Everyone knows of WordPress. It’s the unofficial king of blogging platforms. If a blogger doesn’t already use it, he’s likely read a thousand articles suggesting he should. It’s a fantastic content management system which has powered my site for years.
So why would I switch to an obscure blogging platform called, Blot, of which few people have heard and even fewer use? Simplicity is my primary reason, but performance and cost are also worth mentioning.
In my case, the strengths of WordPress are its weaknesses. Its developers have built it to do much more than I need. All I require is the ability to use a custom theme, publish some words with minimal styling, and offer an RSS feed. If, let’s say, I filled my blog posts with image galleries, organized my site with layers of categories, or needed e-commerce, I wouldn’t have considered leaving WordPress. But all I want is a basic website to publish text that can be syndicated via RSS.
Blot advertises itself as “a blogging platform with no interface.” I don’t log in to a dashboard. There isn’t a back-end, per se. Instead, Blot converts a Dropbox folder into a website. I write each post using iA Writer (my Markdown editor of choice), save the text file in Dropbox, and Blot does the rest. Within seconds, the new post is live.
That’s as easy as it gets. No plugins. No admin hassles. Just write, save, done. As long as you don’t need the bells and whistles of WordPress, Blot is superior.
What is Markdown?
Since writing in Markdown may be foreign to some, let me explain. In short, it’s a simple way to format plain text as you write. Rather than highlighting words and hitting the italics button, for example, you just type an asterisk before and after the words you want italicized. Your fingers never leave the keyboard which is ideal for writing.
What about custom themes?
I should also explain Blot themes or templates. Unlike WordPress, Blot doesn’t have a million themes from which to choose. You have your choice of only seven, but building a custom template is remarkably simple if you know HTML and CSS. Once you’ve written your code, learning and incorporating the necessary tags to make Blot work (e.g.,
Jeremy Sarber) requires less than thirty minutes. After years of developing WordPress themes, I’m still learning all of its snippets.
Need I say more?
The best performance I ever got from a WordPress site was an average load time of approximately one second. Then again, I was paying $40 a month for premium, optimized hosting and running three or four extra plugins to achieve that speed. My blog on Blot fully loads in less than half a second for new visitors with zero plugins and—well, I’ll tell you about hosting in just a moment.
Full disclosure: A free Cloudflare account shaves about two-hundred milliseconds off my site’s load time.
Blot charges a grand total of $3 a month. That, of course, is a few dollars less than the cheapest shared hosting plan you will find. I pay $15 a year for my domain and $3 a month for hosting. That’s it. Granted, I also pay for Dropbox each month, but I would pay for it anyhow. I’ve used Dropbox for years to store all of my important files.
While there are plenty of static site generators similar to Blot available, I’m confident the average person will find Blot easier to set up and use than its counterparts. Personally, I have experience with Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, Ghost, Jekyll, and a few other platforms, but Blot has quickly become my favorite for blogging. I may even write some tutorials. Perhaps I can persuade future web development clients of mine to use it.