye to LiveJournal and migrate everything over to something that I would host myself. This used to be something that I was really passionate against because I’ve been using LJ since 2003 and have accumulated nearly 1,700 posts here, but the more I go back and review the reasons that I didn’t want to leave, the less weight they’re all starting to have…
It’s where all of my friends blog!
Well, hardly any of those people actually use LJ anymore! The people that do still blog are either self-hosted or using another platform, and several have just thrown in the towel altogether and just post updates to Facebook these days. My Friends List, and even Friends of Friends List, are pretty much both just filled with RSS syndication of comics nowadays – I rarely ever see actual blog posts in there anymore.
LiveJournal Icons are cool!
While I still can’t necessarily deny this, I do think that I know enough about WordPress now to just mimic the feature there … that is, if there isn’t already a plugin available for it. I also used to argue that icons made my friends list more colorful to read, but if nobody else is posting…
I like the app that I use to post my updates.
I’ve been using a program called Semagic for a number of years that’s really easy to use and offers pretty dropdowns for all of the LJ-specific features (icon, mood, music, etc…), however the downside of this is that it’s actually a pain to post when I don’t have access to the application. Like for this actual post, for instance – I’m actually writing it in Word, but when I paste it into Semagic to post later, the formatting will look really ugly because of how Microsoft bloats its HTML output … I usually end up posting as plain text and then re-adding all of the formatting manually anyways.
Although I believe that Semagic can actually post into WordPress, too, I also have the option to post via the regular interface wherever I have web access OR I can paste via Word without formatting issues … this is already verified because that’s exactly how I do my humor columns each and every week.
Migrating everything is going to be a pain in the ass, and I’ve already paid for another year…
True, 1,700 posts is going to be a pain, especially considering that whatever import tool that I use likely won’t preserve all of the tags and formats as clearly as I would like, but on the other hand … you’ve got to start somewhere, right?!
I guess in looking over the nitty-gritty, I basically just convinced myself that it’s finally time … at least to say that I’m going to do it, anyways. Sure, it’s only $20 a year for a paid account with LJ and there’s really no reason why I couldn’t just go free, but the more I look at it the benefits are really dwindling these days … namely, nobody else uses LJ anymore and everyone I do follow I now use RSS for. Plus, I’m kind of making it a point to dump old online stuff that I don’t really need anymore this year, anyways. Already I’ve let a few domain names expire for projects years old that just never came to fruition, and although I never paid for Flickr, I’m still debating whether I want to get a pro account with them or use my own hosting account for photos as well.
Again, the money isn’t really a big deal, but a) like the placeholder domain names, it’s dumb to keep paying for something that I don’t need; and b) I already have a monthly bill for webhosting, so to some extent it does seem a little silly to pay an extra fee for another service that I could host myself … unless it offers some amazing features that open source software doesn’t currently replicate (arguably, this is my debate with Flickr right now…).
My requirements are pretty simple for this blog – I don’t even know if anybody else reads it because I’ve always looked at it more just as something for me to look back at reminiscently from time to time, so if we’re finally to the point where it makes more sense for me to just host a simple WordPress blog for it myself, maybe that’s finally ok. Besides, maybe that will put it in a better position to actually get read by more random people, and a few cents here and there from Adsense never hurts. I’ve already proven this year that even though something may seem stupid to me, that doesn’t mean other people won’t be interested in it nonetheless!
Anyways, I’m sure I won’t stop posting here for a while, but I suppose it’s something for me to start playing around with when the redesign for scottsevener.com gets underway. My original plan was just to keep it a portal pointing to all of my other sites, but I was planning on using WordPress as the framework, so including a blog in the mix shouldn’t be much trouble on that part. I’m not really concerned about the design, but the 1,700-post import could get a little ugly! Then again, maybe it’d be a good task to do 6 months at a time – that way, I can go back and tag all of those really old posts at the same time, too!
We’ll see whether I still renew my paid account here in Sept. 2011 whether this plan actually worked out or not…