We should all be bloggers again

Maybe it’s not all that complicated. Over the last few days since Threads launched (and even before that, when I tried to be active on Twitter) I’ve been having a social media identity crisis. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Over the years, I’ve tried digital gardening, not using social media at all, using are.na like a social platform, being all up on discord, being an instagram influencer, rejecting the idea of being an influencer entirely (and archiving all my posts), joining open source privacy discussions on github and mastodon, all of the new platforms like geneva, tiktok, substack, even meeting people on soundcloud.


Why have I let the big corporations and platforms dictate how I express myself online? I even had the weird thought earlier today that people should be platforms themselves.


This whole thing is too complicated. The whole digital gardening movement, too. (My Jekyll garden keeps breaking).

Let’s just simplify it and go back to basics. Like 00’s basics, when we one click installed our own PHP software on a cheap server and got it to run as fast as possible so we could get to writing content. And the open source self-publishing 🦣 mammoth in the room is WordPress.


The self-publishing revolution isn’t about over-complicated technical solutions or the inherent wall between regular people and those who can understand how to deploy custom static site generators and plugins.

The self-publishing revolution has to be simple and accessible by the masses.

The self-publishing revolution, today, has to mirror DIY zine culture of the 80s and 90s. I’m talking photocopiers and staples.

The self-publishing revolution has to be in plain English—no high brow or over-intellectualized thesis papers. No barriers to understanding.

Because the goal is to get as many people as possible off of stuff like Meta, and Twitter, and these platforms that are really limiting to your self expression.

I’ve said for a while—I want more people to make their own websites.

But the harsh truth is, a very low % of people are actually going to learn to code.

So it has to be WordPress, I think. Many of y’all reading this were not alive to learn how to install WordPress in the early 00’s, so let me teach you how! It’s easy!

How to do wordpress

  1. Obtain a cheap shared hosting server and domain name (Dreamhost is good for both. I personally use Dreamhost for domains and Krystal.uk for hosting)
  2. Buy the cheapest hosting plan (Dreamhost is $4.95/mo for the cheapest plan, on a monthly un-discounted rate. You get unlimited storage space and 5 subdomains—so you could actually make 6 WP sites for this price). Do not fall for the upsells to a WordPress specific plan. You do not need it.
  3. Once you’re in, log in to your CPanel or account dashboard (if it’s Dreamhost they don’t use CPanel, so just get in to your hosting admin)
  4. Locate the one click WordPress install
  5. Click the button to install it
  6. Follow WordPress setup instructions

That’s basically it???!?

And OK fine, you could also make a free site on wordpress.com instead of paying for your own server and domain.

But there are also some things you’ve gotta do to customize it and make sure you don’t open up the doors to internet viagra salesmen in your comments.

Steps you gotta do

  • Activate Akismet Anti-Spam plugin
  • Install and activate WP Strip Image Metadata plugin to remove geodata from your image uploads
  • Install and activate Jetpack (Free) for the image CDN to speed up your site
  • Install Google Analytics to see your traffic
  • Set up some kind of newsletter subscription (I like Buttondown but you could also do Mailchimp)

If more people became traditional bloggers, wouldn’t the world be a better place? The categories and organization here work so much better for my brain than the platform constraints we see on social media.

Isn’t this a social media site, technically? Can we get some blogrolls going again, like we used to do?

Can’t this be a single place where I archive my whole life? What am I even doing lately? It doesn’t fit in to a single social media platform. I need more features, and more freedom. And instead of reinventing the wheel, why don’t we just use the software that powers the majority of websites on the internet already?

Since you weren’t looking, WordPress added the following features:

  • Markdown support
  • Wiki links with [[
  • Giphy block plugin
  • Template blocks with custom date formatting (incl last modified)
  • Blocks for soundcloud embeds, youtube embeds, and video upload
  • New native template editor removes need for PHP edits, making the whole install more secure (now everything is a custom plugin instead)
  • Basically WordPress is coming for Squarespace in ease of use

Plus the stuff it already had like:

  • Query loops for categories
  • Nested categories
  • RSS Feeds built in
  • Image gallery blocks with captions

What do you think? Did I miss any WordPress tips? Write them in the comments below!

Do you disagree with my conclusion on how to exist online nowadays? Tell me about it! I want to hear what you think!

3 responses to “We should all be bloggers again”

  1. I really enjoyed this blog and your recent newsletter! I’ve also been suffering from social media fatigue and want to get back into blogging and RSS feeds.

    I’ve always had an aversion to WordPress though, so I’ve been using Publii to make websites these past few years.

  2. nice write up!

    “Once you’re in, log in to your CPanel or account dashboard (if it’s Dreamhost they don’t use CPanel, so just get in to your hosting admin)”

    I think it might help some people if you lightly clarify what CPanel is, or how you typically reach the account dashboard.

    1. Good point! There’s definitely a lot here that I should expand upon.

      I’m thinking if enough people are curious, I’ll do a workshop or a course on WordPress Self-Publishing

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