Re-thinking, evaluating, re-structuring

Evaluating my ways of working is part of being self-employed, so it is something that I like to do on a regular basis.  I make a lot of notes, and have a lot of thoughts, and eventually put some plans into action.

I started reducing – or should I say concentrating – my websites and domains a year ago.  Over the years some of those ideas that I had, actually made it into reserved domain names.  But then, for whatever reason, the project did not get off the ground.  A few years ago I consolidated these domains into a single package, and last year every one of them got re-evaluated.  The first step: cost reduction.  Each of these domains was costing me a small mount of money each year, so if they were not doing anything, and not even earning me some advertising revenue from being parked somewhere, then I really did need to decide whether the project would ever happen.

I cancelled around 70% of those domains during the course of 2018, so that they did not renew automatically.

At the end of 2018 I then started looking at the statistics and earnings of some of the websites that I no longer write for.  Again, was there a reason to keep them?

In some cases, yes.  I had written articles that I didn’t want to lose, they were still getting visitors, and in some cases I was using technical elements on the site to demonstrate particular functions.  Some had e-mail accounts that are active, so this task is going to be a bit more complicated than just some unused domains.

Hat with press card - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / stocksnapperOn the other hand, these websites need looking after regularly, even if I am not writing new articles for them.  Software updates need installing, security options need adjusting, backups need checking.  It all takes time.  So the answer is to find the right balance of keeping e-mail addresses running, not losing my articles, but reducing the amount of maintenance that I have to do.

For some of those sites I have found a solution, and they well be the reason that you are reading this article now.  I have transferred the articles into the AllThingsGerman.net archive and re-directed the domain to this blog, pruning the sites at the same time to remove any articles that are no longer valid or link to redundant sites.  That way, the articles remain online, and in many cases retain their URLs through the re-direct.  E-Mail-Adresses remain valid.  But the websites themselves can be taken off-line and the maintenance load reduced.

The articles may not be entirely what this site started out as, or has even become.  But in a lot of them, I referred to something in Germany, sometimes just as a comparison.  Anyway, I will continue the process of consolidating websites until only those that I actively want to look after remain online.

Which… hopefully will mean that time I save on maintenance, will be time I can spend writing articles here, maybe even on a broader scope because I won’t be thinking the article doesn’t belong here, but maybe in a different project.

Watch this space.

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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