All those self-help articles say that blogging is easy to start. Perhaps they might mislead to people regarding the difficulty?
Alternative title: Tanish is too stubborn for his own good.
So, before I started this blog, I waisted a whole year in thinking and appraising various things. Am I good enough to write? what kind of design should it have? Where should I host it. Should I pay for the custom domain and hosting?
These and more questions hounded me on every step of the way, as I tried to make sense of technologies available to first time blog writers, with their own advantages and disadvantages.
So, let us examine my journey to start this blog, as a first proper article on this site, since it is still fresh in my mind.
Am I good enough to be a writer?
This isn’t that surprising question when you think about it. Anyone can have a fear of putting their work in front of the public, the fear of the bad reaction is very much valid.
However, I gained confidence in my writing skills, because people often praised me for it. Mostly, they were happy that they didn’t have to deal with a lazy bastard who would use “u” instead of “You,” as well as using much correct grammar as possible, including the signs.
Yes, these are very important skills for a writer, and apparently, I do have those, and so I decided that at least when it comes to writing, I can handle myself, with the help of a word processor, (Always an important thing before you put your writing in front of the public,) I can write as much as I like, without worrying about it coming off as “Not good enough.”
However, self-doubt is a persistent thing, and I suspect that it’ll be back to haunt me sooner or later.
Design of the blog.
Honestly, this was, and still is, a headache for me. I’m well aware that I live in sighted world, playing the blindness card won’t get me any sympathy from my readers. If I don’t have a good design of my site, I am sure people will let me know, with colorful language for which the internet is famous for.
But honestly, after trying so many times, I just gave up on this thing, and threw my hands in the air. The design is simply not for me. I know html, I can tell you what tag does what, but I can’t design a visually appealing web page. So, I decided that I won’t simply dwell on this anymore.
Now, this is another important step. At the time of this writing, I do not make any money, either through a job, freelancing, or even through this blog. (I suppose if I was an American, people would have called me a basement dweller.)
So, I didn’t want to pay for something, which may or may not actually end up well, (There is no easy way to say it,) a money generator in the future.
So, I decided to use Jekyll along with github pages, to create and manage the blog.
Jekyll actually suited me fine, as it works with github pages, and git workflow. Which as a programmer, I may have to use not only on personal projects, but professional ones in the future as well.
There was another advantage to it. Formatting the posts with markdown, (Think of it as simplified version of html,) and pushing the new post on the github, would instantly make my post available to read.
So, why did I decided not to use Jekyll?
Mainly, because my stubbornness regarding custom domain got in the way. If you want to have a sane looking URL with github pages, you have to name your repository, (Basically a collection of files of your blog, for those who are not familiar with the git workflow,) like this:
Which means, that I couldn’t use the name which I came up with for my blog. I thought of creating a new github account with that blog name, but actually managing two github accounts is a headache on itself.
At least I learned the git workflow, so some good did come from that experiment.
In the end…
At first, I used blogspot. I was happy with it, since it didn’t cause me problems on the screen reader front (More on that later.) but then, the issues started to crop up. I was happy with it since it basically came with the google account. But after a while, the limitations started to make themselves known.
I am well aware that wordpress has its own limitations, especially with the free plan. But they are not so limiting like blogger.
The fact that you can have wordpress promote the blog once you have some articles on your site is a bonus, not to mention the social media is also easier to manage from here.
So, I shifted the blog to here.
Why couldn’t I have the new hot solution on the block medium?
I tried. Remember about the screen reader troubles earlier, this is what I was referring to. I even wrote a 1500 words long article, and tried to upload it to the medium.
But apparently, their interface didn’t work with screen readers. I did what any guy would have done in my position, drop them a nice email regarding the problems I was facing.
Apart from giving me a nice public relation response, (diversity, inclusion, support writers of all backgrounds and ability, etc. etc.) nothing on the interface front changed. Which is not that surprising. Bare in mind, its not like that companies become profitable by providing accessibility. They do it, just because they are in position to do so, (Like google and Microsoft,) or it’ll get them nice publicity, (Like google and Microsoft.)
It has been exact one year at the time of this writing since that email exchange, and so far, as I have seen, they haven’t done anything. I even offered to be their tester for the free, but nothing ever came of it.
This was the trigger for me to want my own platform.
Of course, I have created this blog, I have even started to write posts on it as well. but I have only begun to climb the mountain. next is attracting the visitors, using social media to advertise this blog, which is a time-consuming process, but necessary as well, and of course, write some more.
Look, it is true that if you’re internet savvy, and if you have people around you who have done this sort of thing before, then you can start a blog quite quickly. But if you have none of these things, you might find that it might take longer than all those “Start your own blog in x minutes” articles would make you believe.