What WordPress Taught Me About Jekyll

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When I first decided to put add a blog to my website, I ran straight to WordPress.org and jumped through all the necessary hoops I needed to get it up and running. WordPress is an amazing tool, but my needs were much too simplistic. Soon I started thinking that the full-featured tool was actually getting in the way of me putting out content.

Eventually (I think via Hacker News) I stumbled across Jekyll. I started configuring my development environment, configuring my domain, and redesigning my website to my liking. Blog posts came out pretty steadily and easily at first while I was adding features and making changes to my website, but eventually I ran out of content.

Recently, I’ve been doing some WordPress work and it inspired me to take on a WordPress project of my own, but this time around I really wanted to get it right. My first stop (after having been there for the original work multiple times) was the WordPress Codex.

I’ve always thought that the first post in a blog is awkward (I even mention how difficult it is to get started in that linked post). I think that most of this difficulty and awkwardness came about because I didn’t really do any planning at the beginning. Since this is a personal site, I thought I would just post about whatever I felt like. You can do that, but it can be really overwhelming to come up with content when you don’t have any focus.

The WordPress Codex has an entry called, “First Steps With WordPress” and it has a section called, “Planning Session” that walks you through six important questions to help you frame your blog a bit more. I’ll post the questions here, but I definitely recommend clicking through for the rest of the planning exercise.

  1. What am I going to do with this?
  2. Who is going to read this?
  3. What kinds of information will I be posting?
  4. Why am I doing this?
  5. Who am I doing this for?
  6. How often am I going to be posting and adding information?

I’d also write everything out on paper like they suggest. I kept crossing things out or going back to reword bullet points as I went along. I’m hoping that this planning can get me back on track with regular posting now that I have a much clearer idea of what I would like to write about.

It’s funny how we always end up coming full circle, even in technology.