Today, I'm moving away from my personal blog that was built by me using Laravel. I'm using WordPress going forward, there are a couple of reasons for this but before I get to those, I'd like to do a review of how I got here.
It's been more than 10 years now since I set up my first blog. When I was high school, I wanted to just find a place to vent or write about anything going on at school, it was more like a personal journal that nobody read. When I turned 18 and started paying for stuff, I bought usmanity.com and started pointing things to it. Since I was rarely writing and I had a crappy homepage, I just decided to point my blog directly to www.usmanity.com. This changed when I realized I wanted to write more and my blog posts weren't going to be the most relevant thing for someone if they're looking for my homepage.
First, I tried blogger, then I moved to tumblr. On tumblr, I went through a lot of internal debate about what sort of blog posts I should be posting. I still think tumblr is a middle ground between twitter and a full blog. It made sense when twitter was limited to 140 characters and mobile apps weren't that great. But I realized that tumblr is a great place if you like reblogging and sharing interesting things but not if you just want a personal blog that's filled of random information. Then I moved to Posterous, mainly because it was new, cool, and super simple. This didn't last long. I abandoned Posterous as it was also a great platform where I couldn't write much on. For all these, I was to blame.
By 2014, I had been doing this so much that I was basically addicted to switching my blogging platform every 6-12 months. In 2014, Ghost came out and they announced they were going to be on DigitalOcean, and because of this, I decided it was time I moved to my own blog so I would have control over it. This was fun, you can see an archived version of this blog here: Wayback Machine. Ghost had promised a lot of features by v1 didn't deliver all those but still, I wrote pretty actively on this one. I posted some photos, I tried to write some things going on but mostly just intermittent updates about me.
Personal blog built by me
In 2017, I was learning more about PHP and I had been looking to practice Laravel so I decided, why not build my own blog using Laravel so I can learn + add whatever features I wanted. The initial setup and work to get the blog off the ground took me a weekend to write (Laravel helped a lot). This was probably the first time I was really interested in my blogging since I had started.
I was writing more often. I wanted to add pagination, it took me about 2 hours from when I decided I wanted to add that to getting it on the live blog.
But building your own blog means you're going to have to start testing everything by hand (if you don't have tests written) and then you'll be responsible for updates, bug fixes, security patches, and anything else that comes up. This led me to a big problem, I still haven't figured out a good deployment flow. This meant that I had a tough time updating the blog whenever I made code changes to the blog code. As this problem loomed over my head, I got less and less motivated to write.
My favorite post I wrote on the laravel blog was about my late cat Bilo, I'm going to be republishing that after this post to make sure it's always available to read. It took a lot of courage for me to write that post.
So, why WordPress now?
Hopefully, the review gives you a good idea of different issues I've had with many blogging platforms (including my own). And now, I want to explain why I chose WordPress. Throughout the whole 10 years that I had some version of a blog, I resisted using WordPress. It always sounded too much for my purposes. I had been believing that and I was didn't want to be convinced that it could fit my needs. And because I never installed it and tried it, I didn't want to think I was wrong.
In January, I made a post on Medium and it was way more popular than anything I had posted on my own blog but it was an informational post. My blog is about thoughts, opinions, short snippets, quotes, songs, photos, and anything else I want to post. In the last few years, my social profiles have taken up a sort of specific categorization that's cultural and limiting. For instance, Medium is probably the best platform for sharing knowledge, company updates, or posting opinions. But, it's not the best to post a short update (think a twitter), it's not the best for posting one photo of an event (like Instagram), and it's definitely not the best to have discussions on (like Reddit, or personal discussions like Facebook). But it is a great platform for posting general information that can become part of a large set of information. I rarely see people post on Medium about things going on in their lives.
I want to use my blog as a platform for writing about anything and I hope if you're following my posts, you don't mind the occasional photo with no caption or a snippet instead of a well-organized and articulated post.