WordPress has constantly grown to be the most widely used blogging and publishing platform in the online world, which made room for other, more robust blogging platforms to emerge.
WordPress is and has been for many years, the most popular blogging platform in the world. As a blogger it is almost impossible not to have heard about it. Of course, there were always some others, such as Blogger or Tumblr. But when it comes to real-life blogging, WordPress was always the best choice and it came with huge flexibility options and a big community behind it.
As it allowed anyone to install lots and lots of social media plugins and other tools, any blog that got hit with traffic was prone to get crowded aesthetically as well as visitor-wise. And WordPress, by itself, is not your average high-traffic blogging platform. It can sustain high traffic only with some help that technical people call nginx, TotalCache and some other “cache” tools that are designed to do just one thing: rapidly serve content with minimal resource requirements.
Until recently, I was a Windows user.
Did almost everything on Windows, and when it came to writing, my word processor of choice was always DarkRoom. Very clean, no distractions, a dark background and the letters that I wrote were the only things on my screen. This helped my creativity flow and kept my procrastination attempts at bay. Always loved a simple tool that only does one thing, but does it incredibly well. No fuss, no extras, no extensions, plugins or anything else. Just words. It was like going at a cabin in the woods to connect with nature. Almost felt like grabbing a pen and writing on paper.
Recently I switched over to Mac.
Got a MacBook Pro for portability and on my first day as a Mac user I installed WriteRoom, the software after which DarkRoom got inspired. Distraction-free writing for anyone who felt like sharing something with the world. But let’s not get carried away and move back to WordPress.
A big move on blogging was Medium.com
Their excessive simplicity inspired theme makers to create simple, clean, minimal themes for any blogging platform out there. I stumbled upon various “medium” templates all around the place. The feeling you get when reading a page that focuses the reader on the article itself and not on the colorful design of the website is absolutely fabulous. No flashing items, no banners, no floating social media buttons, no text-ads, sidebars, nothing. It creates a connection between the author and the reader that no other type of electronic communication can. Compared to this, even the email looks crowded.
And then they came.
In the last six months, new lightweight, fast and clean blogging platforms have emerged. I’m no visionary, but my intuition tells me that this is the beginning of the end of WordPress as we know it.
Ghost is a blogging platform, just like WordPress, but it was build on newer, faster technology, which can easily handle high traffic and its really simple and clean.
It works as a hosted service and as a downloadable package, and the themes provided and designed are just awesome. The hosted version is somewhere at $5 per month, which at first seems inexplicably expensive. But then, I figured it’s a way to make the writer committed: “I’m paying, so I’d better keep the flow”
Everything from signup to publishing is easy and clutter-free. I mean, you’re here to write, not to click on banners and install plugins.
Markup. This is a new chapter in blogging simplicity, and you’ll be surprised to find out that all these new fancy blogging platforms do not include a rich format what-you-see-is-what-you-get post editor. It’s back to notepad-style writing.
Of course you can have headings, quotes and embedded images, but not by clicking header buttons and stuff, but by using simple formatting convention called – that’s right – Markdown.
“How will it look like?” I hear you asking. Ghost provides a preview of the article, with live update of what you’re just writing. It looks great, right out of the box. No more ugly copy/pastes from Microsoft Word, everything works and looks exactly as expected.
You don’t need to learn HTML to create beautiful articles. You just need to know a few things about Markdown, and a few things means probably maximum ten things, with keyboard shortcuts, just to make your life easier.
Every time I see a really great article, I’m curious what’s running on. This is how I stumbled over Svbtle. It’s just as sublime as Ghost, but with a “v”. Their angle is that blogging should work just like your brain does, by coming up with ideas, expanding on stories and publishing simple, clean, expressive articles.
As well as with Ghost, everything is really simple, clean and fast. I noticed two main differences from Ghost. The first one is the way drafts work. When you have an idea for an article, just write it down. Svbtle automagically creates a new draft with your idea’s title. Once you have the idea, you can write the post whenever you feel like it.
The second main difference I noticed is the fact that the post editor looks way better than Ghost’s, even if it still works with Markdown formatting.
No endless and useless plugins, not even a ton of settings, it just works and looks simple and beautiful.
Svbtle is a paid service, and even though it offers a free trial, for 30 days, they will ask for your credit card as soon as you sign up.
Ghost and Svbtle are just a couple of examples of new blogging platforms that are sweeping WordPress off its feet. There are many others out there suchs as Postagon, Wardrobe and of course, last but not least, Medium.
Medium found an elegant way to promote the core of blogging, without cluttering it with useless stuff. I read something on Medium on a daily basis, because the world is filled with wonderful people that have many interesting things to share with us .
WordPress (as a conclusion)
For the last few years, whenever I’ve needed to create a presentation website or projects that required portability, ease of use and a large market, I went for WordPress.
WordPress is the number one choice for Content Management Systems. It’s well structured, easy to extend, themeable, very well documented and has a huge community around it.
So why doesn’t this make it perfect for blogs? The extendability comes with a price. One is performance, the other is the temptation to extend it. You can literally turn it into a mess in just a few minutes and only by using your mouse. And since most people are not experts in self-containment, you can easily wind up with a snail blog.
It is going to die? No. But it’s just never going to be the same. On the hosted version of WordPress I noticed the admin panel is much more simpler, which shows that even they have noticed that WordPress has grown into something big, and smaller blogging platforms are coming in fast behind it.
So next time you start a blog, try some of them out. You’ll be amazed of how simple and pleasurable they are.