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Dreaming of a Simple Blogging Platform

It’s interesting, I feel like I’m always reading posts by bloggers who are unhappy with their current blogging platform. They typically discuss the alternatives, and then they agree to settle with what they use because there is honestly not perfect fit. I get that not one platform will work for everyone, but I do wonder why it feels like blogging is more difficult today than it was in the past?

Let’s get this out of the way first though, it doesn’t truly matter what platform you are using, because creating content should be the goal of blogging. Sure, we all like to dabble and create, but if you are concentrating on writing, then truly, what is the point?

With that being said, like every other blogger I know, I’m irritated with my options. I’m not going to run through all of them, and discredit each one individually, but here is the gist: I’m not a developer or a tinkerer. I’m a guy who knows some basic HTML from the late 90’s. I like to write, I want a few customization options/themes, and a sidebar. I want a basic place to type my blog into with a few minor choices such a  button to link things, bold/italic/underline, quote, and that’s all I really need. I want a basic mobile app. One that just lists the posts I’ve already made and has a button to create a new post.

I don’t need SEO, tracking, or any of that other madness. I just want a place to write without being annoyed about subscriptions or recommended plugins. I want it to be simple. I want to be able to concentrate on actually writing, not learning markdown (although it is rather easily once you get the hang of it). I mean, basically I want the blogging experience from 2005.

I guess, maybe that’s just not something that interests most folks these days. People are so wrapped up in making money there just isn’t a good alternative for the recreational blogger. Write.as comes real close in doing what I’m asking, but it’s almost too bare (no sidebar, lack of themes) And just like that, I’m too demanding as well.

I really wish Google would sell off Blogger to someone who could modernize it just a bit. I have a feeling it would be the fit I’m looking for.

Published inBlogging

7 Comments

  1. I miss the early days too. And you’re right about not being able to find the perfect options or platform. I’m never happy with what I’m using.

  2. I keep coming back to WordPress. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough that I can live with it. For me, the Gutenberg editor has been a revelation, as has the evolution of full-site editing. With those tools, I can do 90% of the customisation I want for my personal site. At some point, I will probably either build a child theme or a separate bare-bones theme for playing around with options and further customisation under the hood.

    I can see the appeal of services like Blot, Bear, Micro.blog and Write.as – by focusing on the basics they reduce the friction when it comes to (re)starting blogging.

    I’ve looked at the various static site generators, and they make my head spin, which is quite something since I’m a techie. While I like Markdown for writing, I’m not someone who lives on the command line. And deploying such sites means travelling to a parallel universe where traditional web hosting doesn’t exist. Great for developers and techies, but it’s overkill for the rest of us.

    At the end of the day, I’d rather play a fixed amount annually for hosting, spend a few minutes every day or so checking on and managing my WordPress installation, and write online as I’ve always done.

    • I really appreciate your assessment. While I’ve found Gutenberg a bit too much for me, I’m glad to hear that you’ve managed to use it to your advantage. It makes me feel just a bit better knowing some people are out there who do utilize it.

  3. I feel people complain, perhaps because they see another blog and feel theirs isn’t adequate, then later cannot figure out how to do it in their platform so they leave. In any case, the most simple blog platform I have used is tryghost.org, although I didn’t like that one because it wasn’t as customizable for blog designs. It really depends what your aim is.

    In the end, I settle with raw HTML, simple HTML generator, and writing directly in my text editor of choice.

    • It’s really hard to beat raw HTML. I still prefer it myself, but I’m also a sucker for trying to make things as easy as possible. One day, my goal is to have a sort of “archive” page that is HTML. I’ve experimented with something like that in the past and I really liked it.

  4. Goodness me, where to start here. This is something I’ve struggled with *a lot*. I think it boils down to 2 things for me:

    1) I want a simple publishing workflow
    2) I want control over the way the content is displayed

    I currently have a static site, built on top of Jekyll, but WordPress comes closest to meeting both those needs of mine. I just think WordPress is way too complicated and a lot of the nuts and bolts are abstracted away from the site owner. I don’t like that.

    I’ve decided there isn’t a perfect platform *for me*, so for now I’ll just keep on chugging out content with Jekyll.

    • Hey Kev, thanks for stopping by! I’m in total agreement. WordPress is almost perfect, but they over complicate things so much. Their mobile and app are also pretty terrible which makes it hard to use.

      But for now, WordPress meets my needs. So I just keep plugging away.

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