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Show HN: Proseful – A simple blogging platform (proseful.com)
40 points by sutherland on May 18, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments

Looks similar to https://write.as/, which was featured on HN many moons ago. I'm left to wonder if the mass exodus from Medium will spawn more of these types of smaller platforms.

And, IMO, yet another blogging platform (similar to write.as) that charges quite a lot for paid subscriptions. I can't get why personal blogs that need custom domains and a few different flairs need such a service that costs a lot more than most email services cost (I know write.as has a basic plan at $1 per month, but it seems limited).

I agree. I'm not sure where they came up with $84/year, but that's a lot of money for a blog. wordpress.com's personal plan (not even the cheap plan) is only $60/year. I just don't see a big market at that price point for a limited product from a company that probably won't be around in a year.

This is my first foray into SaaS. The price is purely based on what I'd personally be willing to pay; I'm actually paying for my personal blog. I'm hoping to add more value over time, and of course will experiment with price as I get more feedback and insight into what a fair price is.

Customers find these services valuable enough to pay their prices, and services optimize for that audience. But what would be your ideal price for a personal blog?

Most personal blogs don’t usually have a lot of content on a continuous basis. People starts blogs with enthusiasm, then life catches up (or writer’s block or distractions). They usually don’t get a lot of traffic either (including from search engines). Of course, there are many personal blogs where people put a lot of effort to write often and grow the audience. But that’s a minuscule percentage. With that perspective, and considering that most personal blogs are primarily text and don’t use too many large images or embedded videos (storage is not a big concern), I’d say that $10 or €10 a year would be sort of ok. I’m just throwing this pseudorandom figure to get it close to what some of the cheapest domains cost and how much some of the cheapest paid email services cost. This is not intended to be a (de)valuation of the software behind the platform and the effort to maintain the platform.

WordPress (wordpress.com) provides a custom domain and an ad free blog for less than $20 (AFAIK) a year.

> This is not intended to be a (de)valuation of the software behind the platform and the effort to maintain the platform.

That's the rub. If you were running the service, just speaking practically, how many customers would you need at $10 / €10 per year to pay for the servers? How about to pay your salary? What if you wanted to hire one additional employee?

(Also, WordPress.com shows you ads unless you pay at least $36 / year -- and they're large enough that they could reduce the price to whatever they want, unlike a bootstrapped service starting from $0.)

But there's also the valid point you mention, which is that many people have no more than a passing interest in blogging, and thus might not value a blogging platform at more than the price you suggested. We see this happen with Write.as. But then it might actually make more sense for platforms to charge more -- think about if you were just starting out a workout routine. Would you be more willing to go to the gym regularly if you were paying just $1 per month for a membership, or $40 per month? An investment in the tool helps you invest in the habit.

I hadn’t realized earlier that you’re the founder of Write.as. I completely get the cost factors for small, bootstrapped platforms and also how larger players can have loss leaders in their offerings. Pricing is experimental, in my view. A seller ought to try different pricing to capture more income from different segments of users who have different valuations and needs (this may not be very easy to do).

In the case of Write.as, I see some points that seem weird to me.

One is the character limit in the pricing tables. I don’t know if anyone is going to look at that and decide which option to go for. The 100000 character limit in the lowest tier would probably be around 15000 words or so. That’s a very high limit for most blog posts, and is in the long form article territory. So I don’t think that anyone looking only at character count for a blog would need anything more.

The other part is not having a price tier between $12 a year and $60 a year. That’s a big gap if you’re focusing on personal blogs.

Lastly, on the point of the gym membership comparison, I’ve heard this logic of commitment being tied to loss aversion. But I’ve practically seen it work badly (not as expected at all), and resulting in more loss aversion that prevents people from signing up for anything with a larger commitment next time. That’s just been my observation.

The blogs don't seem to have an RSS feed. I might be old-fashioned but I think that's one of the first requirements of a blog platform no?

I didn't get around to RSS for the MVP, but it's definitely going in–I want it for my personal blog. Consider me old-fashioned too.

This looks nice. Are you planning on keeping it as individualized blogs or will you be going the Medium/Blogger route and trying to get readers to make an account and read other blogs?

Thanks! Individual blogs for now. I'd like to focus on making a great blogging/writing experience first.

I actually hope you don't go the route of Medium! Good luck, I'll show this to a few of my friends who have been looking for a new blogging platform.

Much appreciated!

Any connection to http://prose.io/ ?

Can I host it myself? I'd pay a few bucks for that.

How does it work with SEO? Can you still show up in google if you target a specific topic?

How is this different from blogger?

Or Ghost?

This looks more modern than blogger

Versus Ghost: Over time, I think Proseful will steadily set itself apart due to different ideas, opinions and target audience. Since I've kept it basic for the MVP, there's not much at the moment. Open-source Ghost is targeting a much different type of user, as is hosted Ghost with a price point starting at $29-36/month.

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