Let WordPress See Your Cigarette Lighters

Let-me-see-your-cigarette-lightersWordPress rocks. That’s an official decision I’ve come to, which I hereby formally announce. Rocks enough that I’d even like to go on about it for a sec, if you don’t mind too much.

I shopped around other blogging sites before I started writing here because I’m nit-picky about things. Some would say anal. I wouldn’t, because I don’t use the word anal in polite company, although I did just type it in italics twice. Anywho, I chose WordPress because I knew going in that I would want to write about a variety of topics without sticking to one particular format, tone of voice, area of expertise, etc. Basically, I wanted a lot of freedom, and the standard blog format didn’t feel right for that. Thus, I was happy to find the magazine-style themes WordPress had to offer. That’s cool, I thought. That could work, thought I. And so far it has. I recently changed the theme from what I started with (Suburbia) to one I think I like even better (Expound), only because as much as I liked the former’s crisp, uncluttered presentation, I like the latter’s even more crisp and more uncluttered presentation even, well…more.

When I was thinking of starting Rothchild’s Parlor, though, I felt I needed something different. RP was going to be a fictional story with a fairly consistent tone of voice and a more-or-less linear progression of events. The standard blog format, I felt, could work for that. But since the story was going to take place in the past, the website would need to have an older feel to it. I would even say it ought to feel out of date. What’s more, I wanted a welcome screen that had more flexibility for images than WordPress could give me, and the font I thought I was looking for was one I couldn’t find among the WordPress options. I didn’t know exactly what font I was looking for, I just knew I wasn’t finding it on WordPress. Eventually I found a good font and everything else I thought I needed on Weebly, so I started Rothchild’s Parlor there.

I posted on Weebly for a few months. I learned the ins and outs of the interface were more precise than on WordPress. I found it gave me more control over the elements of a post (number of columns, placement of images, etc). I got into a pretty good groove over there, and I think overall I achieved the look and feel I was going for, at least as best I could for what little I know about this kind of stuff (I don’t dabble in anything that the provided tools don’t allow me to dabble in). But I did something recently that began as a furrowed-brow experiment and ended up as a venom-based vendetta kind of thing. I opened a duplicate blog on WordPress, and eventually I transferred everything I had previously posted on Weebly back over here. I did it to see if what I thought was happening on Weebly was true.

What I thought was happening was that Weebly was providing me with false stats. And as far as I can tell, this is at least mostly true.

Granted, I was at first thrilled to see stats that showed A LOT of people visiting RP. More than I thought would ever be interested in such a very taste-specific story. More than were visiting waltbox, and by a long shot. Every time I posted on RP, there was a very impressive little spike. I was curious. Who were these people? How could I connect with them? How were they finding out about my site? The stats provided by Weebly did very little to answer these questions.

I contacted the support folks at Weebly. I asked them questions. Most blog-hosting sites have a sort of community center where bloggers can interact with other bloggers. Not so with Weebly, apparently. I was told via email that I could Google my topic of interest and add the word “Weebly” to find other Weebly users. Then I was informed via email that my question had been answered to my satisfaction and my inquiry was being closed.

That seemed a bit off.

I was so curious I did something I never do. I paid for information. What’s more, I paid a company I was already raising my eyebrow at. I’m not happy I did that. That’s not how I normally go about it. Paying for information is something I generally regard as a bad idea. Most of the good information is available for free somewhere. But I ponied up for six months worth of info that was grayed out to non-paying folk. 

I will say this for Weebly – at least they have a “do not renew my subscription” box to check. And a refund option. I took advantage of the former. And at least they have the latter.

I would like to think the stats were accurate, but I can’t. Weebly offers no way, and by no way I mean zip, zero, nada way, for a Weeby user to interact with other Weebly users. There is no Freshly Pressed link, no Blogs I Follow link. No Comments I Made link. No Posts I Like. No Recommended Blogs. No Find Friends. No Explore Topics.

What there is is nothing. At all. On Weebly. As far as I can tell, you are alone.

They’ve got plenty of business-oriented themes, though. Which kind of helps the rest make sense. They seem to be catering to the folks who just want to make a buck. Birds of a feather.

It’s my own fault. I should have known better.

I brought RP back over to WordPress. Thank you WordPress for being very cool about everything, even if your options are a bit too sleek and modern for what I wanted. I’ll gladly trade that for the sense of community. I like that I can see who my readers are, what posts of mine they are reading, and what country they are from. And that they can interact with me and I with them. That’s kind of awesome. Rock on, WordPress. Rock on.

– walt

4 thoughts on “Let WordPress See Your Cigarette Lighters

  1. Well. Up until a moment ago, I didn’t know there was a sinister side to blogging. Glad I chose WordPress even more now.
    I read your Time Machine post, and a couple others…I think I’ll stick around. 🙂
    – Kit

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