Before You Continue, Let Me Tell You Something about Blogging
Hi, can I axe you a question? Ever made a blog at WordPress, Blogger? How about Tumblr or Squarespace? Before you answer, Hi.
A week or two ago an old friend asked if I could make a website for her. I asked the usual questions: what was it for? What did she want it to look like? When did she need it finished? Had she considered a hosted solution like Squarespace or Tumblr, or did she want to manage the server herself? To the question regarding potential hosts, no, she had not even heard of Squarespace or Tumblr; she had, on the other hand, prior experience with Google’s blogging platform Blogger. Unfortunately, that is what she eventually chose, much to my chagrin.
I have used all the major blogging platforms at one time or another in the past, and systematically tossed each to the side for any number of shortcomings. The primary reason I still choose to roll my own setup, however, does not stem from any of these shortcomings easily overcome with a bit of tinkering, but instead from an innate and long-held aversion to outsourcing such an important facet of my site to a third party. Not because I distrust Squarespace though — on the contrary, I would prefer to give them my money instead of paying a comparable amount to Host Gator each month for vastly inferior service and a ridiculous number of artificial limits — but because I don’t want the two people that come to this site every day to find another stock blog template slapped around my content, no matter how good that template may look. Yes, I realize I can customize almost every aspect of a Squarespace blog template; no, I do not have the time, energy, nor motivation to do so, especially with a fully-functioning site up and running already.
But even that is not the entire reason I still opt out of Squarespace and the like: I continue to design and build my own sites because on some level, I view sites created on blogging platforms as somewhat inferior to custom-built ones due to the mere fact that the author deigned not to devote a significant amount of time to learning the skills required to design and build an attractive website. I realize this belief is farcical; I realize this belief is fanciful. Nevertheless, I cannot change the fact that every time I come to a stock WordPress or — God forbid — Blogger site, the first thought that runs through my mind is not one of interest in the content or whimsical layout, but a slight feeling of disappointment.