Bloggers January 19, 2021

What are you using for your blog?

Karl Hughes @karlhughes

It seems like most startups are using Medium, WordPress, Gatsby, or Jekyll for their blog, but I'm curious what everyone else is using? Are there others I should consider?

Any options created by Indie Hackers?

  1. 4

    I use Ghost (https://ghost.org). After using several (and coding my own back in the day) I find that Ghost gave me the most momentum to start writing (and keep writing) on a regular basis.

    1. 1

      Another vote for Ghost. Easy to set up and only need to be minimally technical (like me). Own your own content and readers. Really nice free and paid templates available. Nice writing experience. They also have paid plans if you don’t want to manage the setup yourself.

  2. 2

    We built a blogging CMS for https://versoly.com/ we looked at WP and Ghost and based it a lot on them and improved where we could.

    Ghost is great but has a few issues that you run into later on like nested lists etc.

    Also having to pay for a website and blog seems weird to me.

    Versoly blogs come with categories, tags, authors and the posts are pure HTML so you can build whatever you want. You're not limited to markdown or the rich text editor which is so amazing when you want to put effort into a post.

    https://versoly.com/ghost-alternative (still a WIP :) )

  3. 2

    I love writing! But I do not write because I dislike the tools out there on the market.
    I do not blame the tools (except for WordPress. WordPress sucks!) - is it just me being too picky.

    This is why our team spent the last 6 months to build our own blogging platform.
    It will be a combination of Notion and Medium with an ability to place your custom HTML code anywhere on a page 😁
    Perfect for individual bloggers and small startups.

    It will be launched on Product hunt on the 9th of February.
    If you want to be notified about the launch, follow the event here: https://unicornplatform.com/create-blog/

  4. 2

    While I've written plenty of Medium articles, I'd advice against using it if you're planning to build a business around the blog (even if it's just ad-driven/affiliate-based).

    You simply don't own enough of the experience if you use Medium (not enough analytics, not enough customization options later on etc.), and you don't get to start building out SEO advantages for your own domain/brand.

    1. 2

      The SEO point is a big one. I'd definitely recommend against using Medium if this blog is for content marketing for your startup.

  5. 2

    Hi Karl,

    For;

    Control ➡️: If you're a react dev you can use next.js with any CMS or plain markdown (🤩) and host on vercel and add your own domain name and styles. BLOG : https://www.remidiy.com (in works)

    Speed ➡️: medium, it has all things already, SEO, CMS, design, no need to setup just start blogging away, great for starting, but might have to move later for publication issues.

    Also take look on substack it's like medium but for newsletters it has flows for newsletters so audience building is easy.

    Hope it helped. I'm always open for chat. Just say hey 👋.

  6. 1

    WordPress with custom theme https://www.lucavercellio.com/. I’m also testing a new Wordpress backend + Gatsby Frontend new project

  7. 1

    My blog: http://phongduong.dev/
    I am using Gridsome to generate site, Github to store files and deploy to Netlify

  8. 1

    My blog: https://boxpiper.com.
    I have built it using GatsbyJs. Post is in markdown format.
    GatsbyJs is better than others mentioned. It has all the required plugins, development and commnunity available to build a faster, new generation blogs.

  9. 1

    I use Ghost for my personal blog https://loymeetsworld.com and WordPress for the rest.

  10. 1

    I have been using Gatsby and am very happy with it, that said. I recently started experimenting with NextJS and I have to say I'm impressed with how easy it is to get started with when it comes to creating a basic blog.

    The introduction to NextJS has you build a simple blog site that you can use at the end of it with very little fuss.

  11. 1

    I'm currently setting up a blog for my project What Is A Farm?, and planning to launch it this week. I looked at several options, and I'm going with Jekyll.

    Some relevant context:

    • I'm very experienced with Ruby
    • I've used Jekyll on a few projects before
    • No one besides me needs to update the blog for the foreseeable future
    • My project already contains a Ruby on Rails app that's under development

    I want my blog to be hosted at /blog on the same domain as a Rails app which will live at the root url. I don't want to use a subdomain, because I want any SEO investments to benefit both the blog and app.

    Also, the app will be fairly content-heavy, and there may eventually be a tighter integration between other app data and the blog content. I want the option to eventually re-implement the blog as part of the app without breaking existing URLs. This rules out a fully-hosted solution.

    I also considered:

    • implementing a simple blog resource on my app. I already have an admin panel that I could manage the posts through
    • using a hosted headless CMS and adding a thin layer to fetch and render that content through my app

    These sound simple-enough, but I know I'd have been tempted to spend time fussing with either of those approaches that would be better spent elsewhere. I got Jekyll working inside my Rails app within a few minutes, and was able to quickly pick a theme and a couple plugins. I started working on content the same day.

    This approach isn't for everyone, but if you find yourself nodding along, I used this article as a starting point, but I plan on tweaking a few things after working with it for a few days. I don't think jekyll or any of its plugin gems should need to be part of my app's bundle for production. Even though they're both Ruby apps, I think it's cleaner to think of my blog's Jekyll set up as a totally separate program, that just happens to write its output to the Rails app's /public directory.

  12. 1

    I am building a blogging platform. Designed for those who know/willing-to-learn git and markdown.

