I’m always one for trying out new and alternative things on WordPress and online.
I enjoy exploring and reporting back on the things I find that I think could help others.
Sometimes though, my best intentions don’t always work out as well as I’d hoped.
Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you try something out on your blog and it all goes horribly wrong?
It’s happened to me a few times now. It’s not always that the products I’ve put through their paces are bad.
There may be a conflict with other plugins or services that’s not always obvious or documented.
Other times, I may like certain aspects of a product but they’re not enough for me to continue with it on my blog. At least not in their current form.
Here are some things I’ve tried out recently that haven’t worked out for me… at least not yet. Maybe they will for you?
I was really excited about Cloudinary when I saw that they offer a free starter service for managing your images in the cloud.
You get up to 500 MB of storage, 50,000 images and 1GB of monthly Bandwidth. That’s a great deal for most people with a small to medium-sized blog.
I reckoned that this was really going to help with image loading times and should cut the amount of resources I was using at my web host.
How wrong was I? I signed up to get the free account, migrated all of my images to the cloud and all was looking great.
I awoke the next morning thinking all was well in the world but then I looked at my emails.
I had an email from HostGator saying that my account had been restricted and I suddenly felt all the blood drain from my face.
Cloudinary was using so much CPU resources that HostGator had unfortunately had to restrict my account to stop it using any more.
If you take a look at the image below, you’ll see what happened after I installed the Cloudinary WordPress plugin.
Oh dear… I did a lot of swearing over the next couple of hours trying to migrate my images away from Cloudinary.
With restrictions on resources it kept failing and was such a laborious process.
I had asked HostGator if they could help by removing the restriction temporarily so I could get things back to normal more quickly.
By the time they responded though, I had already migrated all 183 images back and deleted the Cloudinary plugin.
You can’t imagine my relief when the CPU resource graph immediately started to come down. Within an hour my website was back to normal and the restriction was lifted. Phew!
I’m not entirely sure what happened; maybe there was a plugin conflict but I don’t want to load the plugin again to find out.
I asked Cloudinary if they knew of any known conflicts but they failed to respond.
Have you tried Cloudinary? How are you finding things? Are you aware of any conflicts?
Swarm CDN offer a peer-to-peer content delivery network (CDN) which is different from your traditional CDN.
Rather than content being hosted on servers, Swarm CDN offers a way for your visitors to privately and securely provide content to other visitors on your site.
The other thing about Swarm CDN is that it’s very reasonably priced and they offer a free plan for up to 100GB of data so you can try out the service.
I tried out the service but it didn’t play well with CloudFlare’s RocketLoader option so I had to stop using it.
If you’re looking for a way to cut bandwidth and speed up your site though, take a look at Swarm CDN as they may be able to help.
Have you tried out any Swarm CDN? How are you finding the service? Do you use any other CDNs?
This is another service I was approached to try out on my blog. Imonony helps you add free images to your website related to your content.
You can choose all of any of the features you want from Imonomy:
- Automatic Image Enrichment – adds relevant images to your content;
- Interactive Images – hovering over an image shows related posts;
- Cute Corner – as your readers scroll down the page, a box appears from the bottom right hand corner showing related posts.
Imonomy is free to use but is funded by ads shown under the related posts information on interactive images and cute corners.
I like the idea of this service, although there are a few things that would need to change before I’d embrace it:
- You can’t make any changes to the positioning or design of Cute Corners without Imonomy needing to intervene;
- The ads shown on the related posts information are poor, in my opinion;
- You can’t exclude an image from a particular Post or Page when using Automatic Image Enrichment without Imonomy needing to intervene;
- From my experience, the images provided by Imonomy aren’t always that relevant to the post’s subject.
- If you decided you don’t want to use Imonomy any longer, you’d have to revisit all of your blog posts to find alternative images.
Still, it’s an interesting service and one I’m keeping a watchful eye on.
Unfortunately though, from the start, I had problems with their WordPress plugin. It may have been a conflict with another plugin but I found it added to the load time of my blog substantially.
On checking out the MyBlogGuest website itself, I found the navigation confusing and I struggled to find any guest posts that I would be happy to publish on my site.
I also had a few issues with adding my details to their website, including social media sites which I think were used to decide social proof by scoring each account against criteria unknown to me.
In the end I decided to remove the plugin and delete my account with MyBlogGuest.
Have you used MyBlogGuest for guest posts? How are you finding things?
With some of the services I’ve tried recently I’ve not had favourable results.
That doesn’t mean that they are particularly bad services, just that they weren’t compatible with my blog at this time.
I’d really like to find out if you’ve used any of the services I’ve mentioned and if you have, what your thoughts are on them.
If you’ve experienced any similar issues with any of them, have you managed to sort them out?
Please let me know in the comments section below.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net