Avoiding the IT blackhole
Over the years I’ve undertaken a lot of IT tasks and become exceedingly sick of many. Some jobs I need to do, either for personal reasons or out of necessity, but in some cases I’ve just made my life harder for no good reason. A case in point would be my website.
In the past I’ve run my own Virtual Private Server (VPS) with a website I built myself from scratch using Expressionengine. While this was an interesting diversion and a wonderful piece of extraordinarily flexible software, for my purposes it was like using a hydrogen-bomb to make toast.
Historically this was because I couldn’t find a good enough ‘plug-in toaster’ but the modern version of WordPress, particularly when hosted here on WordPress.com, fits my blogging needs very well. Crucially it also avoids all the awful and time consuming IT tasks such as software updates, database backups, theme development and testing (on every browser and device known-to-man), version control, deployment issues, re-checking the site online, having to cope with hacking attempts, the endless securing from spamming, etc, etc…
When you have little time for blogging, you really just want to concentrate on writing posts and uploading galleries. Not get completely lost in the administrative tasks and design / coding of the website. Being able to buy a quality, fully tested theme that is installed with one-click is a godsend. As is leaving the updating of the site’s code and data backup to other people.
WordPress now allows me to present my images and scribblings attractively and simply. It’s changed considerably since I stopped using it in favour of my own Expressionengine site some years ago and now has most of the features that I looked elsewhere for – such as versioning, revision previews, better media handling, Markdown support and website building tools. It’s nowhere near as powerful as Expressionengine but it is powerful enough for what I need.
It is also very reasonably priced, but not free – at least not for me. I want my domain name linking and adverts removed, both of which are paid options.
Finally, there’s Flickr. Previously I used this to display my images but I’ve now decided the slideshows take too long to set up and link to WordPress posts. It’s easier to just insert pictures directly into a post here and this also allows me to interweave supporting text. I won’t be using gallery posts though, I found them difficult to use and unreliable. It was actually the main reason I previously moved to Flickr.