Started with WordPress, ended with Hugo

Posted on July 1, 2020 with 737 words.

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Photo from GoHugo

How much was your first salary? We need to inspire the young generation.

This was on my Facebook News Feed a couple of days ago when I remembered how I started blogging. I was a freelance blogger and the pay was decent at that time. You get $5 for a 50-word article while you get around $25-$30 for a 250- or 300-word article.

I started out with Xanga when I was in high school. Most of my classmates were blogging through the platform which prompted me to make one. We shared everything there. From what is going on that day to probably school announcements because, if I remembered it correctly, it has a dashboard where it shows updates when you’re subscribed to someone.

Eventually, the Xanga hype died down which prompted me to move to Blogspot but I wasn’t feeling it so I signed up with Multiply instead.

One faithful night, while me and my friends were talking about blogging, someone introduced us to Blogie. He was really into blogging and I think he was also a community leader for bloggers in the metro. He gave us tips about blogging and he told us to use WordPress. Both me and my other friend, who was into blogging, were convinced and moved our stuff to WordPress.

The platform was so young at that time (v2.3). I was blogging almost everyday writing anything under the sun. SEO at that time was easy as well. I was able to afford to buy my first personal domain and a web host because of my blog.

I stopped blogging around 2009-2010 because I was so busy with school. I was about to make comeback into blogging with WordPress but discovered Posterous which lets you post articles using your email.

When Posterous announced that they are going to stop their service after being acquired by Twitter, I stopped writing. This was also the time I was working.

Two years ago, the .com domain was having a massive sale where it only costs about almost Php 4,000 or $80 for a 10-year contract. This is considered a I didn’t think twice of buying the domain.

I don’t know what prompted me to use Hugo but after buying the domain, I had to look for a web host. This is a drawback when using WordPress. You have to shell out more money because you’re paying for a web host and the domain. Although there are free alternatives out there but we all know nothing is free nowadays.

WordPress is a dynamic blogging software. Meaning most of the work happens server-side and another drawback is when your site is hacked. Once your site is hacked, you will lose access to your data and you will lose your investment. Lucky if you will be able to recover your account. There are tools out there that could help protect your web host and your site but with a price.

Hugo is a static site generator (SSG) writting in Go and it’s super-fast! You write your posts in Markdown. Once done, Hugo takes the markdown file and coverts (or builds) it to HTML with CSS. Your code lives in git (Github, Gitlab, or Bitbucket) and gets deployed via a CDN network (Netlify, Vercel, or similar).

The problem with this approach is you have to take some extra steps. In WordPress, once you’ve finished installing the app, you grab a theme from WordPress themes and you begin writing away. With static site generators, you have to familiarize yourself with how git works and you have to familiarize yourself with basic HTML, CSS and Javascript. Although there are apps that would help you focus on content once you’ve fully set-up your site. Git-based apps are Forestry and Netlify CMS.

Most people who uses static site generators are developers. I’ve also seen a few graphic artists who also went with this approach. I’m not a developer but I loved this approach because it eliminates the need for a web server. There is no way my website will be hacked because I don’t have an admin panel. Everything is served as-is. I also get to learn HTML, CSS, and Javascript further as well as Go which powers Hugo.

I was also able to use the new WordPress (v5.4.2) and its new editor. I was used to TinyMCE but I like the SSG approach instead. It eliminates my need to have a web server.

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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