When I got into blogging back in 2009, I chose blogger.com as my platform. It was easy-to-use, high capacity, stable, and best of all… FREE. You can upload all the photos you want and blogger.com could accommodate them all. There was virtually no downtime because well, Google owns it. My url was http://animetric.blogspot.com.
Eventually I realized that not having my own domain and self-hosted website was hampering my blog’s potential. I was missing out on opportunities because in the real world, people have a hard time taking free sites seriously. Being on a free server meant you didn’t really have 100% control over your stuff. You’re not paying for anything so your host owes you nothing. Although I did enjoy a good run on blogger.com, I knew I was missing out on more serious opportunities where collaborations with brands, establishments, and other entities was concerned. For example, http://www.payu2blog.com, an online entity which gives bloggers opportunities to earn money by posting, doesn’t accept sites hosted on free servers.
So in 2016, I migrated my blog to WordPress. I got my own domain with paid hosting. The problem with this is, bandwidth consumption goes up when blog traffic goes up. To minimize my bandwidth consumption, I did what most bloggers were doing — I uploaded my photos to a free third party server and hotlinked them. Most of my photos are on Flickr. There were a few on Photobucket. Now Photobucket suddenly decided to charge all its users US$39.99 a month for image hosting. Thank goodness I had very few photos there. I transferred everything to Flickr.
And now Flickr has been acquired by SmugMug.
SmugMug says Flickr will remain Flickr but I’m skeptical. SmugMug doesn’t have any free options in its current structure. I don’t see them hosting billions of hotlinked images for free forever. Eventually, something’s going to give. After all, this is business.
What does this mean? This means that self-hosted bloggers like myself will need to pay more to keep the blog up and running. Every year I pay for my domain, I pay for hosting, and now it looks like I will eventually need to pay for more bandwidth. In the end, the truth that nothing in the world is free holds.
Anyway, for me this means:
- More optimization in terms of image quantity and quality. I can’t wantonly post irrelevant photos and materials now that I’m going to be uploading everything to my host’s server.
- More content curation. Since nothing is unlimited (even if they say it is), I need to put a lot more value and relevance in every post.
- Spring cleaning — this means deleting obsolete content like maybe that sale I announced back in 2010?
While I don’t mind helping out friends from brand, PR, etc from time to time, the relationship has to be mutually beneficial. Please don’t insult me by telling me I should be grateful for the free content being provided. I’ve been at this for 9 years and at no point have I ever needed assistance in creating content.
As it stands, I have 9,000+ photos on Flickr which I need to upload to my host and I have 1 month to do it. Free services are slowly dying and I don’t want my blog to be a casualty.
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