I feel like I've been put through the wringer trying to figure out what to do about this blog. Now there's yet another variable in the mix, and it kind of forces my hand.
The story thus far:
1. I got my own URL, and decided to redesign the site.
2. I thought I should first upgrade to Blogger Beta before redesigning, so I waited (and waited) for Beta to accommodate non-blogspot addresses.
3. Blogger's upgrade finally accommodated non-blogspot addresses, and at the same time came out of Beta.
4. I upgraded, and learned that non-blogspot addresses don't get any of the cool new features of the upgrade! In addition, I can't update on the fly. I'm still watching the dreaded spinner of death.
5. After some investigation, I decide to bring my blog to WordPress. All the neat features that are new to Blogger have been standard on WordPress all along, plus many others that really fun. Through domain mapping, I can use my own URL. In addition, they have actual support - real people to whom you can address questions and get answers. (Amazing!) All seems well. I open a WordPress account.
6. I then learn that WordPress's importer tool - through which I can bring the entire wmtc blog, including comments, over to WordPress - does not work with the New Blogger. They will upgrade the importer tool "soon". I wait.
7. At the same time, the person who is redesigning the blog is having a lot of trouble, both in his own overextended schedule, and in working with WordPress.
8. I continue to wait on both.
That's where I was as of yesterday morning. Then, the new wrinkle.
9. I have just learned that Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, runs Google Adsense ads on some blogs - without the blogger's knowledge or consent.
This totally threw me. I can't have ads running on my blog. It's out of the question. And if I did want ads on my blog - which I don't - I'd at least make some money off of them. The revenue from these ads goes to Automattic.
There's no way to opt-out or shut them off.
So it looks like all this time I have been waiting for WordPress to fine-tune their importer tool, and all the time the web designer struggled to work with WordPress's platform, we were just spinning our wheels.
I learned about the ads by accident, through a chance comment on a WordPress forum. (A WordPress blogger saw wmtc's ad-free blog owl and said, "You know WordPress runs ads on our blogs without our consent, right?") As disappointed as I was, I am also greatly relieved to have discovered this before I imported my blog there.
At this point, here's what I see as my options:
Option 1: Stay with WordPress and put a disclaimer on the blog that any ads here run without my consent and approval, and I earn no revenue from them.
Drawbacks: The ads are still there on the blog. I'm participating in something I strongly disapprove of.
Option 2: Download and install free software from WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com), and host the blog myself.
Drawbacks: From everything I've heard, this is not so simple to do and manage. It's more appropriate for tech people. There's little or no support. I'd prefer not to invest the time necessary to make it work. (I should note that Matt the Nurse, who uses WordPress.org software, has offered to help if I choose this route.)
Option 3: Go with another blog platform. A WordPress support person gave me a link that lists several.
Drawbacks: I don't know how good or reliable any of these sites are, what kind of features they offer, how their support is, and so on. I don't have the time, patience or inclination to research them.
Option 4: Stay with Blogger.
Here's where it gets interesting. Blogger just announced that they are now hosting custom domain names. This means, theoretically, that I could now use all the new Blogger features and keep my own domain name.
Drawbacks: I guess the drawback would be leaving the friendly, responsive, pleasure-to-deal Laughing Squid, and being hosted by the large, anonymous, impossible-to-get-real-support Google/Blogger. Also, will Blogger's custom domain hosting be reliable?
I'm tired of this whole mess - tired of waiting, tired of all the time I've wasted, and sick to death of my blog design. I want it to be solved already.