Should I Shut Down LawSites and Start Anew?

Could it be that Venkat Balasubramani can read my mind? In response to something I tweeted today, he quite lucidly set out the debate I’ve been having with myself. Turns out he’s been having the same debate with himself.

The question for both of us is: Does it make sense to make a clean break from one blog and start anew with another? For both Venkat and me, the question is complicated by the fact that our blogs have achieved some degree of recognition and regular readerships. My blog has even won some awards, including twice being named one of the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100.

My reasons for shutting this down would be very similar to Venkat’s. I started this way back in 2002 as an adjunct to my book, The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Sites on the Web. Thus the name, LawSites. I intended to use it primarily to keep my readers informed of new and interesting Web sites. Over the years, however, my blogging interests have broaded — to media law, technology law, social media and intellectual property. The name LawSites no longer reflects what I want my blog to be.

I addressed this in part by starting a second blog, Media Law. But it makes little sense for me to maintain two separate blogs when neither encompasses the range of topics that interest me.

My desire to decide this question is hastened by Blogger’s decision to shut down FTP support. I have used Blogger as my platform since day one. I am thrilled that lawyer Rick Klau is at the helm of Blogger and is spearheading some exciting developments. I would stick with Blogger, but for the fact that I want my blog hosted on my own site, not on Google’s servers.

So WordPress here I come. I have set up and operated other blogs on WordPress and I like the control it gives me. But that begs the question of whether to go through the process of importing this blog into WordPress or simply start anew?

If I import this blog into WordPress, I solve my immediate problem of maintaining its operation after Blogger’s FTP shuts down. But I am left with the initial problem — much like Venkat describes — of being pigeonholed.

Also, I suspect that I will lose LawSites readers in any event. Even if I keep LawSites and simply move it to WordPress, my RSS feed will change and the process of converting permalinks is anything but perfect.

So, my options as I see them are:

1. Shut down my two blogs, LawSites and Media Law, and start a new one from scratch. I would keep all the archives of both blogs online but would no longer be able to update either.

2. Move LawSites over to WordPress and shut down Media Law but keep its archives.

3. Merge the content of LawSites and Media Law and import them into WordPress, continuing to blog under the name LawSites.

What was most striking to me about Venkat’s post was his comment that this question “literally weighed me down.” I know precisely how he feels. It seems almost silly to spend so much time pondering the fate of a blog. Perhaps it shows that both Venkat and I remain passionate about blogging, if uncertain about our blogs.

So what advice do you have for Venkat and me? We would both appreciate your counsel.