(This is a weeknote: a weekly update of the behind-the-scenes work and thinking that goes into being an independent web publisher. You can read past weeknotes here)
In Consistency is Easier Than You Think, CJ Chilvers writes about how consistency wins, more often than not. What I love, and what I have been wrestling with on my own work, is his thinking about the things that get in the way of his publishing on his blog consistently. He makes a list of things that get in the way of a regular publishing schedule that is pretty much the same list I have in my head.
Strip everything away that poses a threat to consistency.
- Photography decisions
- Design decisions
- Aggregation decisions
- Content length
- SEO considerations
- Email deliverability optimizations
- Social integrations
- What’s personal vs. what the audience wants
The last two weeks in particular and this year in general have been about paring down my online work.
It’s worth noting that virtually none of these were problems in 2005. Back then, we just posted things on our blog. Maybe 3 sentences. Maybe a picture. People read via RSS, or they just periodically checked in, as we do with social media now.
Social Media is a hellscape that has a lot to answer for, but one thing they have done remarkably well is reduce the amount of friction in sharing the things you make.
I moved my blog earlier this month from Humidity and Hope to the oldest URL I own – hughlh.com. I got a Twitter account sixteen years ago this month, back when it was easy to get the username you wanted. I got hughlh, which has been my preferred username ever since. I bought that domain name shortly after.
I shut down the site Humidity and Hope because it was limiting – I want to write about more than how to live a good life in the Deep South, which had led to my creating other sites and platforms, but each of those demanded maintenance, so they became chores and added friction to the process, which meant I didn’t write…
So, right now, my online platform looks like my personal website, this blog, and a weekly newsletter. Blog posts are crossposted to a variety of platforms (see the list in the sidebar –>). Right now, some posts will be published in full on my personal Facebook page, but you can’t count on that. If Facebook is your primary platform, you should “like” my professional page over there, where each post is autoposted.
I have had things hosted at Name.com for years, but over the last few years their customer service has gone way down. They hid the phone numbers, email tickets take days to get a response – not ideal when you have an outage – and God help you if you try to use their chat with an agent feature. When they screwed up something as simple as a URL redirect, I had had enough.
I moved my blog’s hosting over to Namecheap, which has 24-hour chat and their WordPress hosting packages still give you FTP access, which name.com didn’t do.
There is a lot of information out there in the world about hosting options if you want to spend real money, but we small-timers don’t need much beyond a shared hosting account. Namecheap should do me fine until the New York Times links to me and I go viral and my whole website crashes from the struggle. I dream of problems like that.