    It's an option for those who like the idea of writing in markdown, but don't want to go through setup steps of static site generators.

    A few easy steps and then start writing.

    No landing page yet, but will be https://yemi.blog

  13. 1

    I started on Proseful (loved the simplicity), before moving to Substack, and then Ghost. Really like all platforms, and they all served me well at different parts of the journey.

  14. 1

    Wordpress with bunny cdn to make it fast and carbon theme

  15. 1

    Notion! I've had it pointed out to me that it's not really a blogging platform, particularly for discoverability, but I just find it so easy to use!

    https://bit.ly/2CV8ia6

  16. 1

    Using Wordpress as a headless CMS on an Next.js site. I followed the instructions here.

    I am sticking with Wordpress due to the fact that all my writers know how to use it already and won't need to have to learn markdown with things like Jekyll. Also easier to control accounts if you have a team.

    Tried Ghost many years ago, but Wordpress was just easier. Maybe that has changed.

    Webflow is worth considering too.

  17. 1

    Building mine right now, but using Gatsby with the "gatsby-source-filesystem" plugin to generate articles from Markdown so it will be easier to write / edit in an editor as opposed to react code with CSS. After reading a bunch online about blogs, it seems the consensus was to self host for better SEO so that's what I'm doing.

  18. 1

    I use weebly. Have a legacy account that costs nothing but does everything I need.

  19. 1

    Hexo as a html generator and Gitlab Pages as a hosting

  20. 1

    I used Squarespace for a while, but then switched to Wordpress (dills.blog) once I started daily blogging (inspired by Seth Godin).

    My advice to anyone starting a blog is to experiment until you find a platform that meets your needs in an easy and enjoyable way. For me, Wordpress has been just that.

    Also, most services let you import/export data, so don't worry about feeling like you're wasting time if you're not totally sure yet.

  21. 1

    I am using Ghost, hosted on a Digital Ocean Droplet. I am slowly modifying the theme I started with and adding purpose-built templates. One feature I like is that it supports guest authors. I wish it had better support for image sizing out of the box. Cheers.

  22. 1

    I've been using Ghost for a while (I feel a lot more comfortable as a dev managing a Node-based blog than a PHP one), and their recent newsletter stuff is so rock-solid that I even migrated my 4,000+ subs software dev newsletter to Ghost at the beginning of the month with basically no issue.

  23. 1

    Writing on GoNevis https://alireza.gonevis.com

    Disclaimer: I'm a co-founder

  24. 1

    Next js + Contentful + Vercel

  25. 1

    I built my own using Wagtail (a cms based on Django)

  26. 1

    WordPress, as that's what I'm familiar with and built my main site on anyway.

  27. 1

    I use Jekyll now, and I blogged about the move from WordPress.

    Ghost might be worth trying if you want a classic web-based content experience.

  28. 1

    We use webflow CMS to keep things dead simple and within one platform.

    1. 1

      How are you finding the platform (specifically the CMS)?

  29. 1

    Webflow. Super easy to use. No coding needed. So far my experience has been good!

  30. 1

    I considered a lot of options - WordPress, Ghost, Substack, Next.js, Medium, Gatsby, etc and realized that the more options you consider the more difficult deciding gets.

    The answer largely depends on what you want your blog to do?

    I did not choose Medium because they own the traffic. I believe you can publish on your blog and post the same article on Medium a few days later to get traffic from Medium as well.

    I chose WordPress because I wanted something up and running quickly. I did consider Ghost and wanted to try it, but since I was already familiar with WordPress, I went ahead with it.

    Every now and then, I want to build my own blog using JAMstack but my priority for my blog is writing and not building a blog.

  31. 1

    I'm using wagtail.io, but mostly becuase I was looking for an excuse to try it out!

  32. 1

    Tried 'em all. I enjoy a pleasant in-browser writing experience so Medium was appealing. Used it for a while before returning to good old fashioned Wordpress for my main blog. I think it's better to own your own platform.

    Ages ago I tried Jekyll (it was alright, kind of a pain). More recently I created a site with Gatsby, which works well if you like writing in markdown.

    IMO, whatever you do, don't blog on Squarespace. The editor is sub-par and it's slow as molasses.

    Edit – Link to my blog: https://amypeniston.com/blog

  33. 1

    I used a self-written blog for https://productroad.com/blog/, but eventually switched to wordpress because of the large number of plugins.

  34. 1

    I use Substack since it's free and gives you the option to take your emailing list with you if you decide to change the platform later down the road.

    It's a bit harder to integrate it with your existing website, but I think it's worth it since you get the newsletter functionality as well.

    Well, the platform is actually a newsletter platform, but I found it to be working well for blogging.

  35. 1

    Hi Karl,
    i think you've covered most of the services. But what about Webflow. There are already some interesting blogs and I think there will be more. Especially since they are pushing their "university" right now. What do you think about it?

  36. 0

    I self-host Ghost for blogging, docs, and marketing websites.

    It's pretty cheap to get up and running with it, it's slick to use, and it's pretty easy to make custom themes for it.

    It's a lot less powerful than WordPress though, or rolling your own static website, I guess. But purely for content, it's really great.

    You can self-host Ghost for free. But if you ever want to check it out without hassle, I can set you up. I recently launched a service called Pine for creating managed Ghost websites.

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