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32 Comments

How do you choose a blog platform for your project?

Basically, how do you decide which platform to host your blog on? Do you host it on a subdomain? How much time do you spend deciding this? Why is this, of all things, so damn hard?

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    I'd host on a subdomain, because it is easier to move to different platform than a /blog path.

    If there are only a couple of posts I need to make I might just as well write my own along with the rest of the site (e.g. Next.js + MDX)

    If there are a lot of content, I think you should probably use a proper platform.

    I really like Ghost and wrote about my experience/tips here, in case it's useful https://www.dingran.me/tag/using-ghost/

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      Subfolders are better than subdomains for SEO, something to keep in mind if getting search traffic is important for you.

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    Hey @MeansNoWaaris - can you provide any more context around this? It really depends on what you're doing.

    For our company, our main strategy at the beginning was just establishing a blog on our wordpress site - however, this doesn't do anything as DA is so low. So we focused on guest blogging and building a catalogue of blogs for the first 6 months to allow our SEO to gradually strengthen.

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    Hi Sai,

    You could host your blog on your domain.

    I usually takes some hours to set everything right if you are using WordPress or you can get help of a developer you could do that for you for a fee.

    I agree it is hard building a blog and getting audience for it.

    Thats why I am building IndieCreators.

    Today I would like to introduce you, IndieCreators: A simple and modern content publishing platform for independent creators like you.

    WordPress started out as a blogging platform but soon became an all-in-one swiss knife helping build complex business websites to eCommerce stores. This left a gap in WordPress.

    IndieCreators is built to be a simple and modern alternative to WordPress with its main focus on the publishing experience and the creators. Check out more about IndieCreators vs. WordPress

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      It looks great.

      I’m thinking of doing a write up about newer blog platforms like yours and a few others I found on Twitter. Any interest in being featured?

      We’ll probably have a half hour call to discuss your offering so that I can contextualize it for my readers.

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        Yes, it would be great.

        Can you tell me where would be write-up be published?

        Can we have initial discussion via mail?

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          Your profile doesn’t have a mail id. How do I email you?

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            I have DMed you on Twitter

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    Deciding between subdomain vs subdirectory is not that trivial. If you go with the subdomain, it's gonna be easier to migrate to another platform (as @dingran pointed out). If you go with the subdirectory, it's slightly more beneficial for SEO because they will be considered the same site by Google (in case of subdomains, even if your blog ranks well, your marketing site may not).
    Personally I went with the subdirectory (https://datagrab.io/blog), but my blog is still very new. As for the platform, I went with Ghost and I like it very much. There are some things missing from it that I consider important (a commenting system, for example), but you can easily integrate other tools (like Disqus or Commento).
    And don't spend too much time on it (1h at most); get things moving asap. It's the content that matters the most. :)

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      Really good point @robert_balazsi regarding the subdirectory giving SEO benefit to the root/www marking site/pages

      BTW, I'm curious how did you set it up. I guess for the non blog part, you have a Next.js based site, and for the /blog route, you proxied it using Ngnix to your Ghost instance (I didn't know this was possible :) )

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        You guessed exactly right. :) I also use Docker Compose to orchestrate the containers and AWS BeanStalk for deployment. The compose config has three services:

        • site: the marketing site, powered by Next.js and containerized
        • ghost: based on a very handy Ghost image ("wilderingrogue/ghost-with-s3:latest") that allows externalizing images and other assets to Amazon S3 (so a new deploy won't wipe them out); the DB is also externalized to Amazon RDS
        • nginx: redirects /blog requests to Ghost and all other requests to Next.js;

        I think this is a fairly standard setup so I may write a blog post about it. :)

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          Where do you write your posts? Do you have to compose them locally on a local ghost instance and then “copy” them to the container?

          And how did you make your blog look like your main site?

          Btw, I’m still not fully satisfied with this setup that your described. Why does the blog have to be so “heavy” with a db, a container, a container image and so on? Is there anything lighter than that?

