Until a few days ago, I wrote on Hey World for those who don’t know. Recently, in light of all that’s happened with Basecamp, we decided that we will be moving away from the product. Now a self-hosted WordPress site is my new home for my thoughts.
I thought that since I just got this setup, I might as well throw out how this site is built if anyone wants to make something similar. First, it all starts with a self-hosted WordPress solution. This site is not built on WordPress.com – you have limited control that way. I threw this site on a server on Siteground I use for small projects, and our company uses for (some) testing; that’s about $30/m for shared hosting. You could, of course, find something cheaper or even free, but I already had this available. I’d recommend Flywheel or Siteground for anything WordPress-related.
In terms of the actual stack this site is built on; it uses the Rain by Flutterum theme. It’s a very minimalistic theme, and for the most part I like it, however the lack of customizability and the way some plugins play with it bothers me. We had to edit the code just to change some colors in primary locations. Perhaps over the course of the next few weeks we’ll explore other options for themes. There’s a ton of great free and paid themes out there. For other WordPress projects normally we’ll use Astra or Divi, but we wanted to keep this lightweight.
In terms of plugins, there’s only three. First, Email posts to subscribers which sends these posts out to subscribers of the blog as soon as they are posted. Overall, I like it, however, the optin form on the page is not very customizable and we ran into one issue with email formatting. It’s been getting the job done, though.
Our second plugin is just SiteGround Optimizer which keeps things running smoothly and quickly and easily allows me to flush the cache. And lastly, we have Yoast SEO — SEO really isn’t a huge worry to me with this blog, but there’s no harm in installing it. I’m just running the free version right now, but maybe we’ll eventually purchase a paid license. Either way, it’s much better than our SEO performance on Hey World, which wasn’t even indexed.
Obviously, this site is the bare minimum of what’s possible, and it was thrown together in less than an hour by myself (I like doing little projects like this from time to time to keep myself fresh). I’m sure we’ll make improvements over the coming weeks/months, but it’s exactly what it needs to be and nothing more.
It’s crazy, because I’ve used WordPress for about everything but a blog. We’ve built courses, communities, request platforms, payment platforms, e-commerce shops, funnels, static sites and more. But the core product is really a blogging platform. And I never realized how good it was until now. The core product actually runs pretty fast when you’re just using it to blog, and it has all the features you need while keeping a clean UI. I’m excited to see what comes out of this new blog.