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This Is Partially Because I Still Have Student Loans

Look—I know there aren’t too many people who read this.

I also know that those of you who might be reading either have your own blogs or know people who do, and I also know that most of you are likely using shared blog hosting with either Blogger or WordPress.com (if you are still using LiveJournal, shame on you).

I have been using WordPress for years now, long enough that I’ve seen it begin as a rather humble but impressive project, and grow into something really special. I think the 2.7 release that is coming later this month is a huge leap forward in user interface from the blogger’s perspective—and I think more people should be using it and experiencing the amazing support and extensibility of WordPress for themselves.

The facts above—and a few other things—combined in my head the other day, and so I’d like to make an offer to any other blogger who is reading this post: I would like you to contract me to host your blog and help you with setup and maintenance.

See, despite big increases in the ease of getting going with blogging, in too many cases, it’s still too difficult to get started, to understand how things work, or to manage upgrades to your blog. This is part of the reason that shared blog hosts are so popular – they get things started quickly, they don’t present you with the challenge of keeping things up-to-date, and you usually don’t have to worry about much.

The problem is that shared blog hosts often don’t have the extensibility of self-hosted blogging. There’s a lot more you and I can do with self-hosted WordPress than you can do on Blogspot or even on WordPress.com. There’s tons of plugins and other extensions that can be used to improve the usefulness of your blogging platform and provide services to your readers. I have extensive experience in working with self-hosted WordPress and I think you can take advantage of that fact to offer your readers a richer experience.

So here’s what I’m offering as a service—I will:

  • Install WordPress to a host and prepare it for you.
  • Install any theme from the “official” WordPress theme repository (or from a selection I can provide).
  • Install and help you to configure any plugin from the WordPress plugin repository. There’s lots of these, and they do many and varied things. This includes things like analytics to measure your site stats, content parsers (like RefTagger), and various other things like polls and comment-handling systems.
  • Make sure that your plugins and your WordPress installation are kept up-to-date and help you with any compatibility or other problems that may arise.
  • Offer you some support and knowledge in learning how to use WordPress if you’re new to it.
  • Anything else I can think of to make your blogging easier.

Essentially, I’ll take care of the hosting and all the hidden stuff “behind the scenes,” as it were, and all you should have to worry about is blogging and figuring out where in your theme you want your widgets and things to go. I’ll have awesome suggestions for you and will help you find the right add-ons for what you want to do.

So here’s what I’m asking in return:

  • A $20 setup fee to get things started.
  • $5/month if you have your own domain name (.com, .net, .org, etc.). I will give you the appopriate information to ensure your domain is pointed in the right direction and then make sure it’s set correctly on this end.
  • $7/month if you would like me to handle the domain registration for you.
  • I will help you move any old content at your current blog over to the new one.
  • A slightly higher, negotiable fee per month if you would like to do something more intensive, like podcasting. I can offer good expertise in doing such a thing and finding appropriate hosting/bandwidth for the audio files themselves. (This will also increase your setup fee.)
  • Custom theme development will be available on a limited basis and for a competitive fee (payable on theme delivery) to be determined if anyone actually asks me to do so (probably $100+).

As a side note, WordPress can actually make for some pretty impressive—yet simple—church web sites that you will be able to update yourself with a little coaching. Ask me about that if you’re interested.

If you want to know more, all I ask is that you email me at ryan@themarkelfamily.com and let me know. I will make sure I get back to you if you have any questions or want to know more about this idea.

There are two prerequisites that have to be covered first:

  • I won’t start the hosting until after the release of WordPress 2.7. Seriously; it’s that awesome.
  • I can’t start the hosting until I have a handful of people (read: more than one) who are interested in the service. It takes a certain number of people in the queue before I can afford the appropriate hosting and get people started.

Oh, and please note that this offer is made as a personal offer of assistance and basically “contract work.” This is in no way related to my day job, and I can’t respond to support requests during hours I’m normally at work. I want to make that clear.

I’m very interested in providing this service for people who might be looking to jump ship from one of the shared hosts available and move to something self-hosted and more powerful. I hope you will take me up on the offer. If you don’t want it, then please mention something on your own blog or to people you know regarding this offer to see if they are in turn interested (especially you Lutheran bloggers).

Once again, just email me at ryan@themarkelfamily.com if you want to know more.