Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Mar 05

I Have Strong Feelings About Blogging

Actually, they’re very strong feelings. And they’re somewhat elitist. I can sum them up like this. You shouldn’t own a blog if..
Now go blog about this

  • You cannot install your own blog (and it only takes 5 minutes!)
  • You cannot upgrade your blog
  • You don’t know how to edit HTML or CSS
  • You cannot work with PHP
  • You don’t understand what a MySQL database is

Maybe I’m showing how dated I am here, but I come from a time when you couldn’t have a blog if you didn’t do it yourself. There weren’t people who would help you — for free or otherwise — and there were far fewer plugins. When you wanted to do something, you had to learn how to do it.

And it was amazing. 

Honestly. I learned all the skills I have more. I made friends. I certainly cemented myself as a geek. I love that I have these skills in my repertoire.

It just shocks me that people can run blogs — successful blogs at that! — and not have any of these skills. When their site goes down, when a plugin messes something up, when they want to change something, they need to ask for help. More often than not, they pay for it. This is simply inconceivable to me. You’re wasting your money with something that you can — and should — do yourself!

And I realize that it makes me look like an asshole. I get it. I do. It’s like saying that you shouldn’t own a car if you can’t build an engine. Or that you shouldn’t own a computer that you can’t maintain? But people do. It is the new normal. (Perhaps people used to think this when cars and computers were new?) And who am I to say that these people shouldn’t spend money if they have it to spend? Some people have to option to be less frugal, and I am envious!

However, I am not alone. The Shareaholic blog provides some basics about HTML usage along with this quote:

No matter how many pageviews you have, having an understanding of HTML is key to having a successful blog.

A commenter there also made a great point: you need to know HTML if you want to optimize your website for search engines, too. This is because you need to use keywords in your image names, anchor text, titles and headings, just to name a few locations. You won’t be able to do this if you don’t have at least a basic understanding of HTML.

But I firmly believe that bloggers need to know more than just HTML. This enables you to retain complete control of your website — and of your wallet. Perhaps the problem is that the people who do understand this don’t realize how well we understand it. Maybe the tutorials we write about CSS  or using the WordPress database are too confusing. But everything is confusing at first, and maybe you need a different source when it comes to learning.

Nevertheless, the world is changing. People are driving their cars without any knowledge of how to fix them. In fact, people who fix their own often do so out of necessity rather than because society expects it, and no one loses pride over it. For me, it’s still a matter of pride to do things with my own hands, er, fingers.

 


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