State of the Blog: Summer 09

Dear friends,

Do not be alarmed. I know some prominent bloggers in the community have decided to call it a blogging career due to time and family concerns. I’m not quite done yet. There’s still a lot of bosses to kill and players to heal. I have always made time for writing, so that’s not the case.

No, the only reason I’d close these doors is if I run out of the financial resources necessary to maintain them.

A lesson for new bloggers out there: Success always comes at a cost. This particular cost happens to run into the 4 digit range. I’m just a university student. I don’t have a full time job. I’ve relied upon freelance writing to help offset the costs. That’s not enough anymore.

So now what?

World of Matticus is going to undergo some slight restructuring to maximize advertising. Plus Heal for the time being will remain ad free as long as possible. I’m not going to say no to advertising but I will have a strong hand in what is and isn’t displayed if I choose to go that route. I’ve stayed away from Google Ad Sense due to the plethora of gold selling and RMT ads that are shown and the short term benefit (money) does not outweigh the long term cost (you guys leaving and/or being pissed). Wouldn’t be surprised if I was called an idiot for walking away from such rather lucrative offers, heh.

For the time being, the blog’s going to undergo some shifting of content and real estate while I figure some things out. Incidentally enough, this means that header at the top is going to get changed up a bit.

The Store

I just opened up a store on Amazon recently. So if you’re an Amazon junkie who’s into action figures or Warcraft novels, check it out. If you also plan on picking up Warcraft III, or some gaming accessories (I recommend Sennheiser for headsets), I do manage to get a small cut. I also list several books on a wide variety of topics from business to writing to blogging that I’ve personally picked up (and recommend) if you’re looking for some reading material. It’s still a work in progress.

World of Matticus… premium?

Had a humorous suggestion from a fellow WoW Twitterati:

“You should launch premium content on World of Matticus. Include healing strats an idea for phase 1 and 2, and phase 3 and 4 be premium only. Or leave out certain key words from phrases (Example, remember to … stand in the fire!)”

While the idea is rather entertaining, that’s not the route I’d consider right now. Perhaps down the road I might toss up a subscription service for videos of dancing Dwarves on the Stormwind fountain. Not sure how well that would work out.

Blizzcon

No guarantees. But… I will try to attend this year. I’m also going to try to apply for this. What holds me back, you ask? Same thing that holds me back from everything else. Fear of failure. Now if I can just figure out who I can get in touch with specifically…

Donations

An overwhelming number of people on Twitter, IM, Plusheal and via EMails have asked me about this. I did run a donate page last year, it didn’t work out so I pulled it in favour of other features. I’m not going to ask for donations. I don’t know. I just don’t like asking for help until I really, desperately need it. I don’t think I’m at that point yet. The way I see it, if someone does a favor for me or gives me something, I’m indebted to them. As a result of that, this leaves me in a perilous position of somehow returning the favor.

This is why I’ve had so much difficulty shopping for birthday presents (especially for women).

So if donating is something you’re volunteering to do, head over to Plus Heal. Scroll down to the footer and use that link. I cannot and will not ask for it. The option is there if you choose.

If you want more details on the situation, I popped a thread open on Plus Heal about with more information (especially for the folks curious as to the actual numbers of cost and site demographics).

This is just another challenge. Just another encounter in the World of Blogcraft. Gotta figure out the right strategy and execution.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Apoptygmaa says:

    “The way I see it, if someone does a favor for me or gives me something, I’m indebted to them.”

    Turn that back around… I’ve been reading here… for free… for quite some time now. Haven’t paid so much as a thin dime for all the information provided herein. Indeed, my abilities as a healer have in large part been developed by the experiences of those who have gone before me, sharing them online for me to study and read. Does not that make me, as just one reader amongst many, indebted to a certain extent?

    You might instead choose to look at this from the NPR model. NPR is on the radio, perfectly free for anyone to listen to without in any way being obligated to contribute. That said, if folks *didn’t* have the opportunity (and for many, the inclination) to contribute, there wouldn’t be that service anymore. I *certainly* wouldn’t see your acceptance of donations as a ‘favour’ being granted to you.

    Physician, heal thyself…

    Apoptygmaas last blog post..Almost at its end.

  2. Karthis says:

    “A lesson for new bloggers out there: Success always comes at a cost. This particular cost happens to run into the 4 digit range.”

    Uhm…. I’ve been blogging in various forms for 6 years now, and have not incurred this sort of expense even when I was paying for my own web space and had MANY more readers than my WoW blog has. (I had to stop the other blog as it became too much like a job – but it cost me only ~$200 a year).

    I’d be curious to see a breakdown of the costs it takes to run WoM.

    As you know, my site is currently on Blogger…. a blessing and a curse…… the blessing being “Free”, the curse being “lack of freedom”.

    Karthiss last blog post..Bear threat rotations

    • Karthis: There’s a link in the post to the Plus Heal thread. I’ve included monthly numbers there. While you may had had more readers, I’m combining the expenses of blog and forum into one. Both are fairly substantial in their own ways.

