Blogging with blot.im
A couple of months ago, it occurred to me that I needed a better home for iPadpedia.net than Tumblr.
I didn't know what I meant by "better home." I struggled with that for a while, finally I came up with a list of features which would make me happy. There were:
- Write in Markdown.
- Less friction. I wanted it to be as easy as possible to write something and publish. I wanted to increase the frequency of my postings and wanted to thus reduce the friction in the process.
- Customizable themes. I wanted my blog to look a certain way, and wanted to be able to achieve that easily.
- My domain. I wanted to be able to use ipadpedia.net. The absence of this feature would be a deal-breaker for me.
- I wanted the creation of a RSS feed to be automatic.
- I wanted it to be possible to monetize the site with sponsorships.
That is about all I had. A whole slew of competitors in the marketspace could help me do all of this. They varied in price. They varied in complexity. They varied in their support of third party clients to post to the blog. It was quite a plethora of choices which meant that there was the associated anxiety of making decisions. I liked squarespace.com, but didn't like the absence of a third party API. I looked at ghost.org. They did what I wanted. In most cases, they did a lot more than I wanted and the added complexity was somewhat off-putting and scary. I tried medium.com, didn't like their licensing details. I thought the better idea was to control my content and cross-post to medium.com. Be a part of the social network in medium but control my own content.
In the process of this search, I ran into blot.im. The basic premise of blot.im instantly spoke to me:
"Blot creates a folder in your Dropbox and publishes files you put inside."
That got my attention. "I can do that," I thought.
The price was very reasonable. $20 a year.
I was in. I paid up and moved ipadpedia.net to blot.im.
It is fantastic so far. An easy way to blog. The Blot folder in Dropbox has my site contents, in markdown files. The folder has two sub-folders: Drafts and Public. I can put files into the Drafts folder and check out how they look, I can make final edits to them and then move them over to the parent folder and they are posted to the blog. The Public folder can contain attachments and images which get posted to the blog.
I have a basic choice of themes, which I can customize to my needs. Chris helped me with the themes. Chris also pointed out that the customization of the themes is done entirely in CSS. There are competitors who provide an easy interface for customization with zero CSS knowledge, blot.im does not. Chris knows CSS, so I was set. I am happy with the way it looks. It is mobile optimized too.
Advantages of blot.im:
- Moved over the domain, ipadpedia.net without any hiccups.
- Customizable look.
- Easy dropbox integration.
- Abiity to preview posts from the draft folder.
- The act of posting couldn't be easier. Move a markdown file to the Blot folder in Dropbox and that is it.
- Write in markdown. Post.
- Schedule posts.
- Use any editor you want. I use a Sublime Text 3 project to handle the markdown files. It has two folders: Blot and Blot Drafts. I write and brainstorm in the Blot drafts folder. When a post is ready to be posted, I move it to the Drafts folder in Blot. Preview it in Safari. If everything is ready, I move that file over to the parent folder, Blot. Done.
- Supports tags.
- Supports tables. I am liking creating tables in Typora, and they render great in blot.im.
- Excellent support. I ran into a couple of bugs. The developer fixed them quickly and kept me informed of the progress. And the bugs got fixed.
- Supports Google Analytics, Disqus comments.
I am sure that there are a lot more capable blogging solutions in the marketplace. For my needs, blot.im has been perfect, and I noticed that I am posting a lot more.
I recommend it heartily.
macosxguru at the gmail thingie