March 2015 by Tobias Günther

Building Your Own Blog

It's 2015 - and yet we just relaunched our blog with a custom, home-made solution. We're well aware of all the great blogging platforms and systems out there. But we had a couple of good reasons to go custom.

Blogging Platforms

Medium, Svbtle, Tumblr, Ghost, ... A lot of great blogging platforms are available today. The developers and designers of these platforms really know their subject: they have an elegant design and were built with great technology in the background. But with all of this being said, using such a platform also has some unavoidable drawbacks.

First, you're limited to what features the platform offers. Some allow you to customize stuff here and there. But you can't have it completely your way.
What might be more severe, though, is that your fate is in their hands. What if the platform's popularity fades - to the point where development may slow down or even come to a halt. It doesn't have to be that drastic to still be problematic: what if the platform decides to make a relaunch? Maybe features that you relied on are taken away. Or the visual appearance is changed in a way that doesn't fit your audience anymore.

The most important aspect, however, may be that of branding: To be even mildly successful with a blog, you need to establish your own, unique brand. And this is extremely hard to do on a third-party platform. For example when you cannot use your own domain name. When you can't customize the appearance to be unique. Or when you're missing an important feature.

Wordpress

So why not take Wordpress (the most popular blogging software by far) and install it on your own server? You could use your own domain name. You could customize the design. And you could even write your own plugins to extend the functionality with hardly no limits.
Just like the "platform" option, this one comes with its own drawbacks. Using the most popular web software on the planet also means you're using one of the most popular hacking targets. Every plugin you install can be your coffin nail: if it proves to have a security breach you better be the first one to find out about this. I've had a first-hand experience of what it means to not keep each and every plugin up-to-date. And it wasn't funny...

Additionally, you might find that you don't need all the features of such a huge system. Quite the contrary: you will most likely only need a fraction. Having all those features and plugins at hand, however, brings a great amount of complexity with it.

A lot of smaller content management systems that have emerged in the last few years give another reason for not choosing Wordpress: they get along without a database, which solves a common performance bottleneck and a common breaking point.

Build Your Own

Building it yourself can give you the blog that is perfect for you: a lean system that contains only what you need and use. This means easy maintenance, great performance and less security headaches (if done right).

You might even find that building your own blog takes less time than you think. And most importantly, of course: it's fun!

We've published a little course on how to design & build your own blog: hop over to our learning area and take the course. It's free!