Starting a Blog
This is the second of three posts about blogging I am publishing this month as part of the Bring Back Blogging campaign. You can find my first post here. Be sure to check out the Bring Back Blogging homepage for more information about the campaign and links to other participating bloggers.
Starting a blog can be as easy or as difficult as you'd like it to be. Whether you want to make a text-focused blog, or an entire personal website with all kinds of content, there are plenty of platforms to choose from.
On this blog, I've always tried to promote privacy-respecting and open source solutions over ad-focused, proprietary ones. As such, I will not be recommending some of the more popular blogging platforms most people are aware of. For example, Medium is a popular blogging platform that many people use, but it is often riddled with invasive ads, trackers, and paywalls. With the following recommendations, I will endeavour to share platforms and solutions that ascribe to more free and open practices.
Writing-Focused Blogging Platforms
Write.as: I've mentioned write.as a number of times in past posts, but I doesn't hurt to add another recommendation. Write.as is very minimal and prides itself on its clean, distraction-free writing environment. Creating an account is easy and within minutes you're ready to start writing and publishing. There is also a guide to writing posts, as well as a general how-to for the platform.
Bear Blog: Bear Blog is another minimal blogging platform with a focus on providing a clean, tracker-free experience for your readers. Bear Blog is very easy to use and customize. With Bear Blog, it's simple to organize your work into separate categories with dedicated pages for different content. There is also extensive documentation and guides to assist in customizing your blog.
Both Bear Blog and Write.as generate RSS feeds for your content, allowing anyone with a newsfeed application to follow your blog and receive updates. Both platforms also have the option to upgrade from a free membership to a paid one for additional features such as email subscriptions and more customization options.
UPDATE: I just saw that write.as has closed free account registrations. The subscription model is still quite reasonable if you would still like to use the service. I've been a paying customer for almost two years now and have had a great experience with this platform.
Neocities: Neocities is another platform I've discussed before. Neocities provides free website hosting without integrated tracking or ads, as well as a simple and clean user interface. They also have a web-based code editor so you can change any of your website's pages from within the platform. Using Neocities requires some html and css knowledge. However, you can start-off with a template and learn as you go with different guides and tutorials.
Creating a personal website requires more effort than signing up with a simple blogging platform. However, building your own website provides you with an almost unlimited number of customization options.
With a few clicks and keystrokes, you can stake a claim to your own corner of cyberspace. If you want to make your website or blog even more unique, you can always buy a unique domain name for your website. Namecheap currently has a domain name registration deal where you can grab yourself a unique .xyz or .space domain name for about $1/year.
Building your own home on the internet can be an extremely rewarding experience, and starting a blog is a great place to start.
In my next post, I will go through how you can share your blog with the world and follow your favourites as well.