In a departure from the normal posts on cloth diapers, my house, or my kids I’m going to put out a problem I’ve been struggling with here on the blog. I would TRULY appreciate honest feedback and because you are the people I make this website for your voice matters most.
My blog- Dirty Diaper Laundry- is thriving. It’s doing better than ever, traffic continues to increase even though Facebook has done their best to hide my updates from all of you who like my page. Who needs ‘em? Since starting this website in 2009 I’ve been updating it regularly. In fact, I’ve started and ended many other projects since 2009 but I’ve never neglected the blog- it is my home and my passion.
In 2010 I started another passion project- something no one had ever attempted before! Cloth Diaper Finder, a searchable cloth diaper database, was born in 2011 after nearly a year of designing, spreadsheeting, and working with a developer to make my vision come to life! I had incredibly high hopes for this database- it solved the problem I saw most in our community! How many times did I witness people wondering what diaper to pick? “If only I could find a diaper that was a One Size, with natural fibers, made in the USA, that also didn’t require unstuffing.” MY DATABASE LETS YOU FIND OUT IF THIS EXISTS AND THEN TELLS YOU THE BRAND AND WHERE TO FIND IT!
I LOVE the Cloth Diaper Finder. And I HATE it. I made a big mistake when I created this beast- I had the developer link it up to my blog through WordPress. I wish I had known better… Since 2011 I have been battling this database- each update I make to my blog breaks it. I have to call my developer and he charges me a boatload to fix it (and according to him this cannot be avoided… hmph) . I can’t ever change my blog’s design unless I pay someone 5x as much to also change the database and make sure the new blog design doesn’t kill the Finder. My entire website has started to look dated and I just can’t afford the fee quoted to me to fix the entire mess I created. I do earn an income from this blog- I won’t pretend I don’t- but because the cost to redesign is so high (a huge chunk of my entire year’s income) it isn’t worth it for me at this time.
Traffic for the database is good…. not as good as I thought when I designed it, but it is still one of the top sources of traffic on the blog. That makes me happy. I want people to use this tool because it is amazing! I use it! When I can’t remember a diaper name I look it up by what I remember and BOOM, it appears. But then I think of the heartache it causes me, the stress, the inability to fix the blog that DOES bring money to our household. My load time on the blog is slow and I can’t fix it because of the database. I can’t touch the blog without breaking the database. My website is in a constant state of “oh shit” with the database linked to it- one minor change and the entire thing could potentially just implode. If I were better at coding I’d definitely fix it myself but alas, my code knowledge is only good enough to change colors or add images! Perhaps this is all coming to a crisis point because I can’t update my blog right now and I feel it is vulnerable to attacks- in fact, one already happened but my husband and I were able to fix it.
Here is where I finally ask YOU for advice. What do I do about this hole I’ve dug? What if I were to remove it from the blog and have it stand alone? Would you still use it even if the look isn’t updated or there were no new features added?
If I were to actually pay someone to move it and change it, what features would you like to see added? What about it currently do you not like?
And finally… this one is a BIG IF but I’m curious- how would you feel about an attempt to crowdsource funding for the move and updating of the database only? I myself am not sure how I feel about the concept in general, but because the database costs me more than it earns (true story, I use all the ad revenue and listing fees it brings and take more from the blog to keep it running) using revenue from DDL isn’t feasible to fund the changes at this time. The Finder is a great resource for those who use it but it is sucking me dry and causing me more stress than it is worth. If the community at large finds it helpful enough that they themselves would like to help me make it run better then I wouldn’t rule it out. If not- that is OK too.
I’m really looking for some direction. I KNOW this thing is amazing but for some reason the word hasn’t spread enough to make it profitable. Or even break even. Some days I want to just press a big DELETE button and be done with it but the brands who HAVE supported it, the advertisers who DO run ads, the people who DO use it on a regular basis- those people matter more to me than my own blog’s demise.
Please leave a comment with your opinion. I’m listening.