Minimum Viable Blogging

Published on by David A. Kennedy

No one has nailed the minimal blogging platform yet.

A few recent entires have sprung up, and I’m watching the space to see how they develop. I can’t help it, as I love seeing how web publishing tools evolve. It takes a lot to make an easy website possible. I appreciate the speed, simplicity and customizability of static site generators, but miss typing into a simple text editor on the web. I moved to Eleventy a few years ago and toyed with Kirby.

I thought it would be fun to share what I’d want in a minimal viable blogging platform:

A managed platform: I don’t want to manage servers, update the software or have to worry about routine site maintenance. When I’ve used a managed platform in the past, I’ve blogged more.

A simple web editor: I want a box I can type words into and push a “publish” button to get it out there. I’d skip a block editor with heavy design or layout customization. It should support Markdown. Static site generators have advantages, but fiddling with the build tools gets annoying if you just to to write.

Accessible markup and tools: The code the editor generates on the frontend should output simple, accessible HTML. The editor itself should also be accessible and usable per web standards.

Design customization and personalization: I don’t mean “theming” here. That implies full customization, and the more access to possibilities I have, the less I write. I’d like a way to change colors, fonts and markup patterns. Those markup patterns could be image galleries, posts lists, site menus and footer content.

Solid performance: The resulting site can build dynamically or statically, but should take performance into account. It should use caching and content delivery networks when possible to make sure content gets to people as fast as possible.

A way to export data: I should be able to get my content out of the platform in a standard format and take it elsewhere. Don’t lock me in and instead, give me a one-click export.

A way to customize URLs and handle redirects: Cool URLs don’t change, except when they do and you need a way to maintain the old ones. I prefer the trailing slash because it many platforms expect it. But give me a way to make sure all my old URLs work, and I’ll manage.

I doubt I’ll ever find the perfect platform, but this would be a great start.

Tagged Blogging