I have a question that for most in this forum, including me!, will seems “heretical” at best.
For context I do not “do social media.” I have a LinkedIn account in case someone needs to reach me and I have an unused FB account that was opened due to prompting (harassment ) by family members. I never read or post to FB even though I have the account. I don’t like Facebook and I honestly don’t trust them.
Here is where the heresy comes in. I’m struggling to justify the annual $340 cost for my domain (bluehost ) and Squarespace for my blog.
I’m wondering if there is a cheaper way to make articles available without paying out nearly $350/year to do so. What I’m struggling with is determining how much of an internet “footprint” I need, e.g., do I really need my own domain when all I use it for is a blog? The only other thing I “need” is the ability for individuals to subscribe to the blog. Most of the time I just send an email to my subscribers via Mailchimp informing them of new articles.
Here is where Facebook comes in. I could reach my “subscribers” through Facebook and probably many more. It is free. It would be easy to find my blog page. BUT, it comes with all that is bad with FB, though I suspect 99% of my readers have FB accounts anyway.
One final thing, Discourse and Discord will be too technical for the majority of my readers so I don’t consider those to be options and even if I could get them to use Discourse, I have no idea how to set it up and it is probably as expensive or more so than what I have now.
Thoughts and reactions to this heretical idea? Alternative suggestions to cut the cost for having a blog?
Yes, Micro.blog! It’s a fantastic service with $5 and $10 options. The $10 option includes a newsletter feature for folks that want to subscribe. The timeline feature is an amazing addition that adds your posts to a timeline that people can follow. You can do a domain there or not. The community there is really wonderful. It’s very easy to post to. The web experience is excellent and there are also a few apps to choose from.
I’d recommend it to anyone that wants an easy to set-up and maintain blog that’s hassle free and comes with a wholesome community. And of course, just to be clear, your blog is also a standard blog that is indexed on search engines and available on the larger web.
Yep, as long as you want. No limit. The micro comes in with the community timeline that articles are posted to. If your article is longer than 280 characters just the first 280 are posted on the timeline with a link to the full post on your blog.
Think of it as a full-on blog service but with the timeline as an added feature than other blogs don’t have (that I’m aware of). Only that timeline has a limit of what will be shown. A short post under 280 characters will show in full. Longer posts just direct people to your blog.
Are you sure about that!?
Just because you are on Facebook, does not mean everybody else is.
A lot of Businesses and Blogs etc. lost for example me following them, at the moment they turned towards Facebook.
There is no reason, in the whole wide world, that could get me back to FB, and there are a lot of others out there, thinking the same way about FB.
You’ve overpaying for your domain. You may have had to pay a premium to originally acquire it from someone who bought your name, but now that you own it you should be paying about $15/year. You can transfer it to a registrar that will charge the right price (NameCheap, Cloudflare, Google Domains, GoDaddy, Wordpress.com etc.)
I took a look at your blog and I would recommend moving to Wordpress.com and paying for the $100/year package, or just staying with Squarespace with the domain in a new location. You’ll be able to get a comparable experience with Wordpress.com. It doesn’t look like you’re using any heavy customization that would be hard to move over and you should be able to find a comparable theme.
I recommend Wordpress.com in particular because it’ll be the simplest experience that also gives you some room to grow, and will feel the most like a real site and not a social network profile to your readers.
I’d then just crosspost your content to Facebook. It’s not a good idea to make Facebook the source of truth for your content because the reading experience isn’t great and they will make it hard for you to reach your whole audience of followers to encourage you to boost your posts with ad spend. Your ad spend might run about $100/year, so not crazy, but you should keep it in mind.
You also won’t be able to easily export your posts if you ever decide to move off of Facebook. It’s not about heresy, it’s about smart communication approach and brand management.
Something I’d add for anyone considering a new blog, another couple of things about micro.blog that I really appreciate. The team is small, I think 3 or 4 people. They are present on the community timeline everyday both to help, welcome and participate. This includes the primary developer of the micro.blog apps who is taking suggestions for new features all the time. Also, Manton, the creator is always adding new features while also showing restraint. This fall he added full-on support for ActivityPub so for anyone that is interested in interoperability with the Fediverse: Mastodon, Pixelfed and other services, Micro.blog works very well there. Another added feature, though I’ve not used it, is bookshelves for folks to talk about/share books that they’ve read or are reading. There are other things too like built in podcasting tools for premium subscribers that want a fairly easy way to publish a podcast.
The general gist is that it’s a well cared for service that’s run by people that are there everyday being a part of things.
If your primary concern is allowing people to subscribe and receive posts via email like it sounds, you might want to explore a newsletter platform like Substack that will also give you a blog-like web presentation of your posts.
Do NOT transfer your domain’s registration to WordPress.com. Ever. They lock it up in a proprietary reseller service, and if you forget and cancel your WordPress.comblog hosting before you get your domain out, their support won’t talk to you because you’re not paying for blog hosting, the registrar won’t talk to you because their business relationship is with WordPress, and you’re just kind of hosed.
Happened to one of my clients, and between her and I we couldn’t get her domain out.
For domain registrars, I like Hover personally. They don’t pull the weird pricing games other registrars do. NameCheap is fine too.
I agree on using a service like WordPress.com to host your site. And you should be able to set your site up to auto-post to Facebook.
The big issue with Facebook and other Big Tech platforms is that they can literally decide to delete your account/data/whatever at any time, without warning. They usually don’t, but it’s happened.
And it’s not a matter of “they won’t do that to me” - the rules are byzantine enough that you can run afoul of them without trying. A friend lost his YouTube account because he posted a private video (i.e. not linked, not indexed, not searchable, etc.) where he filled out a contact form to show me an error that it was generating. “Posting personally-identifiable information in a video”. Even though it was made up info.
@Bmosbacker it might be worth checking out Blot.im. @ryanjamurphy put me on to them a while back, and I’ve been very happy with them. $4/month. If they’re suitable for your needs, that’s $48 per year, plus the $12-15/year a domain registration should cost.
No matter what you ultimately do, keep your own domain name. Move the registration of it to a reliable, but inexpensive service (CloudFlare, etc.) and pay for multiple years for lowest price.
Depending on your desire to learn versus have it done for you, inexpensive WordPress (the software, not the company) website hosting can be had for less than $3/month. Should be sufficient for just a single blog type website.
Paying a little more, $5 to $10/month, will get you a “managed Wordpress service” where the basics are handled for you.