The start of a new year always encourages me to step back and make an internal review and reassess the things that add value in my life and take a hard look at the things that need to be jettisoned. One thing I’ve found as a result is certain online activities no longer bring me the joy they once did and, like another blogging friend, I seriously considered locking up my site. While I don’t think I’m quite ready for that at this point, I am considering where this site will be going forward.
I’ll also be publishing new blog posts less frequently. In the meantime you’re welcome to dig into my archives and featured posts. If there’s a particular subject you aren’t finding an answer to, leave a comment on this post or use my Search Me? page.
In other news:
WordPress.com Free Sites-Now with more ads
A Native Sponsored Post promoting an in-house ad has already popped up on one of my free Private sites where I am the only user. That means I’m the only one who will ever see it which I guess was WordPress.com’s gentle way of indicating the rollout has begun.
Over the 14 years I’ve hosted sites here, the amount of advertising on free websites has gone from the occasional ad visible to logged-out users to ads visible all the time to ads that appear in subscriber emails to MOAR ADS. It’s starting to remind me a lot of Angelfire, where I maintain a website for our local knitting guild, though I hope never to see flashing banner ads! The only way to remove ads from your free WordPress.com website at this time is to upgrade to a paid plan.
It’s understandable that WordPress.com needs to recoup its operating expenses for hosting millions of websites and I certainly don’t grudge them that. Having said that, free sites provide WordPress.com with traffic in a symbiotic relationship. Run ads if you must, but keep the number and placement of ads sane.
Learn with WordPress.com’s Happiness Engineers
Many old-time WordPress.com bloggers learned the ins and outs of blogging on WordPress.com through Blogging U, which currently is still online as self-study email courses. When it was new, Blogging U was not just a course but also a community where new bloggers received help and feedback from both other community members and WordPress.com’s Happiness Engineers.
WordPress.com’s newest offering, wpcourses.com, takes that idea a big step further. There are self-paced and self-directed lessons, a private P2 site* for students to mingle and help each other alongside Happiness Engineers and a weekly “office hour” over Zoom led by a Happiness Engineer. The current offerings are “Blogging for Beginners” and “Podcasting for Beginners.” Each is an immersive course available by an annual paid subscription. Make sure to read the FAQ page to answer any questions you may have prior to signing up.
If you are interested in either course, but find it too expensive, WordPress.com regularly sends out promotional emails, so make sure to get on their mailing list.
*P2 is a standalone, free Automattic product (it is not the old P2/O2 theme) and, as of this writing, is advertised as an ad-free experience. More on P2 coming in a future post.
As always, the information in this post is correct as of today’s date. Changes are inevitable.
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By the time you read this post, I will be experiencing the side effects of my second Covid-19 vaccination. If I can go by reports in the news (as well as conversations with friends and relatives), I’ll likely be offline for a few days and will reply to your comments after that.