With the talk of Elon Musk buying Twitter and the adverse effects, people wonder what the alternative places to talk about anime are? After all, Musk has a history of silencing his critics, and I can see why some are concerned. However, the question remains on who owns the platform and if some egotistical millionaire will come in and ruin the platform to allow hate speech and harassment.
Starting your anime blog may be a worthwhile experience for those looking for an alternative to Twitter. Irina and Jacob have shared their own reasons for creating one. Still, it’s always good to share other perspectives, especially from someone who has done it for 13 years straight.
The Positives of Starting an Anime Blog
Ability to Share Longer Form Content and Own Your Content
I admit I am an early adopter of the Internet from my generation (Gen Y/Millennials). While I started using computers when I was 4 years old, I eventually got on the Internet in the late 90s. In fact, I created my own website using free ad-supported services. I also participated in Pokémon forums and Internet Relay Chat. These are the early forms of social networking that users manage, not by corporations. Of course, creating a good-looking website or blog is a lot easier than in the early days since you need to know HTML.
Compared to social networks, long-form content is more suited for blogs. Yes, things like reviews and opinion pieces. Usually, social networks like Twitter and Facebook limit how much you can post. These platforms focus on sharing and communicating with other people, not on content creation.
However, you don’t fully own the content posted on social networks. It’s because services usually have a clause that allows them to license your content for their uses. Hence, the saying that if you’re not paying for it, you are the product holds true. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter can use your content for advertising or other nefarious purposes.
A significant advantage of starting your blog is that you usually own the content if you host the blog yourself on a web host. That means paying for hosting and installing blogging software like WordPress to completely control your content. Therefore, you don’t have to grant them a royalty-free license to your content as they please.
While WordPress.com and Blogger are turnkey solutions that don’t require setting up software on a web host, there is a considerable downside. This comes with less control, forced advertisements, and limitations (unless you pay). Unless you get a domain, you will get a subdomain address, which looks less professional and negatively affect SEO.
Moreover, if possible, I don’t advise people to use free services as the terms can change. After all, they are free to change the terms at any time or even terminate service. An excellent example is WordPress.com reducing the storage space of free accounts from 3 GB to 500 MB with a 10,000 visitor limit. That way, they can entice people to use the expensive and paid plans. This looks like a shady move, right? As expected, they backtracked after the backlash.
Also, the author of Anime Rants in the Anime Blogosphere recently complained about WordPress.com scamming them. It’s saddening, but people need to realize that free platforms have a lot of limitations.
Paying a little each month for actual hosting can remove the headaches when your blog grows. However, moving to a new platform can hurt SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as you don’t own the free subdomain. Moreover, it’s hard to move your followers to a new platform, especially a blogging platform that is not WordPress. Even on self-hosted WordPress sites, it’s still possible to have your blog on WordPress Reader and use the social features there.
Therefore, I usually advise people to spend a few dollars a month for shared or even a virtual private server with a domain, which typically costs around $8-25 a year. It will give the user more control over their content and the ability to do more with their blog. Also, with your domain name, it’s easier to change hosts without affecting SEO. In fact, hosting has become affordable compared to the late 1990s and early 2000s, which is why this is a better option. I pay $133.40 a year ($11.16 a month) for hosting (with backups) and a domain name.
In addition, this option allows you to monetize your content through ads or a platform like Patreon, which can help you cover the costs. Free plans, especially on WordPress.com, prohibit you from monetizing your blog in most cases without a paid plan. From this, blogging can become an excellent side-hustle opportunity.
Aside from that, unless you don’t want to manage backups and WordPress updates, the WordPress.com plans are usually a poor value. It’s primarily due to the limitations, and WordPress.com can still use your content loyalty free, even if you pay for a plan. If you are doing it in the long run, it’s probably best to get your own domain, buy your own web hosting, and install WordPress on it.
Your Personal Space
Creating a blog is like making your own website. It’s a personal space that you can use to create and share your own content. For example, you can use your blog to make your own podcast or share videos.
