I kept a blog on photography from 2006 to 2010. It was fun although eventually it just drifted to a stop. That blog was hosted first on blogspot.com, and then on wordpress.com.
So when the itch returned after 12 years I looked around at blogging platforms, and wordpress.com was an obvious choice to investigate. I created a trial blog on wordpress.com, and I also created one on Squarespace.
Getting things arranged the way I wanted on Wordpress proved to be more of a struggle than I expected, and it was clear that if I went that route I was going to end up endlessly tweaking presentation issues the way I did with my personal website, and with my previous blog. And I wanted to focus on content, not on presentation. And all the ‘themes’ on Wordpress were far more fancy and image intensive than what I wanted - just simple text presentation.
So I proceeded with Squarespace, but had problems getting a simple presentation style sorted out, just as with wordpress. To top it off, it was even more frustrating to work with than Wordpress was, and equally oriented toward visually fancy themes.
At about the same time I’d read Derek Siver’s article on simplifying by using plain text files, which made me think of my earliest computing days, as well the way my old personal website had been structured. And around that time I blundered across the idea of markdown, which seemed like a convergence of a lot of ideas and a great way for me to do an end run around a lot of distractions I’d been hitting with Microsoft Word while I work on a book.
And then I came across blot.im, the service that I’m now using to host this blog. The posting interface for both pages and blog posts is incredibly simple - the interface is just a shared folder on Dropbox and files dropped into the folder get published. Post markup is done in markdown and blot.im generates the html. Analytics can be done by third party analytics vendors like Fathom, Simple Analytics, or Plausible.
The brilliant thing is that on blot.im it’s been pretty straightforward to get a web presentation that I’m content with, but beyond that I’ve got little temptation to mess around with it, so that temptation is gone.