Building a Blog: Bad News First
Setting up a blog these is pretty easy, there are a ton of services online that will take words and pictures and help put them on the internet, and hopefully someone will find them useful.
Unfortunately, Google owns the web; so we're all dancing to Google's tune. Which means on top of having something to say, there is a bunch of additional work making sure web pages have all of the data, organization and optimizations that Google demands so that you might show up in search results.
The ideas behind the press of Web Vitals and Page Speed aren't inherently bad, but they are changing the barrier to entry, mixed with new privacy pressures the avenues to success on the web are shrinking.
For the moment we'll start by identifying everything someone needs to get a site up and running that will keep the all powerful Google Search Console satisfied.
- Engaging and well structured content, that answers a search query effectively.
- Schema markup to "tell Google" what is most important on a page.
- Fast page loads that meet Web Vitals rules before fall 0f 2020.
But if you're trying to make a business of your blog, you might also need:
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Social media sharing support
- Site Analytics
- Some way to make money, (ads, sponsor content, membership, etc)
Unfortunately, these two lists often directly conflict with each other, particularly when prioritizing page speed. Very quickly the to do list for a well optimized blog or online publication has gotten very long. But. surely someone has created a simple, out of the box platform that solves this myriad of issues.
Are there platforms that make publishing on the web easy, absolutely, probably hundreds of them. Is there a platform that is relatively easy to get started with, supports a myriad of content schema types, is able to be fully optimized for search, page speed and Web Vitals, while being easy to get started with and maybe even operate from your phone? Nope!
I have been working in and around web publishing for my entire career. Most of that time was spent creating custom sites on top of WordPress. I am not a WordPress fan, frankly its entire real value is wrapped in its flexibility. That flexibility also creates the frankensites that drag down site performance and keep sites from being able to meet Google's slew of preferences for speed and SEO.
So in order to hit the goals set out for a new blogger you are left with two options, something that is easy to get started with or something that is well optimized.
Do to my personal optimization obsession