Mistakes Were Made & The HIGH Cost of Free – Kristen Lamb

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Reblog and featuring

 Today’s share comes with some excellent advice from blogging/social media guru Kristen Lamb.  Kristen talks about the ‘cost of free’ when it comes to the pitfalls of working on a ‘free’ blogsite if you’re trying to sell books or anything else. She explains the drawbacks of different aspects of a blogsite that aren’t available to use if you don’t own your own domain.

 

I thought this post was timely because of my recent website woes I’ve been having with self-hosted. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from other authors stating they don’t want the hassles of self-hosting, so I thought I’d share Kristen Lamb’s reasoning for owning your own website. Enjoy!

 

Mistakes Were Made & The HIGH Cost of Free

“I am a Generation Xer through and through, in life and in regards to my profession. I didn’t “come of age” as a writer in the digital world. I decided to become an author in a world with typewriters and snail mail, where we went to libraries to research and the only way to connect with an agent was to drop several hundred bucks to go to a conference.

I had to struggle to find my way in a world I’d only believed was possible in science fiction, which was super fun namely because NO ONE knew what the hell they were doing. Back in 2006 we really had no good way of discerning solid advice from sheer BS.

Many of y’all know my story. I did NOT set out to become a social media guru. In fact the word guru makes me itch. It just kind of happened because I am a know-it-all and a meddler. I joke that my first social media book should have been called, I Did All the Dumb Sh%$ So You Don’t Have To.

I bitched so much about people doing it wrong (or teaching it wrong) that I finally just wrote my own book ? .

Y’all can probably tell when I took over decisions on the cover, LOL.

Anyway, as I was saying…

If we want to sell books we must have a social media platform and brand. It is no longer a choice. But I will be blunt. You do NOT want to waste time by starting off wrong, and I will also tell you that there are still a ton of “experts” who have zero business teaching this stuff.

Seriously, I thought we would be past these yahoos teaching social media by about 2011 but they are still around so BEWARE. Just last year (2016) I went to a conference and there were five social media classes, which I was eager to take since I am always learning. I walked out of every single class so angry I couldn’t see straight.

In the blogging class, the instructor was teaching the very same stuff that landed me in a major mess, which we are about to talk about…” Continue Reading . . .

 

Source: Mistakes Were Made & The HIGH Cost of Free – Kristen Lamb

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33 Comments

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  1. An interesting article, Debby. It seems that one drawback is not being able to sell from a free website. Authors interested in taking that step should probably start with a self-hosted site and avoid all the hassles of switching over. For me, personally, WP works just fine, and I don’t have any headaches other than the one’s I bring upon myself. Ha ha.

    1. Lol Diana. Yes, you can’t sell anything on free, as well as other limitations. Also if Wp.com every crashes completely all free blogs could vanish, that’s what inspired be to move to self hosted a few years ago. 🙂 I’m not much of a gambler, lol. 🙂

  2. I read–memorized–her first social media book and am off to see what her advice is.

    1. She’s a wealth of info. I just thought many bloggers had mentioned not wanting to go self hosted. So when I found this article, I thought it was a worthy piece of info. 🙂

  3. I think that I will probably stay as free as I promote my books even if I don’t physically sell them from the site. They are available from my own separate selling site anyway and most people seem to be more comfortable buying from Amazon.. It is fit for my purpose but I can see how it would be more attractive for others. I am making changes next year so will rethink then..It clearly works for Kristen. Great share Debby.. xx

    1. Thanks Sal. I don’t blame you because your site operates perfectly for you, especially since you do have a separate website for your publishing services where your own books are sold. You don’t have to start fussing with other headaches. 🙂 xo

  4. Thanks, Debby. I know Kristen but haven’t read any of her articles recently. (To be honest, marketing is becoming less and less interesting to me these days). I moved to self-hosting with many plans of possible things to do, but none of them worked well, and now I’m wondering how long I’ll keep it going, as I still get more views and new followers on my free WordPress site (that I never deleted) than on the new one.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Olga. As I mentioned here to Sue, I had a re-direct from my WP.com take readers automatically to my new website, so those readers began following my on my new site. You may want to consider that rather than running 2 blogs. 🙂 x

  5. Now that is interesting, And I did not know you did not move your followers when you upgraded.. I keep being prompted from WP all the time..
    Thank you for sharing Debby..
    Love and Hugs your way for a great weekend xx

    1. Actually, when I moved, I had a re-direct for over a year from .com to my new website, so I didn’t lose followers, they were taken directly to my new site. After a year passed, I had begun to grow my following and I had put up several posts informing readers that they would have to begin coming directly to the URL of my website as the re-direct was cut off by WP.com if I didn’t agree to pay them annually. I wasn’t about to pay and happily, it worked out okay for me. 🙂
      Hugs back my friend. Happy weekend to you too. <3 xx

      1. Glad it worked out for you Debby… I do not pay for my site.. And just had an experience with Photobucket a few months back.. They bombarded the site with Adds.. So much so you couldnt even see what you were doing for pop ups.. Unless you agreed to pay for the privileged of them being removed.. I didn’t I closed down my account of ten yrs.. losing the photo collection.. but I let them go.. without regret..
        WP I see is getting greedy too.. now not one add but two add boxes on my site.. Sigh.. but the price for having a free sight.. When Dreamwalker’s has run its course, no doubt the Universe, like Photobucket will tell me when enough is enough..
        Lots of LOVE your way Debby I hope you had a relaxing weekend.. Mine busy but productive.. 🙂
        Hugs Sue xx

