I have settled on a platform for my blog which works the best for me — Micro.blog. There are reasons why the other platforms don’t interest me. And I want to talk about them. Why now, you say? Well, recent and sudden interest in the Write.as platform among the folks I follow the words from made me momentarily pause. So here’s the write up, first on why what in Micro.blog works for me.
For starter, it suits well for both the micro and long-form posts. It has apps for all platforms that I primarily use Mac and Android (Web is good for Windows, though I would still love an app there). Quick notes are best made with the apps, especially so from smartphone. For such posts that are long, titled, Ulysses works perfectly well for me. No other CMS can ever work as well as a native application.
The platform is built on Hugo. And I love Hugo. I hosted my blog for the longest with Hugo. I love the submodule systems with Hugo. Building extensions in your templates is so easy, and I have gotten comfortable with it. For a few, it might be
PHP and WordPress. However, I could never get comfortable with that.
Manton has added just enough around Hugo to make it even more useful — the APIs, the apps, the social aspects, the open plug-in and theming systems and, the most valuable, its community. I visit the platform for inspiration, and many posts start right there. All this makes Micro.blog a lot more powerful, getting rid of the issues I had with Hugo, mainly the editing workflow with the static site. And I am not even talking about the smarter features life filters, bookmarks, microcasts, newsletters and bookshelves.
Do I use all of them? Of course, not. But the fact that one plan provides me so much over and above the basic blogging functionality is priceless for me.
I have hopped through a lot more platforms than what I am proud of. So, I know what works, and doesn’t work for me. Let me be brief and focus only on what doesn’t work for me with the most frequently talked ones. I don’t want to consider the costing aspects — I can work a way to use them so that they cost effectively the same.
The below notes also give me a ready reference when I get lured by a new platform next time.
WordPress is too busy, too bloated for my liking. I don’t like the CMS. I don’t like the themes. For my style of blogging, frequent quick posts than scheduled thought-out essays, the options and features become a hinderance. I don’t want to think about the title or the tags or the categories or the url. Or excerpt. Sure, I can customise this system just to get it right. But I don’t know (neither do I like)
Ghost blog looks pretty. Polished. Majority of my posts aren’t that. And again, it bundles too many features that I just can’t connect with. I am not a media publishing house trying to build a business with my blog. I am a dumb person with very basic needs. No “audience”. No business.
Blot is brilliant. Another of those services I have a lot of love for, driven also from my respect to David, the mind behind the service. A brilliant guy, just like his service. But my editing workflow is just not files driven. When I write, I don’t always do that in my text editor. I want a web editor. I want apps. And, having said that, I also want text editors. Not something that Blot supports currently. For some, that’s the ultimate selling point of the service. Not for me.
What about Write.as, the recent entrant? Well, I like the service. I like the simplicity of the editor (I wish Manton got inspired from this one). But it feels far too fragmented. Each feature is a different product. I had noted this recently about the service.
I land on a page which is a blank one with a blinking cursor. Brilliant! But what next? There’s nothing else if you don’t know where to go. I can see my blog posts, edit them. Do you want the community? There is a different product. Pictures you say? That’s another different product.
The workflow is not natural to me. It is a nice, easy service. But it doesn’t work for me. Plus, it lacks the app support. Without mobile apps, I just can’t publish those quick notes anymore.
Of course, I could pick and choose, make multiple platforms host different types of posts for me. I have done that. But I have realised, after a lot of pain, that it’s another hurdle in my posting workflow. Any decision my mind is to make before publishing slows it down, killing my writing productivity completely.
In conclusion, it’s a wonderful time to be blogging again. There’s such a rich set of platforms that can suit every writer’s style. For me, though, Micro.blog works the best, and I am going to stick with it for now. Does that mean I will never consider new or even the above platforms? Well, knowing me, I can never say never.