I have been a blogger since 1996, yes I was quite early with writing about my daily adventures online. I don't know why but I always found it quite fascinating that people read my articles online.
But I was not alone. Many many people started writing online, somehow more people wanted to share their daily experiences on internet.
And as I was one of the first, I was not the first to write online. The first person that wrote blog articles was student Justin Hall in 1994. His site consisted entirely of brief posts, each one sharing a link and some of his thoughts on the content within. This compilation of links included links to websites he liked, as well as his own work.
Others quickly followed in Hall’s footsteps, creating their own sites to share their personal lives and thoughts.
In those days you did term “blog” was not invented yet, these sites were referred to as “Online Diaries” or even “Personal Pages”.
History of Blog platforms
Like many writers in the early days there was no platform that could help you writing online. So as a Developer I wrote a script in ASP with a MS Access database to be able to write online. I had my own domain and I started writing on weekly base.
In the late ’90s began some tech companies give way to more accessible solutions to write weblog's online. A few of these blog services are:
- 1999 Blogger
- 1999 LiveJournal
- 2003 MySpace
- 2004 Hyves (dutch social networking site)
- 2006 Tumblr
- 2012 Medium
- 2013 Ghost
As blogging became more popular, tools appeared to help people curate and market their own blogs. A few of these tools are:
- 2000 Mambo
- 2003 Wordpress
- 2005 Joomla
Currently there are dozens of online services and tools / frameworks to write your blog.
CMS hate love relationship
I have used a lot of different Content Management Systems to write my blog articles. A lot of them where very good and where very usable, but they also had their drawbacks.
Some you have to pay for, a lot! I don't mind paying 5 dollar a month for a good CMS, like Ghost. But when you have to pay 30 dollar a month for a hobby, well.... it's quite much. It's not like I can live off my blog.
Others, like Medium had everything I needed. Create writing experience, good social aspects, great community... and then it all went to sh!t when they introduced the paywall. Again, I would pay 5 dollar a month for giving free access to my posts but Medium wanted to implement the Paywall on any well read articles.
Own or Owned by, that is the question. When writing on some 'free' blog services you have to remember that, after pressing save, you are no longer the owner of your own article. The transfer the ownership of your article to the company that owns the service. So 'free' is no longer really free as you pay with your content.
So most blog services are a no go for me.
Stop coding, start writing
When you are like me a Developer (or just a nerd) you might have been building your own CMS a couple of times. And that is great. You learn a lot of programming but the downside is that you don't write a lot of articles as you are always tweaking your CMS.
Same with putting a CMS like ghost on your own server (Digital Ocean server, Vultr Server). You are not putting the time you have in that great article. No you are updating the server, writing scripts for backups and finding ways to keep that server snappy and quick.
Again, it's great to learn how to setup a great server but I want to write articles! So buy self hosted Ghost (where most of my articles are) is great! But time consuming.
So if you want to write articles you really do not want to maintain your own CSM or self host a CMS.
Hashnode, the lifesaver
So I done it all, I used online services, I wrote my own CMS in ASP Classic, PHP and even tried it in Python. I went from, Joomla to Blogger to Wordpress to Jekyll (on Github) to Ghost to Blogger to Wordpress to Jekyll to Ghost to Medium to Wordpress... man that took a lot of my precious time.
And nothing really worked for me. And then I found Hashnode. Yes, it's another Blog service. But It's build by Developers for Developers. So I guess I will be putting my Blog here for a while. Let's see how it grows, let's see if it stays, let's see if I still like it in one or two years.
But, the most important part is that I can just write articles. No installing updates, no writing CMS improvements.
Oh well... yes one thing only... I will have to import all my articles from Ghost to this blog... and then connect my Domain... let's see how that will go.
I'll keep you posted.