What Happened to Self-Hosted Blogs?
I remember a time on the internet1 when everyone and their grandmother was running a personal blog. And I mean personal - not hosted on some side platform or a tacked-on addition to the rest of their website.
Nowadays companies and individuals alike use platforms like Medium to host and promote all of their articles, essays and case studies. I understand the draw, and can even list out the positives:
- A large community already exists under the Medium brand
- It's easy to promote your own work and follow others
- The platform is fairly easy to setup and implement
Unfortunately this has had a pretty severe impact on the blogging community as a whole - no one controls their own blogs anymore. I remember when finding a new blog was an interesting and fun experience:
- how did they decide to layout the page design?
- what typefaces have they decided to use?
- what back-end are they using?
- how does it look and feel on mobile?
These custom self-hosted blogs inspired other developers and designers to create their own blogs or tweak current ones. In a way it was a small factor in pushing what we could do on the web further and further, as designers engaged in friendly competition trying to one-up each others' creations.
I also believe this inspired people to write better content instead of opting for clickbait garbage in order to get "featured" or boosted promotion on the main blogging platform. But I don't even think that's the worst to come of this mass-migration to a singular blogging platform.
All2 blogs look identical now. I'm not sure if that was Medium's intention, but either way I personally think it's horrible. The individual personality of most design and development blogs has been completely stripped away.
Maybe I'm just a salty designer with a narrow-minded, pessimistic view on where our blogging communities seem to be heading - or maybe I just have higher standards.
1 the design world of the internet
2 by "All" I mean the majority