How to IndieWeb? In a word, I would say WordPress self-hosted, but that’s just me.
I have been blogging for a long time, and across multiple mediums and platforms from self-hosted to corporate silos, and everything from notetaking, journaling, various CMS interfaces to microblogging. From all the experience gained over the years, I have to say WordPress is the easiest, especially for folks starting out and without any coding chops.
Let me start with a list of what is involved in setting up IndieWeb the right way. Do keep in mind that IndieWeb means independent web, and that means you own your content and it’s not going to be on a corporate silo like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Domain name.
- Web hosting.
- CMS (content management system).
- Ease of use.
- Easy backups with easy exporting and importing functionality.
- WYSIWYG interface.
I started out with XSitePro, and tried out a few others along the way, before settling on self-hosted WordPress because it met and matched all of the above criteria, and is extremely easy to use.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m self-taught now and can get by with most basic HTML, CSS, and even some coding, but back when I started I was an accountant and finance guy in training, and a complete greenhorn with anything tech related. There were no smartphones to speak of, and I’d only bought myself a personal computer for gaming.
The good thing, however, was that I discovered domains, hosting, and personalized email and of course blogging. It was 2004 and before Facebook and Twitter, so thankfully “owning your data” was the only way to actually go about it, because Web 2.0 and online blogs weren’t a thing yet, and neither was social media a.k.a. Facebook and Twitter.
The results of my “Indie“ blogging adventures were spectacular too. I was receiving regular AdSense checks and had a PR4 blog with over 100,000 visitors each month.
You might wonder how? The answer is content. I had over 350 posts, mostly reviews of everything that I had bought and used, movie reviews, music reviews, lots of chicken recipes, photographs of my travels, and random ramblings and rants.
Most people do the same thing today, but just on Facebook and Twitter. They don’t get paid for it, and it doesn’t build their online identity. Add to that, the companies that profit, Facebook and Twitter, can choose to kick you out any day.
I have had several blogs over the years, and while I haven’t always blogged consistently, I have always owned my content and been an independent blogger/publisher, an IndieWeber.
The easiest way to own your content is to buy a domain name, setup WordPress or your choice of CMS, post the content on your website, and then as an additional step syndicate your website content to commercial silos like Facebook and Twitter. This way you guarantee your content will remain, even if the commercial silo goes out of business, or for any reason you are banned and lose your account. But syndicating your content to Facebook and Twitter also gives you the added advantage of interacting on these websites should you desire to.
PS: This is a work in progress, and I will be expanding with step-by-step instructions as time permits, but for now I will not go into details about registering a domain, setting up hosting, or setting up WordPress as there are plenty of tutorials available online for the same, and most of these services are available with 1 click installation that only takes a couple of minutes.
Feel free to hit up Google and/or YouTube and go through a couple of tutorials that will help you make up your mind.
You can also go through the IndieWeb website, it has a lot of content on the topic of Getting Started.