So this is the first my test of playing out a full featured blog. I think it’s worth it for me to keep notes for myself, just to remember what went into making this thing happen…
Step 1: Figure out which platform to use.
I decided that it was time to move beyond the training wheels of a blogger/blogspot page. I needed something that I could also use as a professional landing page. After reminding myself that I really don’t have the time or skill to build my own page from scratch, I decided that I needed to land on either a Squarespace or WordPress back end.I’ve done some Squarespace development before, but it seems more relevant for store fronts and gallery sites rather than what I was looking for. WordPress seemed a tiny bit more flexible and customizable, so that’s the way I went.
Step 2: Where and how should I host?
There are really two options here: host on WordPress.com or self host. I decided that hosting on WordPress.com was effectively going to be similar to using Squarespace, and I wanted to have something that at lest felt a bit more DIY than that so I went with a self hosted site.There are metric tons of blog posts out there comparing hosting sites. Most of this really seems to be an issue for sites that expect high traffic (50 or more concurrent users). I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Step 3: Install WordPress
Follow the instruction page here on Mr. Money Mustache’s page describing exactly the steps one needs to follow to get their blog up and running. His (and Mrs. Money Mustache’s) writing is awesome and it recent enough that you can effectively follow it line by line.
Step 4: Pick and theme and go
I went with “Skeptical”, since it was relatively clean. I tried a few other themes with fancier things (slide bars, etc, some of which worked, some of which didn’t), and may transition away from something as simple as what Skeptical can give you. I’ll update this post as I adjust the theme if I find out that Skeptical doesn’t do everything that I want it to do.
(Update 2015/01/29: I switched over to the standard “2015” WordPress theme for now. Skeptical turned out to be a little bit too sparse for me.)
Additional Steps Go here
Find a good photo site. Everyone needs that catchy image at the top of their blog posts to really get the point across. When I’m not doing science I need something that’s not just a pretty picture. I’ve found that http://photopin.com provides access to a boatload of images in the CreativeCommons license. I’m using things under the “Commercial License” just in case.
The image header for this post can be found here. The photo credit and creative commons license are below. This is mostly just an example to myself of how to do this…