Last week, one of my favorite video games, SimCity, turned 25. In the interview, SimCity That I Used to Know, creator Will Wright shares insights about the game.
Two weeks ago I moved this site to WordPress.com. Sure, it means I might actually have a chance of blogging more because I don’t have to worry about any of the technical details of running my own WordPress install. But what else does it mean?
In this post, I’ll dive into some of the other reasons I’m enjoying WordPress.com in my first two weeks here. Full disclosure: I work for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.
WordPress.com helped me simplify the overall structure of my site. Before I moved, I pared down my content in a big way. I consolidated two custom post types (projects and photo albums) and one other blog (a photo blog) into this site. Yes, I could have kept some of the custom post types, like projects, but I don’t need them for the amount of work I want to display.
Many people who have to choose between WordPress.com and WordPress.org think they need to be able to do anything and everything. But they don’t most of the time. That flexibility often comes with too much responsibility for them to handle or that they want to handle. Sometimes, this even includes web developers like me who just want to write a personal blog.
The Plugins I Need
When I self-hosted my site, it seemed I was always trying this new plugin or that popular plugin. At WordPress.com, I have all I need and not much more. I don’t have to keep an eye out for what’s new and what the best plugin is that does “A” or “B” because someone else does that for me.
Similarly to plugins, I also don’t have to worry about backups. On my self-hosted site, I used VaultPress to back everything up. It was awesome, and thankfully, I never had to restore from a backup, but I still paid for it. WordPress.com has me covered there.
I came from DreamPress, another service I enjoyed immensely (I still have a hosting account with Dreamhost). However, when you use WordPress.com, you know your site and the architecture behind it will be as fast as possible. A lot of people take this for granted when they sign up for a WordPress.com account.
Easy Theme Switches
I build themes for WordPress.com and that gets me excited each day so it makes sense I should try some out on my personal site. I plan to switch themes more often than I did when I self-hosted. That should be easier since I’m not building every single one and sometimes switching will be more about putting myself in our users’ shoes than anything else.
When you write a blog, sometimes you feel like you’re on an island. I’ve only written mine since 2009, but the posts where you get comments or a stats spike are few and far between. Building an audience takes time, but with WordPress.com I have a better shot at a bigger, more passionate audience. Things like subscriptions, likes, sharing and more help with all that. We’ll see how it goes.
I used Feedbin for more than a year after Google Reader went away. I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t perfect. The WordPress.com Reader isn’t either. I miss being able to group RSS subscriptions with tags, but I like its simplicity. It keeps me close to blogging and helps me discover great content – those are the important things. I’ve also been using it more on my iPhone 5s as a news source.
We’ll see how it goes once I get a few months behind me. Will I blog more? Will I have more visitors and comments? Will my topics be more varied?
Recently, WebAIM announced it would release a Chrome extension version of Wave, its popular web accessibility testing tool. Wave has a popular Firefox add-on and web version, both tools that have always proved indispensable in my accessibility testing.
Plus, WebAIM is also celebrating its 15th birthday! :) I’m excited to see what happens with the Chrome extension, especially since Chrome is my primary development browser.
Finding people who truly inspire you can be hard these days. Much less, real people who you might meet in your field that come from diverse backgrounds.
That may get easier. :)
Oneforone is a game where you pick an inspiring hotshot in your field to add to a list, but people can see who you’ve selected and the whole idea is to pick people from underrepresented groups. Created by Deanna Zandt, Melissa Pierce and Andrew Rasiej, the Tech Lady Mafia has a version of the game going for Ada Lovelace Day (hint: that’s today!).
Who would you add? I added someone who I worked with at The Arc that inspires me.
You can read more about the nexus of the game here. I bet this list will be one to watch!
Servers may now be cheap but people are the same. Some sent me emails like “username zergblaster” and nothing else, because they have been taught that the web is a robot that dispenses things for their pleasure. These people are kind of useless, but it’s okay, maybe we’ll help them learn HTML. Many, many more people wrote me about how much they missed the old web, that sense of quiet and intimacy and patient thought—writing, coding, and learning as they went.
This made sense to me, because I miss it too. The modern social web is a miracle of progress but also a status-driven guilt-spewing shit volcano. (Then again, without Twitter no one would know about tilde.club.) Back in the 1990s—this will sound insane—some of us paid a lot of money for our tilde accounts, like $30 or $40 a month or sometimes much more. We paid to reach strangers with our weird ideas. Whereas now, as everyone understands, brands pay to know users.
Via I had a couple drinks and woke up with 1,000 nerds. Hat tip: Zeldman.
Joe O’Conner talks Accessible WordPress with Whitney Quesenbery on the A Web for Everyone podcast.
It’s fascinating to listen to the stories and origins behind the beginnings of the Web.
Saturday morning cartoon are no more. Personally, I’ll miss the chance to watch them in the traditional way, like I did, with my daughter.