I’ve mentioned this a few times in a few places, but I really believe that if you are committed to being connected to people through social spaces, you need to start with your own self-hosted website. There is an entire content ownership initiative called the IndieWeb that teaches people how to own a site, then syndicate it out to the world. Your own website is the place where you control the content. As long as you pay your site hosting and domain registration fees, which isn’t a significant cost compared to how much we fork out for games and coffee, your communities can always find you. As we watch the drama on Twitter, which is pretty traumatic for the MANY people and communities who use it regularly, it becomes even more apparent how helpful having your own home base can be.
To be honest, a .blog domain is a pretty expensive vanity domain. I hope the prices of these “vanity” alternatives to dot com domains normalize soon, since someone else has been squatting the gamerlady dot com domain. I refuse to buy squatted domains! Typical .com domains are much more affordable to register, about $12 a year from Google Domains.
My blog site will never become as visible as my Twitter profile, and that’s fine by me. I can still branch out into social spaces and participate there to boost visibility and reach, make more connections, and share tiny snippets of my life. As long as I can always come back here to home base, where I participate and how I share is anchored in something I get to design and control. There is no ad spam here, no unmoderated comments, and no corporation that can sell out and then dumpster fire what I’ve built here. Sure, my web host could go out of business, but if I’m following best practices of backing up my site, that doesn’t stop me from moving my design/ content/ history someplace else. I don’t even need to set up a beacons or linktree site to let people know how to find me in my other social spaces. After all, those services could vanish in a corporate sellout. I am my own linktree.
Want to find me? Here are some buttons I created, just like those other sites:
Mastodon Instance in the Fediverse
This button no longer links to Twitter (the owner’s toxic and that’s not okay)
Youtube Channel (not very active)
Twitch.tv Channel (Also not very active)
I’m debating sharing my Discord (coming soon?)
Want to chat or msg me, register and use the chat page
This last button demonstrates the beauty of having my own self hosted site. Contact forms can be a pain and aren’t really a replacement for direct messaging from sites like Twitter. Well, I have my own direct messaging option set up on my site. I do require that someone be registered to use it. I’m not fond of bots and spammers, so you can chat, but only if you are willing to prove you are a real person. This is kind of an “old school” concept from back when chat rooms and bulletin boards were a thing.
Feel free to follow my blog, follow me on any of my other social sites, comment here, and stay connected. There are plenty of alternatives to siloed, corporate owned social sites. You just need to invest in yourself and take control of your content.
Bring back the BBS! I will revert to dial-up if necessary!
What about 3rd party sites like WordPress or Wix? I assume you are not a fan, as you have specifically mentioned indie hosting, but do you think they are a good entry-point into blogging and maintaining a presence?
Third party sites like Wix where you “rent” are okay, but still could be risky in losing your content. You can export your pages and posts, so as long as you register a domain name and use it with Wix, you still “own” your identity even if you have to move that domain someplace else in the future.
This site uses WordPress on the back end, but I can run it on any web hosting company that supports WordPress installations which makes it portable enough for me.