  3. This may seem an odd suggestion and you probably have already done this but you may want to speak with some of the other community supported site admins out there and find out how they work through those issues. I know for example that Tankspot has a premium and a regular level content. However all premium really gives you is a colored name, a special donor forum and no adds. And the knowledge that you are supporting one of the sites that you enjoy.

  4. Get me my Blizzcon tickets!

    and one for McGee and Taylor too

  5. I am sorry to hear that you are having issues and wish you the best of luck – may your blog live on! If you need any assistance on a non-monetary level you are welcome to send me an email and I would be happy to help out.

    Additionally it would be very simple to break the 4 digit barrier as they are running the WordPress engine on a server for the freedom aspect, which means significantly higher costs in the form of hosting, power, bandwidth, server management, etc. Even WordPress.com VIP members pay to the tune of $500-600 PER MONTH for that service, so 4 digits does not shock me in the slightest.

    Ridges last blog post..Non-constructive Blog Posts

  6. Assuming you’re not counting hours as cost, your only expenses should be bandwidth, domain, and server space. If you don’t like these, just transfer your blog to blogger- they’ll do all that stuff for free (for some reason), and they’ll let you run javascript to boot (unlike failpress). In fact, I think blogger would even allow you to keep your domain and just redirect to their structure.

    I’m always at a loss as to why people insist on doing everything themselves. If you decide to relocate, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

    • Euripides: I insist on doing everything myself because I enjoy the flexibility and features it affords me. There are somethings I would not be able to do on blogger or WordPress.com. I wouldn’t be able to use certain themes or run certain features. There are no plans right now on relocating. It’s something I’ll check out later on in the future when I have time to do some “shopping”.

  7. cringer says:

    Wow. The Big Bear Butt just announced yesterday that hes taking a break from blogging too. Seems like WoW is really starting to lose its appeal. Phaelias gone, BRK is gone, BBB is /afk (can’t imagine him staying much longer) and now the Matticus.

    I’m bored with raiding anyway and PVP is meh. I think I’m going to put in my 2 week notice now. Plus it is summer time and less WoW means more time for golf and pool parties. Woo Hoo! Real Life – Here I Come!

  8. Karthis says:

    @Matticus:
    Ouch. I’m going to guess that the forum aspect is what drives a lot of the cost – it probably has people clicking around a lot more, consumes more CPU, and consumes more bandwidth.

    (Although from Ridge’s estimation of WordPress costs, it’s a very expensive platform in its own right. I ran Movable Text back in the day, which was free so long as you had your own web space, and didn’t realize WP cost so much more).

    Karthiss last blog post..Bear threat rotations

  9. Who’s your hosting provider? Have you considered Media Temple?

  10. I’m actually surprised with that amount of traffic that you aren’t incurring more than $1200 per year in bandwidth alone – I work in a data center as a systems administrator and bandwidth is probably the most ludicrously high costing item we have (there are customers that pay to the tune of $24,000 a month for bandwidth alone – of course they push a constant 700Mbps all day and night). Also the link below is to WordPress’ VIP service section where it gives you the $500/month and $600 setup fees.

    http://en.wordpress.com/vip-hosting/

    Ridges last blog post..Ulduar “Fun” Tonight

  11. @Ridge: 500 a month. Oi.

  12. Switch hosting provider! Those numbers are ridiculous!
    I have 6 websites (all including forums, blogs and other fun stuff). Some of them gather more traffic than other and I pay only 120$ a year (They give me 0$ domain renews frequently). Unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage.

    I can not recommed dreamhost.com enough!

    • Frey, Veneretio: Oddly enough, I _am_ using Dreamhost. I’m using their Virtual Private Server. In the past, you may have seen Error 500 or Website not Available errors. This was because I was using more server resources than I was allowed to. Media Temple is something I’m going to look at in the future as you’re not the only one that suggested it to me.

  13. Makes me glad (for the moment) that I’m just a blogspot blogger. Maybe if I grow up to the size WoM is I’ll have to change, but right now I’m pretty sure most of my traffic comes from…

    well, me.

    Adgamorixs last blog post..Briefing in 3 minutes or less

  14. “The way I see it, if someone does a favor for me or gives me something, I’m indebted to them. As a result of that, this leaves me in a perilous position of somehow returning the favor.”

    Oh, Matt – haven’t you considered the fact that you ARE giving back? And have been for a long, long time. 🙂

    T-Sonns last blog post..Preaching to the Choir – why seasonal PvP achievements were a VERY bad idea

  15. Surpass hosting is pretty cheap if you are looking for an alternative. Their customer service is very good and if you can catch one of their promotion deals you can save a bit of money (at least for a year). I used their share plan for two years on a non-wow related site and I never had any problems. Not sure how great their vps is though.

    http://www.surpasshosting.com/

    Anyway, best of luck to you and WoM. Bandwidth cost is seriously business.

    Xels last blog post..What Do You Remember About Being A Newbie?

  16. @Mat

    I am confused you have to pay for traffic. Living in Germany i am used to unlimited traffic offers. Currently i use a 50$/month root server (no vserver) with no traffic limitation and guaranteed 100mbit. With root access you have all the flexibility you want?! You can even chose the os if you are not familiar with the unix/linux world.

    Maybe look at hosting offers across the ocean? 😀

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