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            I write the blog posts directly in the production environment (unless I tweaked the design and need to see how it looks locally). Ghost has a nice interface for managing drafts; I can publish them whenever I want to. The reason they won't be overwritten/deleted on the next deployment is that I externalized the DB. Ghost stores the posts in MySQL.
            To align the look-and-feel of the blog to the rest of my site, I just cloned the Git repo of the default theme (Casper), read through the tutorial, and redesigned it. This was also quite easy to do, so kudos to the Ghost folks for putting out a robust framework! :)
            As for using containers, they aren't really heavier than if you'd install all these services manually, and you can deploy all of them via a single command, saving you a ton of time.

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      Neat! So the idea is to use IH to get visibility because IH already has a community of readers so they are more likely to read your posts, right?

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        exactly! and... it's working!!!

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          I am doing this. I've been writing on substack and then creating a small targeted post on IH but more and more feels like I am writing for the same audience. So I am making this change this week.

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            good. keep experimenting. most people think they've failed after the first try.... no. that's just the first of 1,000 tries!

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    On Wednesday, I'll be deploying a blogging platform for anyone who is familiar with git and markdown. Yemi, but site is not up right now. You can check out my IH product page if you want.

    Have you considered substack or hashnode?

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      I’m getting a warning that your https cert is invalid.

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        ah, yeah I was in the middle of deploying the site. I got my LetsEncrypt wildcard cert wrong. It's fixed now, thanks! I had to close my browser and reopen though.

        Right now, you can't login. I'm trying to figure out why. Always issues going from my dev environment to prod lol. Plus the site is missing one piece of core functionality - a blog's main page, with articles. I'll be working on this today and Wednesday. Technically, articles will show up and work, but only with a direct link.

        I can hit you up when it's ready.

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            Well, the site is technically live, but it's still not ready. I was really hoping to have it done today. I haven't had as much time to work on it today as I thought.

            You can check out one of my bogus articles here for a preview.

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              Looks great! Can we chat about Yemi off IH? Launching a blogging platform seems quite daunting in a world where WP and Ghost exist. How do you plan to get traction?

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    I chose Blogger because Google is one of the major topics I blog about and the platform combines simplicity with moderate versatility. In a post I elaborated on why I decided on Blogger after skipping the major blogging platforms and briefly trying an Indie Web one.

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      Interesting. I agree that anything hosted like WP or ghost is a non starter. Do you blog for itself or is your blog in support of a product you’re working on?

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        It's a personal blog about my interests. But I write also about my info products and projects, currently an ebook and a newsletter, which also happen to be about my interests.

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    It doesn't really matter all that much
    If you want a fully fledged would have all the features to add in a few clicks, WordPress is still kinda default if you ask me, but look if you can have it as a backend setup with a generator plugin to actually run as a static site, only the static site being public exposed and serving

    If you want something minimal with full control and are more technical the options are endless, but probably look at Hugo or ghost is my gut fell

    Subdomain depends if you have other things in plan, it is nicer to have it as www if all other things equal for the flexibility/ease to integrate other tooling when you'd need to...

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      When I say it doesn't matter, the content is the important part and you'd be able to migrate it later if you change your mind
      The painful part about migrating if you already have inbound links with value is to do redirects between old and new URLs or just match them up

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        I mostly have tech side projects which are serverless and I’m not sold on Wordpress because I have to manage a server for it (afaict).

        I also don’t like ghost for the same reason.

        I guess my issue is a little unique like that - since most of my projects are on the cloud, I don’t know how I’d ever be able a self-host a blog. I could use markdown (Hugo etc) to output html files but I’ve not had a great experience with that workflow.

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          1st you can use a hosted service
          2nd as I mentioned using it as a backend, generating a static site and only serving that, you could have a git repo with wp, but only publish the static files to a hosting service, like github pages or S3 or anything really... no server, no live backend code...

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            I discovered the other day that WordPress has a lot of plugins that can transform your WordPress blog into a static website. You could essentially set up WordPress locally, install an SSG plugin and publish the static assets to GH to use on GH Pages or Netlify etc.

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