This is the first non-repost I’ve made in a week. Things have settled down for the time being, and despite the certain missing features, I’m going to stay at WordPress.com for the time being. There are many things WordPress.com offers, not the least of which is an SSL connection, which I would have had to pay extra for on Dreamhost. All image files are uploaded to your own CDN address as well, which is pretty awesome; it’s a feature I’d love to see made available to self-hosted WordPress.org blogs, probably via Jetpack.
The feature I miss second-most (footnotes) I’ve overcome with a Ruby script that, in some ways, worked better than the various plugins. This method guarantees that with my next blog move, I’ll be able to keep the formatting constant (as well as keep the load light on my respective provider). The feature I miss first-most (a shortcode to list all posts for a certain category with a certain tag) I’ll just get on by with. It’ll require manual editing of various pages and keeping them up to date on a regular basis, but again, on my next move nothing will change. They were among the primary reasons I needed caching plugins on a non-WordPress.com platform, after all.
I also miss the ability to create a child theme of TwentyEleven that showed a sidebar with single posts. Otherwise, TwentyEleven is almost perfect as a theme, but I may need to resort to a TwentyEleven-styled Sandbox to get that capability. I quite like the front page of TwentyEleven as well, which is based on a page template which I won’t have access to if I move to Sandbox, but it may have limited value in the first place. And there is something about keeping a single post clean of sidebar clutter that feels attractive in a design sense. I’d have to pay extra for being able to alter a theme’s CSS anyways, which would wipe out the savings in not having to get my own SSL setup.
But one of the things I’ve learned from Magic the Gathering is that the more mana you spend on one area (tinkering with the blog), the less you get to spend in other areas (work, writing fiction as well as blog content, life in general).
I think I’m going to spend my mana on getting some landing pages for my better blog areas (PTSD/Bipolar needs its page updated, and landing pages need to be created for Sherlock Holmes and Writing. Even Tea may call for its own page). They’ll then go into the menu bar, which is displayed for every page and post. I’ve already created an Areas menu item with all major and minor areas in a sub-menu. This, I feel, will actually work better than sidebars in the end.