Re-engineering my site

Over the past years since I started a few blogs, going from two blogspot blogs to my current self-hosted Wordpress blog and separate portfolio site, I have been thinking about alternatives.

Posted by Eddo on March 1, 2017

Over the past years since I started a few blogs, going from two blogspot blogs to my current self-hosted Wordpress blog and separate portfolio site, I have been thinking about alternatives.

Ideas:

  • Continue with Wordpress
  • Try out Jekyll
  • Move blog to Medium.com
  • Move portfolio to a site like Format.com
  • Move blog + portfolio site to squarespace.com

Facts:

  • Started Cycling Aotearoa in 2008
  • Started my Wordpress blog in May 2011
  • I post irregularly on my current blog
  • Keeping a separate photo portfolio site

Writing articles on my blog started from the notion of keeping up my writing skills, and share information with friends and family in one place about my cycling trip through New Zealand. Yet over time this blog actually became a place where I shared more than just stories from the road, and I decided to start my own blog based on Wordpress combined with a separate portfolio site based on Pixelpost.

I used to have a somewhat consistent publishing schedule, yet that in the past two years has been lost, and I’m trying to pick it up again. Yet that starts with content, and creating time to write.

Why move away from Wordpress?

Although my Wordpress blog was good enough, it required maintenance from my side to keep it running, and it wasn’t friendly for mobile environments. Also backups required effort from my side, I wouldn’t like to lose content when something goes wrong.

Pixelpost provided a nice portfolio, yet the latest version of the software had been published in September 2009. That is seven years since no updates, an eternity in this day and age based on my view as software engineer of web applications.

As I am a software engineer focused on web applications, why not write something myself based on my particular needs? Well, that has to do with the lack of focus from me. Having my hands full on my existing work, and would need to build something from scratch (almost), whereas organisations like Wordpress.com, Medium, Squarespace, and Format have the sole purpose and focus on creating a platform for creatives.

Writing on Medium is just beautiful

David Heinemeier Hansson

So I will get something better when choosing an existing platform, so I can spend my time outside my regular job with friends & family, or on a personal project. After researching this, I found even a number of other authors doing exactly the same thing, moving their blogs to Medium 1, 2, 3.

At first I was convinced I wanted to move to one of those service providers, yet as a software writer I couldn’t let the opportunity go past to at least play around with some alternatives, such as Jekyll. From that small experiment this new site arose; this site is no longer backed by a database, it contains rendered HTML files based on templates that are generated through Jekyll.

As I wanted the focus to be more on written content, rather than keep a separate photography portfolio, I decided to also ditch Pixelpost and place this new site under my regular domain. With a little help of Digital Ocean I also created a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate for the site.