One of the main worries of moving from a hosted blogging service to a self hosted solution is the loss of traffic. Jane Wells announced a new option for WordPress.com bloggers today which ensures that people who are moving away from the WordPress.com hosted service do not suffer any traffic drops.
Offsite Redirect uses a 301 redirect to tell search engines where your new blog is located so that traffic is not lost. For example, by telling search engine spiders that all articles from yourblog.wordpress.com have moved to yourblog.com.
This is a simple addition to the WordPress.com service however it’s something which thousands of bloggers will be grateful of at one point in the future (i.e. when they upgrade to a self-hosted solution). However, I must admit I’m disappointed with WordPress charging users for a simple 301 redirect.
I appreciate that WordPress.com makes money from selling additional features and upgrades to bloggers like no ads, custom CSS and space upgrades. I wouldn’t have any problem with paying for services which bring me more functionality like more space and no ads though $12 a year for a simple 301 redirect seems a bit expensive to me.
The only alternative is to use a domain mapping redirect trick, but you would be silly to do this as mapping costs $12 a year too!! I guess that’s the price you pay for using a free service in the first place :)
Admittedly, if you have had a WordPress.com blog for a few years and are looking to upgrade and host yourself then $12 will prove to be a bargain as you won’t lose any traffic you have built up.
More information about this new feature can be found at the links below.