Many Are Cold, but Few Are Frozen

David Lawrence's personal blog

I've been to Wordpress and back, and survived

Exiled

This is my first personal blog, which I started nearly two years ago in Ulaanbaatar. I had read an online article, in Yahoo, I think, about a platform that works by sending an email to post@posterous.com. Simple. So I tried it. I wrote some text about my BabyGirl and attached a picture and sent it off. Minutes later, I got a fabulous Web page that I loved at first sight. I have not stopped since. My blog, Out of Mongolia, has been a lot of fun to write and ended up getting well over a thousand visits a month. Not bad for a personal blog.

But after my recent move to Ukraine, I thought I should try something new. I wanted to experiment with other platforms, and I was curious about how Google's Adsense works. So I decided to switch to Wordpress, which was hailed as the most advanced blogging platform there is. It had a tool to import my Posterous blog. So I did it.

BIG mistake. I noticed right away that my fabulous Posterous photo galleries were transformed into an endless, clunky stack of pictures, forcing the reader to scroll and scroll and scroll before getting to the text. Then I noticed that my YouTube links, so perfectly reflected in Posterous as an image with a play button, were reduced to mere links in Wordpress. Then I checked out its e-mail posting capability. It works, but instead of just posting to an easy-to-remember email address, you have to send your post to some cryptic email address that you would never remember if your life depended on it. It works but I did not like it.

Then I tried to edit photos, and embed them alongside the text, something which Posterous can't do yet. I spent two hours messing with it. The photo kept popping up where it shouldn't have, and the caption I tried to add appeared in strange sizes and formats. In Posterous, I just add text right after the photo and it forms a perfect caption.

I also noticed that Wordpress forces a large, clunky font on you. You can't change it. You can't even change the size. After an hour of experiments, I found out that there is some third-party program you have to register with and somehow link to in order to modify the fonts. No thanks.

The final insult happened when I tried to put Adsense in. This is a major weakness in Posterous and was the main driver for me to look elsewhere. But there are no instructions in Wordpress on how to input Adsense, contradicting information I had read about monetizing Worldpress blogs. After hours and hours of research, testing, experiments and torture, I found out that Wordpress has two forms: a .com version and a .org version. The .com version will not allow Adsense. Instead, they put their own ads in. You can use Adsense in the .org version but you need much more  technical skill than I have.

I realized that to use Wordpress the way I wanted would take a huge investment in my time. And at best, it wouldn't handle photos and videos and fonts nearly as well as Posterous does. So I re-imported my Ukrainian-themed posts from Wordpress and returned to Posterous, like a humbled, prodical son.

I will continue my blog on Posterous, but will experiment with a new blog on Google's Blogger. In the meantime, I hope that Posterous makes it possible to monetize blogs on their platform. I have noticed that a few Posterous bloggers have managed to do this, but I don't know how they did it.

What a relief to be back. I don't know how Wordpress manages to stay in business. They give you a lot of options, but they also make everything compicated, and don't give you what you really need.