Inspiration to self-host is.....
As some are aware we decided to participate in this ancient practice known as webrings. This technique occurred because social networks didn't really exist in the 90s. You can't really blast your site out on IRC without someone bitching at best; Or, getting K-lined by an Op at worst. Finally, search engines back in the day were not elegant and often missed a lot of personal sites (Very much like they do today but for different reasons.) Usually to join a webring can be as simple as submitting a site and hoping the other side believes you are human enough to enter. Other webrings tend to go through forums in which people get support and offer commentaries on a thread.
One of those comments we found interesting was one that criticized the overall quality of self-hosting within the Webring community. That there are some that put up a website with some graphics, have one "Hello World" blog and if they have other categories leave construction gif icons everywhere and call it a day. It's ironically very Geocities of them and fits the 90's website aesthetic to a tee! But we've also heard of comments from people who build websites asking for help that they aren't even sure what to talk about once they got the site going.
Perhaps this is a good opportunity to help. So read on if you wish to listen to our diatribes further!
Reasons to self-host.
First to address the majority of the internet. Chances are most of the internet is not reading this because they are totally happy throttling themselves exclusively the social blades of the world. We tried to change that. But the addiction is strong in this department!
To those who are self-hosting; When you pop open that VM, Nano, and Notepad, pick your poison really; And you begin hammering HTML code. There was something that made you attempt to dive into the world of self-hosting. Either doing it for free on Neocities or diving head first into a virtual private server or taking a Pi, Thinclient, or full server and leaving it online to the world. There's reason, logic, and motivation behind it all.
Here are some reasons:
- Technical - They are interested in the world of tech, saw a site, and were like "I totally could do it!" And thus, it is done!
- Inspire - A person has seen a well-designed site and wanted one for their own.
- Social - A personal website is the very first social network because it's just you typing and shouting into the clouds.
- Aesthetic - There's this weird sense of nostalgia for individuals wanting to go back to a time when things were simpler. A more artistic approach would be to capture a style of art and make it into a workable site.
- Group - This category is more Web 2.0 themed in the respect that instead of just one person diving into a VPS and installing a content management system of sorts. This website is set up for others to jump into the Micro-Community. Mastodon for moar social blades, or Peer-Tube(External) for alternative video sharing.
As for our reasons. We started off in the inspiration category and by sheer age of running this site for as long as we have fallen into the Aesthetic category. This article goes through our trials and tribulations of web hosting but also if you look at the cellar door blog roll you can catch on rather quickly to the inspiration we were going for. The objective never really varied. Which is a public space to gather our thoughts and assemble them in some constructive manner.
How to "Content."
This is a statement I see published on a few Neocities(external) sites:
Hey guys, this is my site. Don't know what to write here. So yeah. Thanks for visiting! - General
To which when you post your website on a forum or set up your very first guestbook. While most will be positive or just insane. You will probably get at least one of the kinds of people we are about to describe below.
The entitled content consumer.
This is where the pretentious children of places like Reddit will start criticizing bloggers and web admins in some totally screwed-up belief that you are designing a web page for them. Never consider the simple fact that there's no way you can please everyone. In most cases, people make websites for THEIR entertainment. Everyone else is along for the ride. Most commentators of this nature never built a website in their entire lives and would rather you stay on the forums and social networks to remain just the same as they are. Miserable fuckers in every way.
It's easy to focus on the negative. If one person says something publicly then how many people are saying it silently? Depending on your mental state you may end up becoming your own worst critic. But knowing that. There's not a thing that these people can say that you haven't already heard.
We're here to congratulate you for just putting forth the time to publish something regardless if you hand-coded or got a CMS to bend to your will. We in fact would like to take this as an opportunity to help! We'd like to offer some advice as to how to get your little slice of the internet working in your favor.
To keep with our motto:
Don't trust me or anyone! Think for yourself! -S
These are just pieces of advice that helped us continue blogging for 8 years and probably beyond. These are not laws or unbreakable rules. If it helps you. Great. If not. Sucks!
That being said, let's get down to business.
When we first started off a website it was rather awkward. Only had some art we did. A random paragraph saying who we were. That's about it.
