The Artisan Web

Date: 2022-11-27 · Word Count: 622 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

I don’t post quite as regularly here as I would like to, I’m currently spending more time thinking about updates to [Dive Coaching Australia][]. Having said that, I very much agree with John Scalzi’s post on making the web a better place: own your content. Use a blog or other site you control for the majority of what you write.

Yeah, it’s a bit of extra work. It’s also much more empowering and it reduces the amount of money flowing towards amoral billionaires and the ad industry.

How to get started?

Well, first, get a hosting platform. If you’re technically inclined, you can do what I do and setup a FreeBSD machine in a colo or hosting provider such as Hetzner. I use Hetzner as it’s located in Germany and they have some of the most stringent privacy laws in the world. FreeBSD is easy to work with, easy to maintain and secure. The documentation is also excellent. I put every service in it’s own jail, which is a fair bit of extra work you don’t need to do; I do it as an enthusiast and professional. If you are self hosting, awesome self hosted is a great place to start for finding free software to run your platform on.

While you could then produce hand crafted HTML, I strongly recommend using a static site generator, such as Hugo. It’s much easier and faster to generate your content and lots of themes to choose from.

If you’re not technically inclined, and not interested in adding that skill set, there are hosting platforms which will provide a full service suite. There are lots to choose from. I don’t use these so I have no strong recommendations other than to avoid those run by oligarchic billionaires. Features you must have:

  • Personal domain support
  • Secure transport, aka TLS (also known as SSL or “certificates”). This is the S in HTTPS
  • Feed support (also known as RSS or ATOM). Don’t forget to ensure that it’s easy for people to find your feed on your site.
  • Unlimited bandwidth. Getting slashdotted shouldn’t take your site offline.
  • Export. You don’t want to be stuck on their platform.

If you are using a platform, I strongly recommend creating your content on your personal computer and then uploading/pasting it into the platform. That way, you have a safe copy.

Next you’ll need a domain. Again, there are many options in this space. If you’re using a full service provider, they’ll probably also include this. If not, then there’s plenty of options. I personally use Namecheap. Having your own domain lets you move your site around and also add that personal touch to it. You’re not pinned to someone else’s platform and everyone knows where to find your content.

Also make sure you setup SSL. This can be done for free using Let’s Encrypt or similar services if you’re running your server. It’s a critical feature that you want out of a hosting provider too.

Next, tell your friends about it. Sign up to each others feeds here’s mine (and here’s the one for Dive Coaching Australia using a feed reader. I use and love Miniflux.

Then start creating content. Instead of posting what you create on some huge social media site, drop it onto your site and then link to it from social media (just like you’d do if you were linking a news article).

Speaking of friends, here’s links to the friends whose sites I know about (alphabetical order, names are shortened to what they publicly publish):

Know me but don’t see a link to your blog here? Message me, I’d love to see what you’re making!