Shapshot #2: December 12th, 2019
Feeling like Hercules in the worst possible way.
So as it turns out, building a website isn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be — and I didn’t even think it would be easy to begin with!
The plan started off simple: Build my site’s content base to a respectable amount (Around 15-25 articles split across 2-3 niches, not counting blog content), and then open it up to search engine bots for indexing.
What I underestimated was how much time I’d have to invest in the foundations of this undertaking. Since my first blog post, I’ve:
- Fully redone the site’s color scheme twice.
- Refined the automatic indexing of new posts on my Homepage and Posts subsections.
- Posted four 2000-3500 word in-depth articles.
- Gone back to every previously posted article to include links to new ones that may be even tangentially relevant.
- Completed two additional articles which are waiting in the draft queue till I revise them and make appropriate header images.
- Scheduled an approximately 20 more articles, of which three are currently being written.
The biggest hurdle however is exponentially expanding scope of what’s being written.
In the course of writing my piece on Content Mills, I touched on the topics of website building, vetting good content mills from bad ones, and psychological tactics to employ in negotiation. Any one of these sub-points could warrant a full-length article of its own, and I of course found myself adding these potential talking points to the pipeline with plans to retroactively link to the finished pieces in my existing articles once finished.
It’s been like this for everything. I start writing about something to solve one problem and stumble across several others in the process.
Seeing as the entire point of this site is to be a “one-man blog”, that means I can’t outsource any of this work. Honestly, it hasn’t been doing wonders for my sleep schedule as of late, but at the very least there are a finite number of foundational problems that I can run into before I wind up linking to the same core articles over and over. This means that so long as I keep up a regular writing schedule, I’ll slowly but surely be inching towards my goal.
At the moment, I average one completed essay every other day, with an additional day for making images, formatting the post, last-second editing, and on-site back-linking. Things would be moving faster, but I’m balancing this project with my contract work and my day job as a manager. That’s without even mentioning how hectic my home life has been these past few weeks.
In any event, that’s the current state of production for MO.
Oh, right. There’s also the server to talk about.
When I started building this site, I first had a virtual server on my computer just for the drafting phase. I realized in doing this how useful it would be to link to this site even without search engine indexing to help it along. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon someone selling hosing for a whopping $12 for 3 years on Reddit. There was no way I was passing that up.
The catch with hosting this cheap though is that the server tends to struggle quite often. The specs of the host machine were never disclosed, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I’m currently operating on a single-core setup (And I’m not talking Xeon here). If I choose to edit a page, I find that even browsing the site becomes impossible till things update, which can take anywhere from 20 seconds to a minute depending on what I’m doing.
This is… not great, to say the least.
That said, it’s not like I’m expecting thousands, or even hundreds of hits in my first couple months. First impressions are incredibly important for establishing repeat visits, so within the next week or two I plan to migrate to a host with an SSD and better overall specs. Before that moment comes, however, I don’t think it would hurt to have a beta launch using the hardware I currently have. I think the hamsters powering my current server are up to the challenge.
For this reason, I’m confident enough to remove the block on indexing that’s been in place since I started working on Mostly Opinionated. As of the publishing on this post, the site as a whole should be discoverable on any major search engine — on result page 100+, no doubt, but no fish ever learned to climb a tree in a single day.
Once I migrate, I’ve got no idea what I’ll use the rest of my 3-year plan with my current host for, but I can say for certain that it won’t be for representing my professional identity.
I wanted to have a quick blog update before I get back to the educational writing. I’ve got to say, it’s a refreshing change of pace to be able to write something in one take without the need to catalogue references and color-code links. I think I’ll make these blog posts a more regular thing even before I finish my launch articles. This is exactly the kind of casual experience I need to keep writing from becoming a chore when I’m doing it almost 24/7.