I’ve tried many blogging platforms and generators, but I still return to Jekyll. I don’t consider it “the best” platform, but I do consider it my platform of choice.
Over the time I’ve run my own website, I’ve developed my own custom set of requirements:
Back when this first launched, it seemed like an ideal way to host my site. I could post any tutorial I wanted to create. As I started writing, however, I came across a few “deal breakers” that eventually just resulted in me leaving the platform:
Not the blogging software, but the actual platform. I tried this out as Wordpress began to pick up adoption and mindshare within the various communities I was either a part of, or just lurking. As with Blogger, it was incredibly easy to setup an account and a site. I liked the theme choices available and got into things right away. Also similar to Blogger, I ran into similar issues that resulted in me leaving the platform:
Not the blogging platform but the actual software that makes up Wordpress. After leaving the platform, I decided to buy my domain and spin up my own instance of the Wordpress software on a homemade LAMP stack. I then entered a non-productive cycle whereby I’d be far too focused on the actual theme I was using and not the content. Rookie mistake.
However, I could install any Wordpress plugin I wanted, and - most importantly - this was running on my own domain, ergo I could control my own message and branding.
A few downsides started to rear their heads, beyond my constant FOMO of my Wordpress theme:
Who could ever forget that ridiculously catchy Drupal song?
To be honest, I never gave Drupal a real shot. At the time I discovered it, it just seemed way too complex for the simple site I had in mind to build.
It’s still kicking in 2019, so the crew must be doing something right.
Being a frontend developer and into React, I’ve always had a loose eye on Gatsby. It’s a neat project and I very nearly ported my entire content to make use of it. Its theme structure is pretty solid, and it provides a good foundation with the use of GraphQL. It’s a great solution for building a website following serverless principles.
However, for myself, I was starting to notice a few issues:
This current website is on Jekyll, and I’ve been overall pleased with how it looks and operates. I can create any site / blog structure I want, post demos, embed any media and adding shopping cart support if I want, etc. If I change my hosting provider tomorrow, I just need to press a button and re-upload my site content.
Page and Post templates are straight forward enough to update and fiddle with. The documentation is fairly complete and covers a lot of the use cases you might encounter while putting your website together.
There are plenty of Jekyll theme sites available, and it’s still in active development.
That’s a quick and brief rundown of the different website platforms and software packages that I’ve tried through the years. I certainly don’t want to give you the impression that the options I didn’t choose are “no good”, they just weren’t good for me. If you’ve put your website or blog on one of these options, or anything else, and are happy with it – then go with that! Feeling good about your website or blog is critical to keeping it updated!
Note: Also try to remember that as my website has evolved through the years, so to have the software and platforms that were evaluated. While there are certain network / business level limitations that will likely never evolve, the platforms revolving around actual software can change over time. The points I raised when I tried out the software may no longer be valid today.