Over the course of the roughly 20 months that I have been running this Blog now, it has occured to me that the site has evolved in a completelydifferent direction that I had anticipated it might when I first started it back in June of 2007. I had originally envisioned this as something of a revival of the original Sledgehammer site I made back between 1996-1998 or so, with a primary focus on technology and things like that. That idea went quickly out the window as my Blog became a combination of various local interest stories, random observations on various things I come across in my day-to-day life, and a personal Blog similar to those that many other members of my immediate and extended family run as a way for everyone else to keep up with what they’re up to and to document things for posterity.
As a result of this, what seems to have happened is that this particular Blog often seems to be covering two or three different subjects at once, each of which is of interest to a particular fraction of the readers of the site, but the rest of the readers probably find the stuff mind-numbingly boring. Because of this, and because I would like to give some consideration to possibly turning my Blogging into something more than just a hobby, I have been giving some thought to splitting this Blog into two (or possibly even more) separate Blogs, and also possibly moving off of wordpress.com onto a self-hosted site. In particular, I have been thinking that the various local interest stuff I have been writing here is starting to grow to the point where there is probably enough material that I could justify putting it on its own Blog. Even though there are already a number of local Blogs in the area that do a pretty good job of keeping an eye on things (Kirkland Views, the Downtown Bellevue Network and the Redmond Neighborhood Blog come to mind) I think that I’d like to take something of a different approach with this site. As you probably know if you’ve been reading here long enough, I make a point of keeping politics off this site as much as possible. The above Blogs do a far better job of covering local politics in Redmond and Kirkland than I do (the Downtown Bellevue Blog doesn’t seem to cover much in the way of politics though,) and I’m more than happy to leave the subject to those Blogs and recommend them for the purpose. What I’m envisioning for the theoretical local Blog I’m looking at is something that looks more at the Eastside (or at least the Redmond/Kirkland/Bellevue area) as a whole, and puts an emphasis on history (the Recycled Newspaper feature I’ve been working on for the past few weeks is a reflection of this.) For the most part, everything else (the random stuff, the various holiday-related posts and my personal Blogging) would remain here at the Sledgehammer, as it is right now.
As I mentioned above, I’m also giving thought to moving off of wordpress.com with this site and onto a self-hosted WordPress installation somewhere. Although staying on wordpress.com is cheap (read: free,) I’ve gotten to the point where the limitations of the site are beginning to get in the way (not being able to use any templates besides the ones they provide, and not being able to put ads on your own Blog if you are so inclined.) About the only significant expense involved with running this site right now is the $40 spent on a Photobucket pro membership that is used to host the images for the images on the Blog, but moving to another site would most likely also result in monthly hosting costs, although for a Blog with relatively low traffic I don’t think they’d be all that horrendous. The biggest investment by far in this Blog is in terms of time. With this post there will be 291 posts on this Blog, which represents a time commitment that has to be at least several hundred hours, although I have no way of knowing for sure how much time I’ve spent on this. Although I don’t have any illusions about being able to quit working for a living and just being able to Blog full time (at least not anytime in the immediate future) it might be nice to make at least enough to offset whatever costs I might incur from moving to a self-hosted site, and possibly a few extra bucks on the side here and there. For the time being, I’ve got a local copy of WordPress set up on my machine here at home, and I’ve been messing with it a bit to look at building my own templates for it. So far, all I’ve really figured out is that PHP is definitely not the most user-friendly thing that I’ve ever dealt with, but since I do programming for a living (sort of,) I should be able to figure it out eventually.) The graphic design work involved would probably be the more difficult part of it, and although I have done the stuff before, that doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily any good at it.
Anyway, most of this stuff is still just thinking about things from a “what if” perspective, and I don’t think I’ll be packing up and moving my Blog anytime too soon. I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on this though, and what they would like to see if I did split this Blog into two (or three) separate Blogs.