I have been on WordPress for almost a decade. It is, in my humble opinion, the best blogging platform ever. I’ve played around with a few others before, and from what I saw, none have the same professional look, ease of use, and community. I’m very glad my blog is here.
But lately, WordPress has been rubbing me the wrong way, and it’s like finding out your favourite celebrity is a jerk: maybe my favourite blogging platform is just like every other money-hungry company.
Three years ago, I wrote this post explaining why blogging for free is more than just okay. Spurred on by the number of people I saw sharing self-hosted journey posts, I wanted to be a voice for the rest of us who use a free domain and a free theme and just do it for fun. And I still stand by this belief, but I also said that WordPress doesn’t try to extort money. Lately, I feel like they’ve been doing a lot to nudge people into putting in those credit card digits, and I’m kind of really upset about it.
In the last month, I’ve gotten seven emails from WordPress, offering a 20% off deal to upgrade my plan. Four were four days in a row. And 20% is hardly a deal when they offer it all the time. Easter sales, summer sale, New Years sales… I like knowing if there are sales and whatnot, but six in one month is annoying.
Furthermore, I’ve found that the number of ads on my blog has jumped up. (For those unaware, purchasing a plan removes all ads). There used to be like maybe one at the bottom of a post and maybe another in the sidebar. Now my blog is crawling with ads, and really crappy spammy ones too. It’s the worst if you read on mobile. I mean, LOOK AT THIS.
From email to in the post, none of the images here (aside from my beans) are images I placed or want.
I don’t know if it’s better if you’re logged in because I do all my blog reading from the Reader, but either way, it’s annoying and I don’t want my readers to be annoyed when perusing my blog.
The fact that WordPress has paid plans they want to sign people up for isn’t the problem—I think it’s good that they have several plans and can cater to serious users who are willing to pay—it’s the fact that they’re making it so free plans aren’t a decent option anymore. Let us live with our lesser options and our WordPress branding. We agreed to that. It’s what every other company/service with free options does. We shouldn’t be harassed and made to feel like our free blogs, which are just as valid as paid blogs, aren’t good enough or meaningful enough, or have to look trashy.
And I’m going to be honest with you guys: the harassment is working a little on me. I mean, sure, I’ve been thinking about buying a domain for years now and can list out pros and cons until the cows come home, but it’s the ads thing that really bothers me. I can ignore the constant sale emails and I can ignore the many other bloggers making the switch, but when there are the ugliest ads I’ve ever seen on my blog interfering with my writing, that’s where I get mad.
I am impervious to marketing tactics and sales for literally everything else, but my blog is one of the most important things to me, and I am just so mad at myself for somewhat falling for this and for WordPress for doing this to us free users. That being said, I know it’s okay to feel ‘weak’ so I’m not beating myself up that much.
Is anyone else feeling this push from WordPress? Or have I fallen into a drip campaign or something? Alternatively, if you’ve bought a domain/paid plan from WordPress, did you do it because of these tactics?