I stopped writing about my Quest for The One Blog for a very good reason: I gave up on it. What I want to do is essentially impossible unless I develop the blogging platform from scratch myself (or fork one of the open source projects). It’s within my skillset to do that, but I just don’t have the time or motivation or funds for it. (But hey, if anyone is interested in Kickstarting it, let me know!)
So I suppose I need to figure out how to shoehorn my blogging goals into what’s available on the mainstream blogging platforms.
I wanted to change web hosts. I still do. I’m thinking about trying out Bluehost. They offer a plan that works for me. I’ve seen people recommend it, I’ve seen people leaving it. In the absence of any other data, I figure one web host is just as good as another: Meaning there’s roughly a 50/50 chance it will be good or bad. All you can do is try them and hope to get lucky.
I considered managed hosting. But that’s just not going to happen unless I can count on making money from blogging, and that’s definitely not going to happen. I’ve never once received an email from anyone trying to buy space on my blog. (Then again, I don’t actually read the email associated with my blog very often.) So I’ll continue with one of those $5/month Linux shared hosting plans.
I said I don’t like WordPress, but it’s the clear winner in terms of audience reach. Heavy sigh. It’s the VHS winning out over Beta, all because of superior marketing, all over again. Super heavy sigh.
As much as I hate the WordPress backend from a software developer perspective, from a user perspective, “it just works.” And as Aywren recently noted, and others, there is a huge WordPress ecosystem that comes built-in to even self-hosted WordPress installations.
But here’s the thing: There’s a lot of cruft that accumulates in a WordPress blog. After 5 years now (6 years? I don’t remember), my media library is an absolute nightmare. God help me if I ever want to find or retrieve anything from there. It’s like a Windows installation after a few years-everything’s slow and bloated and festering with entropy.
So I definitely do not want to simply move my existing blog to a new host as-is. I want to hit a “reset” button and start rebuilding a clean, new database.
Which means I have an opportunity to “re-brand” here. If/when I move to a new host, I will probably rename the site to something a little more personalized. Something that says, “a person lives here,” as opposed to Endgame Viable, which just says, “this is a publication.”
I’ve always been flustered and flummoxed that “my site” and “my identify” are two different things. My Twitter handle is @endgameviable, which is the name of the site, not my name. It bugs me a great deal. That’s something I want to correct going forward. So it’s almost certain I will rename that handle someday.
Back to the blog, the question for me is, how do I merge everything all together into one site in a way that it doesn’t self-destruct? I want to maintain at least a real name developer identity, a writing identity, and a musician identity. Brands, as it were, that can be marketed to the appropriate marketplace. (I view the gaming identity as a kind of subset of the developer and writing identities, not really a “brand” in itself. Hence the reason I don’t really have a “personal brand” for Endgame Viable.)
The only thing I can think of to do is to create a new “umbrella” site that has a fairly generic and unspecific name, but is clearly a personal identity. Then create a few sub-blogs underneath the umbrella entity.
That way if you come to the main site, the umbrella site as it were, you would get a feed of all my blog posts about every conceivable subject. You would know it’s “me” because the umbrella site will have a name that strongly associates it with “me.” But there would still be these satellite blogs with more specific topics.
I’m not entirely sure how to implement that in WordPress. It sounds like something that would be perfect for a multiblog, but I don’t think it is. The experiments I’ve done with WordPress multiblogs have allowed the creation of two or more parallel blogs, but not any kind of hierarchical structure. I want to create something like a parent blog, with three or more child blogs.
I think it might be time to install WordPress on my Ubuntu server and start playing with it. Heavy sigh.
Then there’s the rather intimidating prospect of thinking of a new blog name, one that will be unique across all social media, catchy, and a personal identity. Huge heavy sigh.