A friend recently asked me what he should use if his usecase is that he just wants to pen down some thoughts on the Internet. I thought I’d list all the different ways I host my different websites that I have for different usecases. Maybe one of these will help someone else stumbling across this page as well –
I initially started off with Static Site Generators and later adopted Medium, WordPress and Substack over time. I’ve abandoned Medium now.
- My (largely) technical website, https://abhiramr.com uses Jekyll.
- My bookclub’s website, https://brokebibliophilesbangalore.com uses Hugo.
- This website, https://abhiwrites.com is on WordPress.
- Finally, my Python notes website https://everythingpython.substack.com is on, well, Substack.
Regarding the ease of usage, I find WordPress (abhiwrites.com) to be the most dependable – from a long-life perspective because Automattic (the company behind WP) has been around for a looong time and I feel like I can rely on it. Add to that, the convenience factor is unbeatable. Even the latest post, I just typed it up on my phone and posted. I pay around 3200 INR for the domain name and hosting per year.
The second most convenient is the Substack website. But I’m wary of it (Like I was with Medium) because it’s new and I don’t know if they might pivot to something else at some point. I’m using them cautiously but they’re also ridiculously easy to post on. The block structure of usage and what formatting you can do on Substack is limited as compared to WordPress but it works. It is fully free as of now because I haven’t paid for a custom domain. I haven’t even looked into what a paid plan offers.
The third most convenient is my Hugo website for BBB. Go gets easily installed and deploying the site once you’ve put in the initial work of choosing a theme is minimal. I like that there’s flexibility there in terms of how I want my structure to be etc. Being a programmer, there’s some lee-way there. But the limitation there for me is I am not very good with UI. So if you check the website, the roughness will show. The plus point though is that I only pay for the domain name on Bigrock and hosting is on Github pages . Approx 1.6k per year for the domain name , security etc.
The last and most tedious is my Jekyll website. While it’s posh-er than the BBB website, Ruby is a pain to work with on some machines. So I don’t like it much. I will migrate this eventually.
I used to use Medium and some of my friends still do. There is a lot of discovery that’s possible for your articles because of related “Medium publishers” picking up your writing based on the content, tags etc, but the reason I stopped using it is because I started seeing articles being put under a Premium paywall even when the content was sub-par. An elitist’s garden that doesn’t let most people smell the flowers. That didn’t sit well with me and I’ve since migrated all my content to one of the above mentioned sites. But if you want to use it, that’s up to you. It is convenient to publish on Medium akin to Substack.
If all you want is to pick up a place to write on and just …write, WordPress/Substack are your best options.
If you feel like you’d like to take up the technical challenges of setting up your Static Page Generator, Hugo or Jekyll or Ghost are good alternatives!
The end goal however shouldn’t be lost in all this hungama – Writing.