How to actually start a blog

In this post I'm going to give you some technical advice on how to launch your own blog. Note, however, that this is more of an overview than a step-by-step guide. I want it to be rather high-level since specific instructions change from time to time. I will include 2 approaches: one for beginners and one for technical freaks like me. With this in mind, let's begin.

First, an easy, turn-key solution would be to register an account with a service provider, i.e. a blog hosting platform. My recommendation is to start with a platform that respects your privacy and gives you full control of your data. That's why I chose writefreely in the first place. Fortunately, you don't have to set up your server and deal with any technical stuff. There are many writefreely instances (or servers) out there and you can simply join one of them. For a Polish blog, is a good place to start. When you visit the site, it may look like the registrations are closed but that's just to prevent spam. You can join with an invite that's mentioned on the front page.

Still on the topic of easily accessible solutions: I mention it here because WordPress has become a staple in the blogosphere and beyond. Apart from blogs there are even e-commerce sites based on the app. It's quite easy to run and extend but it might be too much if you just want to have a text blog like me. Still, as a long-time WordPress user, I'm sure it will be an excellent choice for many people. And again, you don't have to be a nerd to set up an account on and start blogging. If you are a nerd though, you can also install WordPress on a web server and have more control over your data and settings. More on that later.

Now, let's briefly discuss some hardcore solutions. These are meant for advanced users. So, if you're technically savvy you can follow my path and set up your own single person writefreely instance. I went with Yunohost because it offers one-click installs of popular software. It's based on Debian so it's super stable and lean. It can be run both locally (say, on a Raspberry Pi) or 'in the cloud' (on a VPS). I'm not going to tell you how to set up Yunohost today because there are many guides online, including the official wiki.

Next, I mentioned you can install WordPress on any web server. So why not use something that we already have. Yes, you guessed it: Yunohost is a perfect solution once again. Just remember: when you go this route you are fully responsible for your data. Yunohost gives you more control and a custom domain, which may me crucial for some people or businesses.

Lastly, I'd like to touch upon the idea of static site generators. True, these are best suited for static sites like your digital portfolio, but once mastered you can employ them as blog engines. I'd only recommend them to people who know what they're doing and to those who really care about security (hard to hack a static webpage) and speed (your browser only loads static content like HTML, CSS, and optionally some JavaScript). For example, I've built my personal homepage with Hugo which is a well established generator. I takes some getting used to but it's optimal for very simple sites (though they might be complex as well).

To sum up, I wanted to give you some ideas on how to start your own blog. If you're a beginner, go with a hosted writefreely instance. WordPress is also good if you prefer something more mainstream. If you're not afraid of self-hosting spin up your own Yunohost server and install some blogging / publishing apps. You can always choose the one that suits you best.

Thanks for reading this short overview. Would you like me to cover some of these topics in more detail? Let me know on the fediverse or drop me an email:

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