Nuts, bolts: blogging

I’m providing a little back-end information, for whom it may be helpful. I’m in a ‘what’s your process’ kind of mind lately, so if you’re in it for the straight-up socio-marketartechno-academicology, you can skip right by.

I host this blog on my own site, as opposed to my university’s or through wordpress. The upside is freedom: I can pick my software, I have no editorial strings, and there is a lot more possibility for customization (and not just of blogging software, but of whatever I want to put on line). The downside is maintenance and cost.

First, costs. I host my site at hosting matters, on a shared server. I use the B1000 plan, which allows me space and flexibility, and costs $112.20/year. The domain registration ( costs $15/year. I usually buy domain names in 5-year blocks, but there’s little discount for that. If you buy a domain name, have your hosting company register the name under their contact information, otherwise you’ll find your name and home address and phone in the whois directory.

Tools-wise, I use Coda or Transmit to send files to my server. Both are Mac apps, and paid for. On a pc, I would use WinSCP, which is free and open source. Use SFTP, which is secure. I code stuff by hand mostly, though lately I moved to blueprint, which is a CSS template for grids. RM is very griddy at the moment. Coda is pretty good about allowing you to hand-code in text, then see it as you make it.

I use wordpress for the blog. WordPress is great, but it’s a pretty steep learning curve if you want to get in and code it a little. The docs and codex are helpful, and I feel good about the Loop (if that means anything to you) nowadays, so if you’re ever looking for a hand in that regard, I might be able to help. On the other hand, working with wordpress means you’ll likely be customizing the hell out of your theme files. It can get a little confusing. But, in my humble opinion, not as confusing as working with Moveable Type. But this is of course personal preference, and there are obviously some MT junkies out there.

I use some plug-ins: Akismet (for spam, works great); Comment Timeout (because spammers sometimes get ahold of an old post and won’t let go. CT allows you to close out comments after X days and control this); Get Recent Comments (lists recent comments, for the sidebar). And then a few plug-ins that are weird: an archives styling plugin; a plugin that creates a little banner welcoming you to the site and asking if you’d like to subscribe to RSS for the first few times you visit; and Mint. Mint is a tracking software, which is totally unnecessary for me, given the traffic patterns of the site.

So really, I could do the same stuff with less expense and hassle by going through, or blogger or somesuch. But I like the gadgets and the coding part, and so this floats my boat. Of course, I’m not so much an emacs/R/LaTex guy, so I would say I’m not near the end of this particular continuum (ahem, KH). But the truth is, for me there is a pleasure in knowing how the stuff works.

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