On blogging, Again
Everybody makes a mistake from time to time, and the junction came where I gotta admit belonging to that exact domain. My blog went through about as many changes in platform as it had posts. (Everybody sometimes exaggerates, right?)
So I am here today to give an account on journey of my content across individual platforms, outlining their upsides and downsides and ranting about my fuckups leading to choosing them.
The Beginnings: Blogger
One of the most popular blogging platforms of the 90s offered two gates of entrance to your Google-hosted website: Hitting an URL, either name.blogger.com or your own domain, and being discovered through hub of all Blogger articles, featuring the most popular favorite-tag-relevant along a fulltext search. Both obviously played role in googlability and building an on-line brand.
It seemed to work for a while. I was getting units of traffic from people and crawler hits every now and then. With keywords including my name and username, I slowly made it to the first page of results in Search and DuckDuckGo, pushing the pamphlet article about a person of my name dying at the age to the second, and enabling to compete with identically named photographer for #1. The latter, I unfortunalely did not make. And am obviously mad about it.
The problem was that Blogger lacks some cool features of the modern web. To this day, you are limited to a raw/wysiwyg HTML editor, forced to do more clicking than real writing. Uploading images was a completely separate activity from the writing process and involved browsing filesystems three times before inserting one into the article.
Besides, people no longer visit the article hub, making it useless for anything than that SEO aspect mentioned earlier, and professing the site’s backend obsolescence with the a searchbar included along the top edge by default. Of course you can hide it through creation of custom theme including a CSS tweak, but that is just more hassle. Besides, you are not really allowed to do much other than raw CSS to manipulate the site’s looks. And the loading times of some articles were just horrible, especially when the engine attempted to apply analytics tools on embeded content, often causing its failures to even load.
And even though Blogger was my big love for the early posts and I stayed for almost 9 months with it, these aspects had driven me elsewhere. Somewhere I was in control of both my content, looks, and structure of the homepage.
The Techie Period: Webhosting
I had rented a cheapo webhost my friend and I had been using for ages as a platform for our various PHP projects the history of which ran all the way to our sweet boarding school development sessions, which were known throughout the staff hierarchy and occassionaly lifted the curfew imposed on us by the system.
Since I was now able to do whatever I wanted with the whole base, many experiments were done and a lot learned in the process. I even made a switch to self-hosting everything on my very own BananaPi webserver, gaining a lot of sysadmin skills.
May I write, please? Wordpress
So many people love wordpress, since there is a massive ecosystem around it, with so many commercially available themes, wonderful plugins, and an open-source base. But I was not overly excited about having somebody else’s work showed off on my little personal site. I wanted to build my personal brand and allow myself to be actually proud of it.
But the time it takes even a fairly skilled webbie to get into the zipped-theme format with about as many files as a fresh core linux installation has is not the shortest. And the tweaks always seemed to break whatever I was trying to customize. I sure could’ve had a blog in no time, but getting to something I’d be happy with was a question of becoming fairly expert in the wordpress ecosystem, which is honestly not worth it, unless you wanna capitalize on it as soon as you can. Besides, there is no certainty in how long such profession would remain relevant. And there is all the Filipinos beating you in sales.
Wordpress is really not for you if you want to give individualist impression. After about a month, I deleted the folder.
This is actually fun! Anchor CMS
Real perfection for those who know pure PHP and want to build a unique site really quickly. It is also where I first encountered markdown outside of GitHub. And it had been my platform for over a good year and a half.
But my audience disappeared entirely. The search engine performance remained, true that, but that was about it and it seemed that some social network marketing was necessary. And even though I do have some outreach on Facebook and Instagram, I consider these to be purely personal devices, that I give public limited access to. So in spite of my general satisfaction with the workings of my wonderful brown colored design featuring many elements enriching the text, I now understand that this alone just won’t cut it. And maintaining the website along with a different platform is just not something I have time to do.
So long, my love. I’ll pull you out once I’m famous enough. I’ll rebuild you on something less outdated than Anchor.
Taking it seriously: Medium
The problem here is that I rarely react to immediate news. Because I am long-term oriented individual aware of the self-adjusting nature of running averages of almost anything. And it doesn’t even need to be on index-based variables. Because yes, I do believe that all functional relationships have some sort of equilibrium. Logical or strictly endogenous.
Besides, Medium is filled with… well, media. Wide-readership accounts shitposting five times a day in order to maintain audience, especially of those behind the paywall, who may even consider that the media they are paying for through means other than advertizing are more reliable as a source of infromation.
Yes, I went through the grind of migrating my entire blog to this site, copy-pasting almost everything and adhering to that non-markdown article editor, which made me feel well in the very beginning. It made it a no-bullshit platform after all.
I even wrote one medium-exclusive post, which is never gonna be on Tumblr as I managed to delete it along with my entire account days after doing all the hard work.
Medium is a great concept badly executed. Adios.
Getting lost: Tumblr
At least so far. I may be giving up on fully custom theme for a short time or I may be on a retreat. I may have decided to use an exclusively ad-based platform (at least I can remove ads on my personal tumblr, if not in the feed.
I don’t like that there is very little original content on here, but I might soon benefit from reblogs. I don’t plan to reblog a lot myself, unless I find a post to be five-star. But I will always like whatever feels appropriate and amazing. And I am always happy to stay in touch with any number of followers. Because some audience is better than massive audience. And I can get at least some feedback here. Hit me, guys. I’m posting for my own benefit and hope somebody will take time to read and reflect on what I am about to post here.
On a second thought, this should really only serve as a feed of articles from my actual blog. Because the content here is not great and I don't fit right in. And having a fullscreen tumblr EULA notice be the first thing that shows up after a hit on my domain just isn't right.
I even plan to switch back to the slightly more interesting topics, showing off my knowledge and passing it on.
Back to self hosted: Ghost
I went into an unchartered teritory that looked really promising. A nodejs CMS with handlebars theme format and friendly interface. I was unable to take care of it, though.
Wish me luck ^^
Finally sane: 11ty
I'd finally grown up and decided to go ahead with static page generator.