Unlike a lot of other types of networks where you're limited to ONLY typing out so many characters per post. Or that you're only visible if you draw something. A personal website is like a shrine of you. Thus, you can put whatever medium you want whenever you want.
This doesn't mean you have to be a total net luddite like us and disconnect yourselves entirely from these networks. They are valuable for getting the word out. But you should at least self-host all of the content THEN provide a mirror to other sides. Remember, your website is the source! Never let a 3rd party take away that power.
LiveJournal - Myspace - Tumblr <-> YourWebsite
At the time, we posted a lot of thoughts on LiveJournal(external) for friends. This was before it was purchased by the Russians and there were a lot of other people posting without micro-transactions for everything you did. So, why share stories to benefit a 3rd party when we can simply copy/paste those same articles? Some of the articles we put some time into. So instead of having my world fenced off from the rest of the Internet. They went public with shouting into the clouds.
Furaffinity - DeviantArt <-> YourWebsite
Why post art that only appears on a server for about 30 seconds in the 'new posts' category before it's eventually filed away with the thousands of other accounts that are eventually forgotten when instead. Keep whatever you want on YOUR front page. We even have a separate page of gift art as well. A lot of this type of media realistically depends on your comfort zone as to how much you are willing to upload to your website and share with the world.
If your art is of a pornographic, political, or ultra-violent nature it's generally good taste to have a content warning page informing your readers that they may see things they would wish to un-see. A content warning isn't going to stop someone who is not supposed to see it in the first place such as a minor. Also, Google being the Puritans that they are may blacklist your site. But those are the risks taken when self-hosting anything controversial.
Twitter - Mastodon <-> YourWebsite
Short-form blogging can be an inspiration to elaborate on more complex issues that cannot be legitimately broken down into 280 or even Elon's bullshit Twitter blue program at 4,000 characters. In fact, we believe that these styles of networks have produced the cognitive dysfunction of legitimate debate throughout the world. You say you like Waffles because that's the most you can type into a post. Someone will respond that you must obviously hate pancakes, call you a Nazi, and it's all over from there. You get the idea.
This may take a little more work than the first two because instead of copying/pasting onto your website you have to do a little more work with explaining yourself fully on this. But it's still a valid means of personal consolidation to your website.
Product review consolidation.
Personal blogging may not get a whole heck of a lot of traffic because it's just you. Your friends may read what you are up to but ultimately it will probably not get a whole hell of a lot of traffic. You may actually get more traffic if you are describing an event that affects you such as a public gathering or a news/world event. But sometimes we leave the information on 3rd party sites that is valuable which is "reviews".
But if you've ever participated in the great capitalistic experiment of consumerism. You were probably asked to review a product. User reviews often can sway a customer to purchase a product or not. In classic terms. What does it do? How well does it do it?
Although we don't participate this way. This is probably the biggest money maker, YouTubers, bloggers, and even major networks which is a comprehensive review on someone everyone uses and to choose what to best go with.
Let's give an example:
We did a review on rollerblade office casters. This was a bit of a weird review because usually, we talked about tech. But this type of product a person generally doesn't think about on the casters until their chair begins to blow out or wear down. And there are a LOT of office chairs throughout the world so obviously there's a percentage of people that are doing the same research as we were.
At the time we weren't cool enough to post reviews on Amazon because Jeff Bezos is a thirsty boy and they're trying to curb false reviewing. But that's okay because if we left a review on Amazon for this particular brand a few things would happen:
- It would be foreshadowed by the number of positive reviews. Generally, when you look at listings like this on Amazon they have thousands of 5-star reviews. We got an e-mail about this for a different product we bought where the vendor was telling us if we post a 5-star and said what was e-mailed to us. They'd transfer $5 to our PayPal. So, if vendors are buying reviews. How honestly can you take what's there?
- "Texas Real Rollers" no longer exists anywhere on Amazon! This could be because of our review. In which case they'd just change the name of the product and continue selling the same defective crap. If we left a review on Amazon it would've been deleted. Because the review would be just for that brand of caster wheel. "Lifetime warranty" doesn't mean a whole lot when your "Company" is there one month and gone the next.
