Why I moved from a self-hosted blog

You may have noticed my blog was gone for a while and then it was back and then it might have been gone again, but I’ve finally managed to move from my self-hosted site back to (mostly free) WordPress.com. It took me a while to move since I’ve been traveling quite a bit (I’m in Indiana right now)!

I thought I had paid for an extra year at my blog host, but it turns out I hadn’t. 😦  They switched off my blog for a while in August and since I was traveling and didn’t always have time or internet to check my blog I didn’t realize right away.

Why I had a self-hosted blog

When I moved to a self-hosted blog I wanted to challenge myself to learn something new. I wanted to see if I could figure out how to set things up and how to design various elements for the blog. I was able to do most things myself though I sometimes had to ask my kids for assistance…lol.

I did find that some things were frustrating to figure out. Even moving from WordPress.org (my self-hosted site) to WordPress.com took some time (because I didn’t always have a large block of time to do it all and because I didn’t want to make a mistake), but it’s finally done. Yay!

Why I moved back to WordPress.com

I loved the control I had with the self-hosted site since I had a theme with lots of options for colors and fonts which are two things I like to control (and change sometimes)! I could also choose from hundreds of plugins to make the blog even more personal.

More expensive

However, having a self-hosted blog kept getting more expensive and I decided early in my self-hosting adventure I didn’t want to monetize my blog. (This was a personal choice and I don’t mind other people making a different decision). Now that my husband and I are retired I decided my self-hosted blog was an unnecessary expense especially since it seemed to get more expensive every year.

Frustrations

If I had problems on my self-hosted blog I felt like I had to figure it out myself and even though I googled my problem and read tutorials I was often frustrated because sometimes I couldn’t find answers to my problem or sometimes the tutorials were older and the information they gave didn’t work anymore and/or didn’t use the same menus anymore. My kids were great at helping me, but I got tired of asking for help and I think they got tired of me asking…lol.

Kept blog name

By paying $5 per month I am able to keep the name of my blog the same–NotesfromaReaderholic.com–so most people won’t notice a lot of difference in the blog.

What I’ve done since the move

I’ve tried several different themes since I moved, but haven’t found one that allows me to make my work space background the cream color I was using for the last few months. I really liked that color, but the content is more important and that will stay mostly the same. The theme I’m using right now has quite a few options so I’m quite happy with it.

I updated my twitter and facebook headers so they now look very similar to the header on my blog. I finally did a Gravatar profile. I’m working on new posts plus a few drafts that I had started before my blog went “kablooee” and wouldn’t start since my hosting site was expired!

What about you?

Do you have a self-hosting site? Are you still happy with it? Are you happy where you are?

I know that I often cause my own problems by deciding I have to try something new! Well, I accomplished my goal of challenging myself and now I can challenge myself to do what I can design-wise and content-wise with WordPress.com!

My return to blogging with slightly new directions

My return

I realize I’ve been absent from this blog for a while. I lost my desire to blog plus I’ve been busy. November and December are always the busiest months in our family. And I love all the family time and activities. I’ve spent January thinking about what I want to do with my blog and now I’m ready to begin again. I’m reinventing my blog just a little.

February is a good time to restart. It’s a cold day today (9 degrees at the moment), but a beautiful blue sky day just like the one below showing our backyard on New Year’s.

January 2018 backyard

I’m eager to return to my blog and blog friends. I’ve read some blogs during my hiatus, but not done much commenting. I’ve read books during my time off and that’s always a good thing. I managed to meet my 2017 Goodreads goal of 100 books which makes me happy. My 2018 goal is to read 90 books and I’m on-track for that.

New Directions

I plan to take my blog in a slightly new direction. I will keep my name, because let’s face it–I am a Readerholic! I don’t feel quite right unless I have a book I’m reading and thinking about.

However, I plan to talk more about some of my other interests–making greeting cards–usually using paper, rubber stamps and die cuts while listening to audiobooks while I create; my genealogy and family history research; perhaps some cooking and baking; and whatever else catches my interest.

A watercolor in progress on a pre-stamped card

I still plan to talk about books, but I probably won’t review the books I read though I may write a few lines about why I liked or didn’t like the book. That will be my goal anyway. I plan to participate in a few memes to talk about books and I want to write more opinion pieces–sometimes about books and sometimes not.

