I first started my blog back in 1995. Back then the word "blog" was unknown. It was just like a diary of events. Later I used it to share notes and past year questions with my students. It was hosted on Geocities which was free.
Geocities is now gone but someone took the trouble to back up the entire contents and put it in Oocities.com. My website is still there! Not giving the URL because it's too embarassing to show in public.
Today, blogging is getting old. It's not hip as it once was anymore. Local chess blogs have all but gone inactive.
So is blogging dead?
Definitely not. It is not as "trendy" as in the past but it is NOT dead. It certainly is not often used as a online "personal diary" as it's originally started with. Blogging now encompasses video blogs, podcasts, magazines, portal of information etc. Blogs have just transitioned to different mediums of information.
One incentive that keeps me blogging is money. You can get ad revenue from Google, Nuffnang and a host of other ad companies. Talking to many local bloggers it is sad to see few are making any money out of blogging. At it's peak, online revenue sometimes equalled my monthly salary. Sadly, that was then. Nowadays I hardly get enough to support paying for my website. It is very little, but still just enough to prevent me from quitting chess blogging altogether.
This is what I've learnt:-
Free vs Paid
Setting up a blog for free is easy on blogger as evidenced by the 30+ local chess blogs we have here in Malaysia. You can also pay for it by renting a webhost from companies like GoDaddy. The cost for the website can be from RM 200-300 annually. However, with the currency hike, this cost as gone up to at least RM 350+ for the cheapest budget website. This has made it unattractive and we see websites like Stonemaster.info closing down and relying just on blogspot websites.
So it seems better to just create free blogs instead of paying for it. However, I find that in terms of profit, I get only 5-10% revenue from blogspot. The rest come from my paid websites like catur.org, datmo.net, gilachess.net etc. That is my incentive to keep my paid websites. They make money.
Why paid websites earn higher? I really don't know!
Anyway, it all depends on your reason for blogging. If it is just for fun and you want to share, then a free blogspot or weebly website is good. If you seriously want to earn some money from it, better to invest in a paid website. (ask me in person and I recommend you some good low budget webhost)
As you can see, my most active blog is this one and it's on blogspot. Not everything is about money :)
I use my blogs like scrap books. I find interesting things and I paste it there as my personal collection. However, I've lost a big chunk of this "collection" when I let a lot of this websites expire and didn't have a backup. A lot of online treasures and interesting info (to me at least) was lost.
I should have maintained my old websites like GilaChess.com and MariBelajar.com but move away earlier from the awful local webhosting company Exabyte (based in Penang) which absolutely wrecked my chess websites.
The loss of those website was a heavy loss on my online revenue too as well as historical values of past tournament news and results from many years.
So, my aim now is to raise enough money to sustain my chess websites in blocks of few years instead living precariously with year by year renewal.
When I had GilaChess.com and Maribelajar.com the cost of yearly renewal was RM 1,100. That was Exabytes which was very expensive and totally not worth that amount. Today I pay for cheaper budget webhosting (but so much more reliable) from US for just a fraction of the cost yearly (about RM 350 per site).
I hope to raise the money through Google Adsense (more quality blog posts!) and selling those TWIC CDs. Would love to make it to renew block of 3 years (or even 5!) instead of just 1 year which is risky.