Now, we didn't give Amazon our review. We posted it right here. And, we did a bit of effort not only to show how terrible this product was. But offering a solution (for which we weren't paid for.) By looking for certain features in a caster you can end up with a better wheel instead of getting totally fucked by another brand that doesn't care. Because of our actions. We're doing a public service by showing the problems with cheap casters and identifying strengths as well as the article is still being read by people. Showing off the strength of self-hosting.
In effect, you're doing a public service by identifying a problem and offering potential solutions. A positive impact is why that article still gets new readers to this day.
A little warning about reviews.
It may be tempting to go full-tilt angry/negative about a review. Understand that there are people out there who will have differing opinions than you. This is why when you do have something to say that can be taken as negative at least back it up with some technical reasons as to why instead of going on the immediate emotional offensive. Yelp, a food review site we've seen people abuse this horribly. This isn't really cool because the restaurant business is probably one of the hardest businesses in the world. It's about customer service. Always dancing on the lip of a volcano from keeping the place going for another month or shutting down.
Balance kind of needs to be struck between rage-quitting and being so happy that it's almost vapid in substance like mall/airport reviews of products.
If you do take money for reviewing. Have the integrity to let your readers know.
DIY and How-to consolidation.
One of the major topics YouTube and many other websites make money on is Do-It-Yourself and How-tos. Because you're showing people how to better their lives or do something with their hands. It's generally a positive activity along the lines of helping others. In our experience, the Xbox 360 Chinese receiver article has to be the most-read article to date. Not only do we show the person how to get this device working within modern operating systems. But we also provide drivers which the company no longer provides. Even showing a video within the blog on how it's all done.
Tech isn't the only thing that DIY works with.
Recipes for food are a terrific way of DIY articles. The best part is it sparks conversation of people doing their own take on food to make it better.
When it comes to the human brain, our memories aren't as good as we think. We might remember major elements of someone's face from high school or grade school. We might even remember one or two articles of clothing they are wearing. But we won't remember the brands, sizes, or specifications. Or, you might have gone to a theme park 20 years ago that is long gone or changed drastically over time. This is where the photogenic community can really step forward and present their world on the internet. You can't rely on outside sources like cloud services to maintain those memories either. Although it brings in a very specific readership
We would like to address some of the criticism of how some ironic bloggers tend to tell their readers that you should not blog at all and instead simply shut up.
We say "no" to this. but let us dive a little deeper than that.
Your blog isn't original.
What is? Anyone who uses this broad brush of criticism needs to explain what is unique or original in this world. Otherwise, they're just a hypocrite.
You're not an expert in the topic you are talking about.
This is a negative way of viewing bloggers because why do you need to be an expert? Perhaps as a blogger, you are more of a scientist. Even if you are starting a cooking website depending on what you are making there's unlimited possibilities of making something like a Pizza. It's about publishing your findings on a particular topic in the hopes of gaining interest and talking about a particular subject. As we're slowly finding out at Harvard University. The so-called experts in the fields they practice manipulated their data out of interest in fame and profit. So really, you should question everyone. Especially supposed 'experts'.
You are only showing the world how stupid you are.
Wow. We suppose with that logic we shouldn't go to the movies, watch TV, pick up the newspaper(they still make those right?), or even go outside. Because every time you open your mouth you're automatically stupid. Instead of telling the world to be a group of introverts how about having a discussion with others to be a better human being?
You will only be critizised about your blog if and only if someone gives a damn about it. Your work is trash and by writting YOU are trash.
That really depends on what you are writing about! Again, if you doing tutorials, helping people, or just showing people the sights of the world. What may be trash to one person is gold to another. So to hell with anyone that says this to you.
In fact, you shouldn't give a shit about anything that is said above, because oftentimes you have your own motivations beyond pleasing a bunch of randos that don't give a fuck if you live or die.
A self-hosting website was the original way of social networking before that word was even a thing used on the internet. Granted! It was very expensive to do in the early 1990s because of disk space and bandwidth limitations. This is why websites like Tigerden(external) offered shared hosting for their communities during their time. We even went into detail about branding and the pitfalls of how to self-host in the past. But this time around we wanted to focus on how to get content on a website and the techniques we did throughout the years to make that possible. To those that made it to the end of this article. Wow, party people, you're amazing. Thank you!
That's what server said
END OF LINE+++