What's the best thing to do once you've started to blog and written a few posts? Change platforms, of course! It seems like every blogger is always looking for a new platform, with the hope that it will somehow make them a better, more prolific writer. No doubt it rarely turns out that way.
But here I am, in the same boat, trying to evaluate new blogging platforms and plan a migration strategy for them.
As a background, back when I was using Soundcloud extensively I “realized” that Medium does the same for blog posts that Soundcloud does for songs: it provides a centralized repository across multiple different authors. This potentially allows for “cross-pollination” as readers of a certain blogger find related articles from, gee golly, maybe me!
Of course, this never happened on Soundcloud, in the 8+ years I've been on it. And it hasn't happened on Medium either. My most popular medium post is this tutorial on how to set up your own Mastodon instance. It still gets 20-40 views a week, 18 months later. I'm proud I produced a piece of writing that has helped many people. But honestly, the views on that article haven't even led to views on my own other articles. Never mind “cross-pollination”.
That, and considering the recent article on “Medium is a poor choice for blogging” which was posted to Hacker News, makes me rethink my platform of choice.
Now this is a bit disingenuous, because I've already been using write.as for the last few “blog” articles I've posted (I use that term loosely for the material I've put on write.as).
Write.as provides a distraction free editor, markdown based formatting, a “blog” collection for my posts, individual post reading pages also without distraction, and is completely free. That's a great number of features, and they hit on several that are important to me.
Another alternative would be to create a static Jekyll site. But do I really want to deal with Liquid templates? I feel like I'm fed up with Jekyll, even though I've used it on many projects (gallery.travisbriggs.com comes to mind).
So do I use another static site generator? Then I have to go through the trouble of figuring out how to use the generators templating engine, how to set up an index of posts, how to display individual posts, how to create snippets of posts, how to format dates on posts, etc, etc. It's a lot of stuff, and in the end, I end up with a site that is identical to if I used Jekyll.
An additional issue with Jekyll or static site generators is that they generally don't come with any styling. Although I'm experienced at implementing pixel perfect websites given designs and mocks, I actually don't have much experience creating such mocks to begin with. So any site I create with a static generator is likely to look awful. But then again, if you take write.as as a baseline, I can't really do worse than that. Though I would want to make sure my site is responsive for mobile.
This entire discussion is also predicated on the idea that I actually should continue blogging in the first place. Continue is kind of a strong word there, of course, since I've generally been producing one article every couple of months. I wrote in September of 2017 that “My Blog is a Liability”. The TLDR of that post is that no one reads this stuff anyways, but if they wanted to find some damning piece of information about me, there would be plenty of potential things to find.
So my options, as I see them are:
- Continue writing on Medium (probably not going to happen).
- Continue writing on write.as
- Start a brand new blog with static site generator
- Quit blogging altogether
Of these options, 2 and 4 look the best to me.
Update (2018-11-13): I stated in this post that write.as is free, but apparently at some point I signed up for the $10/year plan. I can't remember why I did.