Blogging software like WordPress allows you to use any theme to fully customize the look and feel. This is something that you can’t do on social networks. While there are paid themes, they allow for more control over the design without messing with PHP and CSS with support. In addition, some themes feature full-site editing, allowing anyone without PHP and CSS knowledge to customize their own theme.
While I am not the best web designer, I started making my own design for my blog to give it a distinctive look. Throughout the years, I paid for the Genesis Framework and built a blog design that I’m satisfied with. However, I wanted more flexibility and the ability to change the design without messing too much with PHP and CSS. So, I eventually switched to Mai Theme, which allows more customizability with the use of Gutenberg. Also, it allowed me to create a design that fits my blog that works best on desktop and mobile without relying on the WPTouch Pro plugin.
People generally talk about anime using social networks, forums, and Reddit. However, on your own anime blog, you can write whatever comes into mind primarily from your viewpoint in your dedicated space. You can share your own review of the shows you enjoy or share an analysis about a specific theme in an anime. The possibilities are endless!
The Sense of Community
When I started blogging in 2009 during my first year of college, I did it to improve my writing. However, I realized that there is a social aspect to blogging as well. In the early 2010s, the blogosphere was very active, and people commented on other people’s blogs.
As a result, I have become friends with several bloggers, a good number of that are not actively blogging anymore. Even so, I helped fellow bloggers resolve WordPress-related issues through the years.
In a way, blogs are small communities interconnected with others in the blogosphere which focus on a specific topic or interest. Within that, blogs can focus on a particular niche, such as reviewing specific genres of anime or manga.
Believe it or not, in the early 2010s, I left comments or link posts from other anime blogs. As expected, there are social events. Things such as reward posts and community blogging events (e.g., OWLs and the infamous AniBlog Tourney). This gives people the opportunity to promote your blog and potentially meet new bloggers. Sure, the days of that are long over, but it’s nice to see some dedicated readers leave comments on my posts.
Difficult to Network with Others in the Blogosphere
With the shift to social networking, especially in the mid to late 2010s, it became challenging to interact with others through blogging. It’s seen with a decrease in comments received and several bloggers retiring over the years. Nowadays, people tend to focus more on anime reviewers on YouTube and TikTok since these receive more attention.
While I am an introvert, and it’s hard for me to seek out and meet new people, it can become frustrating to see a lack of comments and interaction on my blog. I use it to socialize with others besides Twitter since most anime forums I frequent in the past saw a drop in activity. I bet some people in the blogosphere feel the same.
In fact, networking with others can be difficult for new bloggers. Getting your name out there when you just started without connecting with others is hard. However, if one has a sizable social media following, he or she might have an easier time.
The Time Commitment
While it costs money to run a blog properly, there is a time commitment. While it takes more time to produce a video about anime, it still requires the same commitment to creating a blog post. For me, writing and editing a post typically takes an hour. I can reduce editing time thanks to a writing editing tool like Grammarly. I know that there are other editing tools out there. I’m curious what other people use for editing their writing.
Moreover, one needs to publish regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day, but at least a few times a month. Otherwise, it can become challenging to regain the reader’s attention. As expected, it’s evident that people have things to do in their lives. However, going on hiatus makes it less likely he or she will return. From what I saw in the past, most blogs that go on hiatus never come back.
I’m Interested, Sign Me Up
If you are interested in anime blogging, I suggest checking out Crow’s series that goes over the basics of hosting your own WordPress blog securely. Overall, it’s not too tricky to set up your own blog without dealing with the limitations of free WordPress.com or Blogger. If you are serious about blogging, it’s best to get your own domain name and hosting and install WordPress on it, as this will improve your SEO, which helps get your content out there. Trust me, it removes the headaches of dealing with limitations and possible downtime.
If you feel adventurous, you can always set up your own virtual private server and install WordPress on it.
With that, do you agree with my reasons for creating your own anime blog? What are your own reasons why you blog about anime instead of doing videos? Also, feel free to share your experiences as well in the comments.