Warning: This post contains curse words. If curse words offend you, please do not read further. Before leaving a chastising email about my use of curse words in the following post, please know that it was written 2 years ago. I have evolved as a writer since then. I often choose to use more colorful words than curses to get my point across in my writing these days - unless a curse is absolutely necessary. Read Potty mouth police on the prowl for an explanation. (added 7/25/2010)
My husband was laid off back in June. It’s been about 8 weeks and still no job. Not a lot of people are hiring construction executives this time of the year, and those who are hiring seem to be taking vacations left and right. The days are turning into weeks and now the weeks into months. SO, we’re starting to hunker down and set a realistic budget for the first time in our married lives. Sweet Jesus…I’ve been one spoiled Mommy until now.
First to go was my Starbucks addiction. That was a no brainer. Then school. Our daughter is already registered to attend public school this fall instead of the pricey private school where she attended kindergarten last year. Feeling good. I was able to instantly increase my own work hours. Score. We’re looking at other ways to put cash in our pocket and eliminate expenses from our budget, such as scrapping metal in our garage, doing a yard sale, cutting out our telephone land line, and premium cable, etc. I’m not a fan of losing our land line, but I’m willing to do what we need to do.
Since its inception a year ago, Mommycosm has been hosted at Squarespace for the low, low price of $12 per month. It was easy to set up and easy to manage and $12 is pretty affordable. Well, unless your husband, the primary bread winner in the family, is out of work for a couple of months. Cutting $12 here and there out of a budget of next to ZERO can make a big difference.
Squarespace recently upgraded to V5 and all of the changes were, frankly, overwhelming to deal with. They moved things around and completely changed the interface. I began feeling challenged to compose and publish a blog post containing pictures or links. So I thought to myself: Self, maybe now is the time to make the move over to WordPress.
I have dabbled here and there with WordPress and love the idea of it being FREE. I grabbed mommycosm.wordpress.com months ago, just in case I ever wanted to switch over. I checked it out again a couple of weeks ago and decided to make the move. I’ve been receiving requests for me to advertise on my blog. I have poo poo’d the idea of advertising until now. Now? I say, hell, if I can do what I love and make a little money in the process, why not?!
I fell in love with a 3 column template and started to visualize the ad space and widgets I could put into the 2 sidebars. I was surprised at how easy it was to export my posts from Squarespace and import them into WordPress. The biggest glitch was my pictures. I had to upload each of my pictures into WordPress, which was kind of a PIA, but I managed. I love the page buttons I could add across the top of the blog and set up my blog roll...how did I get over 75 blogs into my reader, anyhow?? With the hard part done, I started thinking about my new header.
I was happy and excited and wanted to French kiss my new WordPress blog. But when I got up close, I smelled…garlic? Onions? Something wasn’t quite right.
I tried to move my widgets into my new fancy-schmancy sidebars. Hmm…why isn’t this working? I don’t see anything obvious here. This widget is from amazon. I’ll try to re-grab the code and see what’s going on??
Currently, you can only add Amazon Widgets to hosted Wordpress.org blogs. Due to security restrictions, Wordpress.com does not allow adding widget code to their blogs.
SHITFUCKMOTHERFUCKER. [<------you were warned cursing was coming.]
I go to the WordPress.com FAQ page and…sure enough:
If you paste code into a widget, save and when you look again it has gone then the system has removed it.
This is done for security reasons.
Anything that has a line like this:
or that uses Form or Input tags for instance is not allowed. There are other tags but the effect is the same - they disappear.
There are no exceptions to this.
A little tidbit that isn’t widely advertised (or perhaps I live under a rock): the FREE WordPress.com blogs do not allow widgets. Well, they DO allow their own widgets, but you can’t add any others. I’m sure it was somewhere in their Agreement, which I cannot seem to find since reading “blah, blah, blah, click here” when I signed up.
I had spent hours getting everything organized over there. HOURS. I wanted to cry.
I pulled myself together and decided to check out WordPress.org.
WordPress.org is free also. It’s the same great blogging platform offered at WordPress.com except that you can customize things, such as widgets. The catch? You have to hire someone to HOST it. Looking through the list of their suggested host companies, the prices on their buttons look appealing. $6.95 seems to be the going rate. I click through and realize, not so fast, that rate is only if you sign up for long term contracts, such as paying for 2 or 3 years UP FRONT. To pay monthly, we’re back at about $12 per month. Perhaps if I was looking for long term savings, or if I was starting from scratch, this would be a decent option for me...but...
Remember, my goal here is to immediately cut costs AND to have the ability to add advertising, mostly in the form of widgets, in the 3 column design that I now MUST. HAVE.
What’s a Mommy to do? What. TO. DO?!
I threw up, poured myself a stiff drink and changed my A Name and C Name BACK to point to Squarespace. I then watched the Squarespace V5 tutorial.
I learned that my blog was clunky because it used a legacy V4 template and should be upgraded to a V5. The video tutorial walked me through switching my template. I found a 3 column Squarespace V5 template eerily similar to the one I fell in love with over at WordPress. I uploaded my fabulous new header (designed by Jeff Day Cartoons) and it fit, cool.
The more I played with my new template and 2 new sidebars, I realized that the V5 upgrades were pretty darn cool. I am extremely pleased with the results and hope my readers will be as well. Any advice/thoughts/comments would be greatly appreciated.
SO, the bottom line…the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Sometimes you need to fix the relationship you are in instead of looking for the next best thing to replace it. Oh, and there's nothing truly FREE in this world. With FREE, there is always a catch.
If you’re a Squarespace user and are considering leaving, please think twice. I guarantee that you’ll be happier with the upgrades if you watch the tutorial and upgrade to a V5 template. It’ll all make sense. If you need any help, email me: themommy at mommycosm dot com. I'm an expert now.
If you’re thinking about switching from another blog host to Squarespace after reading this post, I discovered that they have an affiliate program. I won't be shy. I get a kick back if you sign up using my Squarespace Affiliate Link. $12 bucks is nothing to sneeze at, people.
There you have it. I could have just left it as hey, a lady has the right to change her mind OR because I have nothing better to do with my time. However, this is the real reason why I changed my blog from Squarespace to WordPress.com and BACK again within 24 hours.