Hey, everyone, this is a topic that I think we all can get behind. The writing of our blogs and why we picked where we put these and what tech we use to do it. I will start off saying that there are so many options it is mind boggling for the new dev. The initial questions are if one should blog, if so where or what platform is the best? I think right now I have to go with WordPress and using the free WP .com seems to be the best for beginners. Some may choose these blogging platforms related to their interests but I do not see these generating any new traffic except maybe others doing the same thing you are and who needs that so much. They have a ton of options and have very nice themes but they cost money. If you are just starting out I think the free tier is the best. This way you can see if you actually want to blog or can keep up without being out the money. I know that if you pay it might be an incentive but if that’s the reason you blog eventually you will quit anyway.
The other option for free and one that I use for a site is Github pages. Although it is easy enough to set up if you are not using Github now then you may want to wait. When you get comfortable with Git and the command line then go for it. It has some drawbacks but none too many for a blog that doesn’t require forms or comments. You can get around these limitations but it can be another hoop you shouldn’t jump through right now. Your objective is to get this blog up and running so you can write your first post.
I think a good idea is to write down what your blog will be about and get a rough design down. Nothing too fancy and then start trolling other blogs to get an idea on how they are doing it. Go watch some YouTube videos on the subject and then go to town on your own. The web also has a ton of reference material on the topic and the WP docs are a great resource. WP also has a forum help area that is a great resource as well. When you get further into this WordPress also has a WP.org version that you can use to develop your site locally and then push it anywhere. I have never used it so I cannot comment there but I hear it is a great option as well. The thing there is you have finite control of every aspect of the site and can test it locally before you push it live.
Once you are up and running I would, as soon as possible, get your domain name and spend the few dollars using it on WP. I know I said not to spend money right away but if you know you are going for it then do this sooner than later. They append your name in the URL with WordPress until you give them a yearly fee. I think it’s around 15 bucks a year now. All together initially it is around 30 bucks to get started with the domain name and the WP fee. I use Hover for my hosting because they are great, cheap with added who is. It is easier to type your name without having to type WordPress appended and people don’t like it.
The look and feel will be important and WP takes care of this with themes. I have never used a theme that cost me money. I think all the free themes are fine enough and you can get by with a great looking site without spending any money. Especially if you are just blogging. If you are branding things and it just doesn’t work then you may be stuck buying a theme or making one yourself. All the time involved in making your own could be better served if you just bought it when you found the perfect one. I am sure there is a lot more things to do when you are just getting things rolling to have to worry about something you could just buy. Like I said there are so many free ones I would find it hard to believe that you couldn’t find one that works for you but if you can’t sometimes it’s just better to break out the pocket book and just roll with it so things are looking the best that they can. On the other hand, if you are good enough and have the time then rolling your own could be the way to go and get some more experience and have a portfolio piece. I know it seems weird to have someone else who coded your site if you are a coder but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to waste that time and brain space.
So my recommendation is to use WordPress because it is easy and you still own your own content versus some of these other platforms that maybe even easier they end up owning your stuff and those like Medium have shut down unexpected and your stuff is gone or they decide to change their policy and start to charge more or start to charge an extravagant fee to continue.
I am thinking of starting to write up actual tutorials as well as these musings from my skewed point of view I will let you know. As always I may be a dumdum but I ain’t stupid. Dev on Dudes/Dude-ettes!
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