        1. I know what you mean Sue, I’m seeing so many ads on so many blogs this past while. And like you mentioned with Photobucket, I’ve also noticed certain free sites getting a little more difficult to navigate with the continuous pop up ads all over the place while to trying to read. Sheesh, I sure hope you don’t have to close down your site because of pesky ads Sue.
          Sending you lots of love back my friend. I took the day and evening off from computer Sunday, it was refreshing! That was productive, lol. 🙂 <3 xx

          1. Glad you had a computer free day.. My days of techno free are getting more and more for some reason.. I wasted a whole morning yesterday.. Trying to adapt a photo to put writing on it in powerpoint.. for a post.. I saved it, but the writing came up with out the photo. LOL.. And so I closed the lid on it and picked up my knitting.. Sigh lol. I must invest in a photoshop type of programme.. But for the amounts of times I would use it, not really worth it.. lol..
            At least the sun is shining today.. And I got some gardening done over the weekend.. :-D.
            The only good thing about WP Adds, is that when you are logged in your own site, you don’t see them.. lol..
            Have a great Day Debby.. Much love right back.. 🙂

          2. Thanks for sharing Sue. I know your frustration. Why don’t you try using a free photo editor app like fotojet.com? It’s easy to use and you can use your own photos or one of theirs and add many choices of text? Hope this helps. 🙂 <3 xx

          3. Awww thank you Debby I will look into that i had not heard of them before.. So thank you again. xxxx <3 See more light to my day already you added xxx Well late afternoon lol.. but I have been on my outside swing since our last conversation lol.. And am now positively charged once again.. LOL

          4. Oh how I envy you today Sue. <3 Glad I could shine a little more light for you too. <3 xoxo

  6. Interesting post, Debby, with lots of great messages. Thanks for sharing. I may have to consider reading Kristen’s book. Although my website is set up a little differently, I certainly need help with marketing and I’m sure some of the same advice would apply.

    1. Kristen Lamb is a wealth of info for everything Indie, Norah. I’m sure you’ll find her books helpful. I’ve read a few myself. 🙂

      1. I’m not needing much convincing at the moment, Debby. Thank you. 🙂

  7. Somehow (don’t recall why, now) I just started self-hosted from the git-go. Probably related to all the other do it yourself things I’ve always done–learning drywall, plumbing (first copper then PVC), landscaping, minor electrical wiring, painting, replacing window glass. What’s that? Saving money and learning to do stuff so I don’t have to pay somebody else to do it–unless I need that drywall to look better than what I can do. LOL. With websites, foreseeable events were occasional (if not frequent) maintenance. So why not learn how to do it yourself in the first place. Oh, but if it’s free, then you don’t have to maintain it (hahaha). Also you can’t customize it the way you want, etc. I learned to create Joomla sites. I learned a little HTML and a little WordPress. Eventually, I converted most to WordPress–despite the fact that the volunteers in the WordPress help forums are orders of magnitude more arrogant and condescending (read unhelpful) than those who participate in Joomla forums.

    1. Wow, you are a Jack of all trades my friend, and very adventurous. Not everyone feels as adventurous though when it comes to running a website. I know I was apprehensive in the beginning too. And yes, the WP forums are tedious too, having to search for them and through them for what we’re looking for, and often the answers are for WP.com, nor .org. I’m also not familiar with Joomla. I’ve heard the name mentioned but probably didn’t want to know one more WP thing, lol. 🙂

      1. Joomla is a whole nother kettle of fish–in this case another type of content management system. WordPress is used for that and simple blogging. You’re right; you don’t want to know. LOL. 😎

        1. Lol, ouch, my brain hurts. You are well ahead of me in technology know-how my friend! 🙂

  8. Thanks for the share and I checked out Kristen’s article, Debby. I started with a free blog and only in the last few years moved to a paid version and I’m still not self-hosted (am still through wp.com rather than .org). I read where Kristen says she lost all her followers and that has been haunting my mind – oh I wouldn’t want that. Lots to think about!

    1. It depends how you do it Christy. And Kristen advocates for owning your own site. Like a mentioned to another blogger here, if you move to .org, wp.com will re-direct your readers to your new site when landing on your old one. They’ll re-direct free for a year then they’ll start charging you an annual fee to continue. But as that year progressed, I kept posting to let readers know that they had to start coming to directly to my new site or they’d eventually not be taken there. I never lost followers. I gained many. <3 Glass half full girlfriend! :)

      1. Thanks for telling me more about your progression over to .org, Debby <3

        1. Anytime Christy. 🙂 xx

  9. Debby thank you for sharing her article with us. I’m slightly scared after reading it! ?? Shoud I be doing more? Setting up a paid site? Would I lose all my posts and followers? She has lots of experience and advice…think I better sit down and make notes! I do get confused as I think I own my domain name but then WP keeps asking me if I need to upgrade?! To what? Would I lose everything? Sitting still for now…

    1. Annika, there’s so much information on moving your site if you Google it. See some of my other comments here where I explain, if you move your site, WP will re-direct your readers to the new site for one year. That gave me ample time to keep reminding readers to sign up to follow my blog so they would be following my new blog instead of coming through the old one which would eventually disappear. Really, I had no trouble. And I don’t sell anything on my site. I just have control of my site. 🙂 x

  10. Thanks for sharing this, Debby! I’m off to Kristen’s site to learn more about her experiences and tips. Very intriguing read so far and I am hooked to find out the rest. 🙂 If there is something that I thoroughly hate, it is when people think/belief they are professionals/experts, but they have it wrong, yet they reap all the benefits and money nevertheless!

    1. I agree Liesbet. Kristen is a wealth of information for writers so I’m sure you’ll find a few things useful on her site. 🙂 x

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