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The house always wins

Posted Oct 03 2012 2:24pm

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of a home — both your actual home and “home” as an online space. To me, a house is so much more than a physical space. I think back to college when a “house” referred not just to the place where a sorority lived, but the entire chapter — the girls who made it up and everything that made the group what it was. A home is part of who you are. And I’m fascinated by the way that we refer to so many things about blogs and websites in house terms — home page, web address – and that makes total sense to me. My blog has always felt like my home. I own it. I set the rules. It’s part of who I am. I want people to feel welcome, like they can come in and stay a while, and I want to feel safe and protected here.

I think most of you know that I’ve struggled over the past year or so with the fact that my blog is in serious need of some renovations. I’ve been resisting making the big change that needed to happen — moving — for the same reasons I was afraid to buy a house with Eric actually. Because moving is weird. And scary. It feels so permanent. So rather than move my blog, I tried to get away with just redecorating. And that helped…kind of.

Part of this has to do with a fact I’ve been avoiding discussing here because I didn’t want to think about it: the fact that I need to change my URL. When I decided to make my name my URL two years ago, I said to myself, “This will last me a while, or at least until I get married!” (Because, yes, I have always planned to change my name when I get married, but that’s another topic for another day.) I had no idea that I had just met the guy I was going to marry or that I’d be moving across the country for him in another month. Marriage seemed ridiculously far off, so it was easy to figure I’d deal with it later. But “later” has become now, for one reason in particular that is kind of out of my control.

To those of you who aren’t familiar with SEO (search engine optimization, aka “being easy to find via Google”), a brief overview: a website or blog is ranked by Google’s algorithms based on a lot of factors. One thing that helps is when other websites link to you, especially websites that are higher ranked than you are. I’ve put a lot of effort into getting my blog to rank high so if people search for, say, “how to decide to move across the country for love,” I’ll be at the top of the Google search results. Earlier this year, I realized that when I changed my URL, I’d lose the ranking I’d worked so hard for. And if I didn’t change my URL until I got married — which was another two years away at the time — that was even more time I’d waste making this blog rank high, time I wanted to spend making my new URL climb higher in Google’s ranks. In the meantime, I’d be working to promote a blog and a URL that was ultimately going to change. It seemed pointless to do that.

I didn’t want to change my name legally but keep my name/URL for professional reasons, as a lot of my friends suggested, because I don’t want to keep my name period. So I started looking at new homes for myself: new blog ideas, themes, and URLs. Sometimes, as much as you love a place, the reality is, you have to let go and move on. I didn’t think twice about ending The Spartanette blog when I left college. And when I felt like I had taken Shedding It as far as I could, I packed up and moved again. I felt really settled here, so I delayed in making this move for as long as I could, but the more I waited, the more my writing suffered. This year, my blog went from a nice little home to a house that was not a good fit for the new additions in my life, a house undergoing renovations (which is a house that no one wants to hang out in) — renovations that ultimately didn’t have the effect I had hoped they would.

What’s different about this move is that I’m not packing up my old stuff and taking it with me like I did when I ended Shedding It. I’m starting fresh. In the next couple months, I’ll turn RachelWilkerson.com from an active blog into archives and a portfolio. Meanwhile, starting now, I’ll only be blogging at my new address, TheHouseAlwaysWinsBlog.com .

This new blog isn’t about my house, exactly, because, as I said earlier, a house is so much more than that. It’s our physical address, yes, but it’s also our jobs, families, friends, and online communities. It is our place. And, to me, it’s a sign of the adulthood that I am both excited for and afraid of. I feel overwhelmed by it as much as I feel empowered by it. This blog will be where I share my experiences as I come to terms with the fact that a house — and life — is unpredictable as fuck.

In all honesty, it will probably feel like the best parts of this blog and a lot like Shedding It, just with a slightly different angle — I’ll be going back to doing more pictures, food, videos, reviews, and a balance of mindcasting and lifecasting.

So…it’s moving day! Right now, everything is still in boxes and I don’t have much up on the walls, but the design will come soon. Until then, I’d love it if you dropped by (with or without a casserole) and helped me make the new house feel like a new home.


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