This post is also available in: 繁體中文
I decided to build my blog with WordPress and customer domain name after reading the book The Power of Output: How to Change Learning to Outcome.
To do selection, I have a critical principle that I should do as least effort as possible to compare options. One of the criteria of the least effort is that I should spend as little time as possible because we have too many other things to do and building a blog is just one of many insignificant events in a person’s life.
Here are my choices then
GoDaddy for Domain Name
I used GoDaddy for domain names for years. Even if you can purchase domain name via other hosting services, I prefer manage all my domain names in one place. Moreover, there are some top-level domain on sales all the time on GoDaddy. For example, .today was on sales, which helped me decide my domain name as shaka.today.
Reasons for WordPress over Medium
- I set up bilingual functionality so readers can easily switch to their preferred language, English or Chinese, in all the posts. Medium doesn’t support such functionality.
- By choosing WordPress I am not bound to any web service and completely own my content.
- WordPress is more than being a blog. Using WordPress I keep the flexibility to expand its functionality.
SiteGround as the Hosting for WordPress
As my principle is to spend less time as possible on making a lifetime-insignificant choice, I went to the hosting recommendation on WordPress.org. They only put three on their recommendation list: Bluehost, Dreamhost, and SiteGround.
According to my minimum time spending on lifetime-insignificant choices, I directly tried Bluehost. However, I found I have to pay more for their SEO and security tools, which I felt a sense of tricks that could charge me more than other hosting services could. So, I turned to SiteGround which is a bit techie but emphasizes on performance and security. Moreover, their site tool got a more modern UI/UX design than my brief impression on Bluehost.
WPML as the WordPress Plugin for Supporting Multilingual Blog Posts
I found this article How to Easily Create a Multilingual WordPress Site. TranslatePress does a good job doing translation on live editor of WordPress front-end, but writing a blog post in any language we need the rich text back-end editor.
I did try the free Polylang, but the language switcher on the menu bar didn’t show Chinese as an option even if I provided corresponding Chinese pages and posts. I stuck on it for about 6 hours.
Finally, I turned to the paid one, WPML, which helps me present all my posts with language switcher links on top of the article once I write the corresponding translation. As I remember WPML solved my problem within one hour from purchasing license, installation, to setup.
It took me two days to launch my blog. One of the two days was spent on setting up the bilingual feature. It should be a reasonable time investment since English and Chinese are the top two influential languages today and I can write both.
My blog had been quite slow so I explored some ways to speed up such as removing unneeded WordPress plugins and doing optimization via click-and-work WordPress SiteGround Optimization tools. Unfortunately, the builtin CDN integration from SiteGround crashed my site. It’s another story to successfully deploy the CDN.
Until today there are still many left to be improved, such as refining my homepage. Still, I can do shaka.today everyday. I hope my experience could help readers a bit with making their own blogs or WordPress sites.