I’m going to see how it all goes. I’m giving myself permission not to review books and go in whatever direction I feel like going. I want to get the joy and fun back in my blogging. I hope some of my blogging friends come along with me, but I realize I’ve been gone–and never said I was stopping or whether I was returning. I just stopped communicating and I’m sorry about that. I understand if you’re not interested in returning or in following my new directions.

Plan to Reevaluate

I plan to reevaluate after about six months and see what I’m enjoying and what isn’t working for me, because at the end of the day this blog isn’t a business. I’m not making any money from it (no affiliates or advertising). I’m no longer accepting free e-Arcs from NetGalley. (I stopped that nearly a year ago in 2017.) I love having followers and people comment just as I love to read and comment about what other bloggers are doing, but I need to do what makes me happy–otherwise I won’t continue blogging. If people stop following and commenting I will either have to find a new audience or continue for my own enjoyment!

What do you think? Are you still enjoying your blog? (I hope so!) Can you tell if a blogger is enjoying what they’re writing about?

Look back and look forward

2016 wasn’t my best book year…

But I did read some good books. My biggest problem was writing reviews. Lots of the books I read did not get reviewed–especially in the latter part of the year. There were good reasons for that, but since there were lots of good books and authors I didn’t highlight I want to change that this year. I also didn’t get to my reading goal last year. That doesn’t bother me too much since I read some good books and found quite a few new authors to read. And anyway that was last year.

So what happened last year?

Lots went on in my personal life:

→  My husband and I decided to retire a few year earlier than planned.

→  We decided to move to Iowa.

→  We bought a house in Iowa last March, but our house in Maryland didn’t sell until the first of October.

→  I moved in April, but my husband moved in July.

→  In September we went on a road trip from Iowa to Washington State. The trip was wonderful–we drove to several national parks including Jasper and Banff in the Canadian Rockies. However, we also hit a deer with our car while still in Canada.

→  Car repair happened in Spokane, Washington, but we didn’t get the car back until around the first of November.

→  About that same time my husband was diagnosed with cancer and started receiving chemotherapy and radiation. Luckily, the type of cancer is treatable and slow-growing.

→  November and December are always very busy family months for me–Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful, joyous, busy times of year for us. We were also very busy with my husband’s cancer treatments.

Reading and blogging life

I lost a little of my mojo from October through the end of the year. Reading was still a comfort to me, but I didn’t have time for quite so many books and some of the books I started just didn’t hit the mark and went unfinished.

Part of the lost mojo meant fewer blog posts–especially book reviews.

I made the mistake of requesting extra NetGalley books thinking they would spur on my reading…but not-so-much. I started to think of those books like homework–never a good thing for me. Even books and authors I knew I would enjoy didn’t get read.

Plans for 2017

→  No 2017 reading challenges right now.

→  No in-depth review of how I did with my challenges or my reading in 2016. I just want to move forward.

→  Reviews will restart with the books I read in 2017 plus a few NetGalley books I didn’t get reviewed in 2016.

→  A shake-up in my review style. I just haven’t figured out what yet.

→  I do plan a review post with mini reviews toward the beginning of each month for the books I didn’t review the previous month.

→  Short reviews on Goodreads for 2016 books.

→  I still set my reading goal for 100 books. This is a doable goal, though still means stretching a bit.

→  Finish reading my NetGalley books.

→  And no new NetGalley book requests!

What are your plans for 2017?

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New Beginnings…Again

I have tried blogging in the past and not been too successful. I’ve even had a book review blog before. My problem was I felt guilty when I didn’t get a book reviewed, but I also started resenting the time I spent working on a review instead of reading. And I didn’t feel I added anything to my reviews that hadn’t been said a hundred times before.

This time I plan to write mini reviews of some of the books I read. Generally, if I read a book I enjoy it. Life is too short to read or finish reading a book I don’t like. I don’t love every book and sometimes I’m disappointed with a book, but usually I enjoy the books I read. I do appreciate reviewers who take the time and energy to review all the books they read even the awful ones, but I know that’s not my path.

I read genre books–mostly fantasy, science fiction, mysteries and romance. I love to find new authors and that is what convinced me to tackle a blog again. This year I’ve started reading a number of new-to-me authors and I want to share these authors and books with someone! Since very few people I know personally enjoy the same books I read I will share my thoughts about my reading here. I will see how it goes and whether anyone reads this blog or not this will help me keep track and remember the books I’m reading!