What I said earlier about the development problem is probably a bit vague so here is an example.
The most obvious form of revenue for the site is its images, and selling them. This has been the plan for many years but it hasn't been until lately we have been able to implement a way for this to happen, not efficiently as over the years the poe site has become a very large and very complex beast, with many web developers refusing flat out to work on it. Most try to push us towards a complete rebuild of the site with prices in excess of £25,000. Half the problem is poe was never setup as a commercial venture to begin with, so the foundations are not there, it was simply a labour of love by Sarah and myself that over the years became well recieved and attracted a lot of visitors.
While eventually we did manage to get quotes for the recently added image selling system, most were way out of our reach between 4 and 7k. We therefore had no option but to go for a very bare bones limited system at the cost of 1k. This now allows images to be sold at least but is well short of what the site really needed. There is no management system for the image selling (so its very time consuming), no easy way of buyers finding images so lots of potential sales are lost, no user control, etc etc and this has been a familiar pattern over the years as we struggle with the costs to implement new development, and have no choice but to go for the cheapest solution.
To really capitalise on the image selling, which would help poe towards the goal of being self sustainable and also give our members something back for all the great support they have shown over the years, we really need a much better and much more prominent image search. Therefore this is the next priority on the very large development list but there are absolutely zero funds to get this done at the moment, and won't be for the foreseeable future which is very frustrating. And there lies the problem on top of the ever increasing hosting requirements.
The development list is long, with many items on it that we feel are a necessity for the long term future of poe, such as making the site mobile/tablet friendly for instance, as those devices now account for around half the websites traffic, some of which we obviously lose because of lack of optimisation for those devices.
It can be quite daunting at times, but we do believe Pictures of England has something special to offer everyone and has earned its place on the web, even amongst rival sites that have popped up over the years with seemingly millions to spend on just marketing alone, so we would never give up on it or the vision we have for it.
The hosting problem is intermittent, and once we have enough Premier members, should oneday become a thing of the past, but as pointed out, it is not the only problem and without crucial and often costly development, the website will continue to be held back.