Axiom²

WordPress.com’s counterproductive business model and why I use it

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It’s a well-known fact that the better your blog is to your visitors, the more visitors you’re likely to have. When using wordpress.com’s free plan you cannot tweak the CSS, fonts, and many theme options even though doing so most likely uses virtually no extra space and places no extra load on their servers, you also cannot run your own ads but they can run theirs on your blog. The limitations in the free/cheap plans in almost every service offering business in existence are supposed to generate the same outcome, convince or persuade you to buy a better plan, this is where I think wordpress.com is being counterproductive.

Counter productivity

No advanced customization equals less visitors, which equals less money and less new wordpress.com users derived from the ads wordpress.com runs on your blog.

No advanced customization equals less visitors, which equals less blogs getting well established/well known (or waiting more time until it happens), which equals to more people NOT buying the premium package because of not having enough visitors to generate enough revenue to justify such a purchase (visitors see and click the ads of your ad campaign, which you can only do if you buy the premium package).

I think that the economics term for this is “to shoot yourself in the foot”, or so I’ve heard…

Hosting companies, as an example, have this all figured out, they usually unlock the most customization/flexibility/features that they can for all pricing tiers and then will make you pay more depending on how many sites you have, how many databases, size of those databases, bandwidth consumed, CPU time used, type of technical support, etc…, meaning, you rarely pay more for features (only if they’re some really rare stuff or hog too much in the way of resources) but you will definitely be paying more if you use more resources, and that’s the bottom line, attracting the customer with features while charging for usage.

Why I use it

I had wordpress.org blogs and they were a lot of work to manage, I had ideas on how to do a better CMS (content management system) and even got around to coding a working mock-up version of it, but, before my final project iterations, I’ve realized that when the cheap shared hosting where I would likely have it would decide to update Apache, PHP or SQLite it could break my site, and then, a year or so, maybe more, after coding the thing, I would have to “debug” it ASAP in order to avoid downtime, which is really crappy, so on this new project I decided to go for a hosted service as opposed to self-hosted.

I also wanted a service that could somewhat scale with my needs, meaning, if the blog had few visitors/potential to generate revenue I didn’t wanted to pay for it, I’m not writing for the money, I write because I want it and it’s a good thing to “spread the word” but it entails quite a bit of work, I don’t want to spend money just to have the “privilege” of working (as it’s supposed to function the other way around), I liked squarespace but under this criteria I had to rule it out.

After testing upwards of 20 options and doing my research only two real options survived my scrutiny and I considered them both to be so inadequate for me that I felt like continuing to code my CMS, going for self-hosting and heroically battling the relentless march of technology by continually drudging through my code, this didn’t last as I was also feeling lazy and I probably wouldn’t have the time to be doing it anyway, so, sooner or later, I’d have downtime, no matter how I looked at it, it all boiled down to Blogger vs. wordpress.com.

I ended up going for wordpress.com as most themes are polished, beautiful and functional by default, I can pay for premium further on if I want/need to and it would also be pretty easy to migrate to self-hosted wordpress while keeping the functionalities and themes.

No Javascript allowed due to security concerns

When you want to do something a little more interactive, like a calculator for some physics problems or a unit converter, you usually resort to Javascript as it’s compatible and runs on the client side, well, if you use wordpress.com you can’t, Java and Flash are also out (I don’t care much about those anyway, Google is dropping Java support in Chrome, also Flash support in Android browsers isn’t looking so hot).

I certainly understand the reasons behind such restrictions but I don’t agree that there should be no alternatives for scripting around here, at least there should be some really basic scripting, regardless of the language used, that users could make do with.

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