When I wanted to build my site, I quickly Googled and set it up an hour later. In hindsight, I should’ve done more research. I started by using WordPress with crappy self-hosting, and I wished I didn’t start there. Here’s the current stack of what I’m using.
- Ghost: If you love Apple products because “they just work”, you’re going to love Ghost. Ghost is to blogs what Apple is to smartphones. It’s fast, and it functions well as a blog straight out of the box. There’s no need to tinker around with plugins and settings, unlike WordPress.
- DigitalOcean: I use DigitalOcean to host my Ghost site. You need to get your hands dirty to set it up, but that can quickly be done by following some Internet guides. It’s cheap too! Pricing starts as low as $5 a month. Use my link for $100 credit (valid for 60 days). Students can get ten months for free if they link their DigitalOcean account to the Github Student Developer Pack.
- Substack: Substack’s a fast and cheap way to set up your newsletter. However, I’m considering moving to Revue as I can use a custom domain for free, and it has integrations with Ghost. (The only thing putting me off right now is the lack of an import feature)
- NameCheap: I use Namecheap to buy domains. It’s cheaper compared to other domain providers, and it includes domain privacy for free. Students can get one .me site free for one year via the Github Student Developer Pack.
- CloudFlare: I use Cloudflare as a CDN. It helps secure my site and gives my site a free SSL certificate.
- Canva: I keep it simple when it comes to design, and I use Canva to make my featured images. Most of my featured images take about 5 minutes to create, and many love it. Students can get free Canva Premium for a year via the Github Student Developer Pack.
- Roam Research: Roam is where I keep all of my notes, and it’s where I do the initial outlining for my articles as I can quickly create an outline by connecting ideas.
- Bear: I use Bear for the initial drafting of an essay. It’s beautiful, fast, and is a pleasure to write on. Best of all, you can use Markdown!
- Google Docs: Google Docs is where I edit my first draft. It’s not Markdown, but it works.
- Grammarly: I use Grammarly for finding typos and grammatical errors. The free version is good enough!
- Hemingwayapp: I use the Hemingway App to make my writing bold and clear. It highlights lengthy and complicated sentences, as well as adverbs and passive voices.
- Notion: I use Notion as a database of all my articles. I keep all published articles in here as you can easily navigate and search Notion’s database. It also functions as a backup of all my pieces! Students can get the Personal Pro plan for free.