Coding 5 to 9

Written by Sebastian on May 16, 2014 in General

Hello World!

I wanted to do this for a long time. Write a "Hello World" on a new blog. So here it is. Awesome! But this is not a normal "Hello world" trying to get my feet wet, this is a post on why one should avoid blogging plattforms like Blogspot, where my blog lived up until now.

Quick wins

When I started blogging on Blogger, I did it out of convenience. Nothing to set up, a little configuration and it just worked. Integration with Google Services worked, I could set up IFTTT to send a tweet when a new blog post was released and I it was running on stable Google Servers.

Of course there were issues. I tried to integrate Google AdSense, but I couldn't sign up (and can't today). The form within Blogger for signing up your blog just doesn't work. The rich text editor is a mess and I rant everytime I try to work with it. The traffic shown in Blogger is off by 100% sometimes from what Google Analytics reports. The theming works, but is complex and some stuff just doesn't work.

The long tail

Fed up with the restrictions and mostly because I enjoyed working with Ghost so much, I realized I need to quit Blogger. And that's were the problems begin. Exporting of old blog posts might be possible, but it's a mess. As I used the domain Blogger gave me, I cannot redirect users, which sucks.

This really made me think. How am I going to process? Shall I just continue using Blogger. How am I moving users from my old blog to my new if I set up something new? Will I be able to move Google Traffic from my old blog onto my new?

All this questions wouldn't be an issue if I had made a different decision back when starting my blog. Setting up a custom domain is possible with Blogger and I would be able to change the DNS and run any other blog software I like or any other service. I could set up custom redirects for blog posts and move all the traffic away from Blogger.

Thinking about freedom

This experience made me think about freedom. Some services don't lock you in by design, like Dropbox. Uninstalling the dropbox service on your pc leaves your files where they are now and syncing stops - You can take your business elsewhere. On the other hand, if your workflows are designed around Dropbox, moving away gets harder. That's not an issue with Dropbox. They enable you to do certain thinks which in turn may make it hard to quit Dropbox.

It's the same with Blogger. They are offering a free service and nobody forces me to start or continue using it. I was the one putting blog posts on there and driving traffic to the page. I was the one going with the free domain. I could easily rant about how aweful they are for making exports of blog posts that hard or for not being able to reroute my subdomain. But I could have checked this when I signed up. This is nothing one can expect from a free service.

Fool me once...

I made that mistake and I learned from it. I am running my own blog now. It's using a static site generator named Phrozn, who creates HTML from markdown files. The page is hostet on github pages. I am using my own domain This makes it easy for me to move away from github or Phrozn anytime I want. It also let me control the whole setup. And, writing in Markdown format is just fun!