I’ve been downsizing online ever since I moved to Idaho two years ago. Like many online entrepreneurs, I collected a new domain name every time I had a bright idea I thought might become profitable.
Guess what. That business model doesn’t work well if you’re a solitary person sitting in your home creating websites. Like almost any enterprise, too much expansion can lead to downfall. There’s a danger when projects exceed your ability to complete them. I could get by with this in a boom-economy, but when income is suffering, the domain name renewal expenses became a burden.
Consequently, I decided to let go of at least half of my domain names. I started with 46 and am down to 21, and anticipate letting go of one more next month. Mission accomplished. The domains I kept were mainly the ones I’ve had for a long, long time. I was able to sell one domain, and simply ditched the rest.
I chose not to sell on a domain sales site because of the costs involved in joining. If you have a lot of domains to do away with, you might want to look into the various sites where you can sell your own domains. I counted the costs and decided against it. My goal was to cut costs, not to create new expenses. Your mileage may vary. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions on whether trying to sell domains is a business you want to be part of.
Why Limit Domain Name Ownership?
Here are my reasons for wanting to limit the number of domain names I own:
1. I should not own more domains than I can comfortably manage.
2. Domain name renewal expenses took up too much of my budget.
3. I’m better off consolidating my articles into my other websites, building them up.
4. Too much work translates into too much stress. I can do without that!
5. Who really cares how many domains I own? Only me.
How I Did It
There’s more to domain name ditching than meets the eye. Here are some of the issues I’ve dealt with.
I had to let go emotionally.
This is a biggie. Each of those domain names I purchased was a product of hope. I had a plan for the website, and ideas I wanted to share. Letting go of all these creative impulses was exceptionally difficult, as they were so much a part of me.
Some of the websites involved had a measure of success either with information sharing or monetization. There were issues and projects I cared about. So, how did I let go?
Before I moved to Idaho in 2013 I downsized my possessions. I went through all my things and tossed almost anything that wouldn’t fit into my new plans for life. I gave away books, sold furniture, and tossed hundreds of papers. The more I gave away, the easier it got. I loved the new sense of freedom my downsized lifestyle gave me.
The same holds true for domain names. I mourned over the first few domain names eliminated, but soon I felt the stress falling away. I had fewer worries eating away at me. I felt the freedom of having more time to work on the sites that I loved the most.
Letting go emotionally was the best thing I’ve done. I no longer feel sad about the domains I’m dropping. I don’t even care about what happens to them next, so long as I don’t have the responsibility of developing them.
Moving articles to save them. A couple years ago I couldn’t have told you anything about how to move a blog from one server to another. Now, I’ve learned how easy it is to export articles from one blog and upload them to another. Easy peasy. That said, there are some issues with article-moving to be aware of.
My method is to go to the WordPress dashboard, Tools>Export – where I save a copy of the blog to my hard drive. This is something I do frequently – every time I add an article, or every time I update a site. Keeping a current backup is a necessary part of blogging.
I like the export files because they are easy to import to another WordPress blog installation. I can simply go to another blog – one I want to keep – and click on Tools>Import. The site prompts me to install the plugin for WordPress-to-Wordpress imports. It then prompts me to choose a file from my hard drive – the one I exported from another blog – and … voilà! The deed is done.
I’ve discovered some glitches in the way I use this method.
1. Some photos may not make the transfer. I use FTP (the FireFTP addon for Firefox) and save the entire “uploads” directory to my hard drive. How to find it: public_html>wp-content>uploads. That should contain all the photographs you’ve uploaded to the blog via the “Add Media” button on the New Post page. Later these photos can be found and imported individually if they’re not transferred correctly.
2. Pages may duplicate. For example, if I have a “legal-notices” page on the site I’m closing down, and then upload that to the site I want to keep, I may then have two “legal-notices” pages. Who needs that? I have this problem with “about” pages and “contact” pages too. The solution is to deactivate these pages prior to making the export file you will transfer elsewhere. Deactivate them, or delete them. By “deactivate” I mean – demote published pages to drafts.
3. User profiles. You might want to identify the pages that came from the deprecated blog by attributing them to a different user on the merged blog. In this case, create a new user profile before importing. The import plugin will prompt you to tell them what user name you want the imported postings to belong to.
4. Postings published or not? Sometimes I upload postings to a blog where I don’t want them to appear. This may be because I’m merely storing them there for later re-use, or because they don’t fit exactly with the niche. The easiest way to do this is to convert the postings to drafts before saving the export file. Later I can go through them and create new, improved posts using old content if I want to.
That said, here are the exact steps I take to move blog postings:
A. Convert all posts and pages to drafts.
B. Save export file to hard drive.
C. FTP a copy of the upload file to my hard drive.
D. Create a new user name on the import blog.
E. Upload import file to the blog I will keep.
Now how easy is that? In the big world of website ownership complications, this is very, very easy.
Freedom From Domain Bondage
What is bondage? It is being tied to or tied up by anything that interferes with our enjoyment of life, work, or blogging. If something brings you stress, if it causes anxiety, or if it seems out of control, don’t be afraid to make changes so life will be happier in the future.
It is better to put 1000 articles on one site than 50 on 20 different sites. Build up your sites, and cause them to flourish. Nurture them, and they’re more likely to be profitable and helpful to the end user – your readers.