Why This Website

Published October 21, 2020

I’m tired of maintaining WordPress websites.

It’s a significant part of my business. Maintaining websites, making new websites. I generally enjoy it.

However, when I first started using WordPress, it felt unfinished, fragile, and somewhat archaic. I’ll get more into that later.

This website came out of frustration. I wanted a website to host my technical writing. Material that isn’t of interest to my marketing audience. Writing that is more purely for myself.

So normally I would spin up another website, install all of the WordPress parts I usually use, and then start writing.

At the same time, I’m doing quite a few marketing web sites, landing pages and other things. Sites that have really light requirements and should be fast to build, deploy, and operate. Also not require much maintenance. Wordpress in some ways isn’t suitable for that, despite my using some really good tools for building them.

I wanted to get back into looking at purely static websites.

I had used Hugo some time ago. It is very fast and has grown a lot since I last looked at it 3 years ago. It takes everything you write, some elaborate and powerful configuration files, and spits out a set of html pages you can host on a website.

Ideally what I wanted was an easy path to writing those pages, getting them somewhere like AWS S3 for highly reliable, zero maintenance hosting, and get the whole process automated. I write stuff, I push some buttons, and when I’m ready, the changes automatically get out to The Internets.

While on a driving trip during a pandemic, I started tinkering around and in a few days of a few hours a day of tinkering around, I had what appears to be a workable solution.

  1. Write content in Markdown syntax.
  2. Store everything in Git (version control) for simple backups and tracking changes.
  3. Host the Git repository on GitHub.
  4. GitHub has automated “actions” you can run. For example to deploy content to a web server on check in.
  5. Get the content automatically deploying to AWS S3 where I can store it for about 9 cents a GB.

At that point, it’s the website you see here. Add in CloudFlare to give me SSL and super fast pages and I even found a way to use a spare Raspberry Pi.

Hosting cost for the website per month is about 10 cents a month with no subscription services lurking in the background.

There are aspects of this which are not suitable to civilians and amateurs (Markdown isn’t something normal people want to write in). However, I want to explore this world because I think more and more work will be moving there. Certainly I can do this blog, my JumpstartMyHeart blog, and my company website and landing pages could go this route.

I’ll write in more detail on this. Partly I wanted more words to be on this first article.

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