This blog was started back in 2006 and has seen a number of updates since. Despite this page obviously being the first post, I think this page has been the least visited.
That’s not too surprising though. Here’s the entirety of what this page has said since 2006:
Welcome to Matt Gadient’s blog. So why have I chosen to start up with a blog at blogger.com? Quite simply, after reading up on different blog hosts (MySpace, MSN, or fantastico options if I were hosting it myself) I determined that blogger.com offered the best interface for quick, easy, blogging. It is also the most professional-looking online host in my opinion.
So what can you expect to find here in the days ahead? Just about anything and everything throughout and about my day. Possibly some information about my websites, and if I’ve been asked a question (which tends to happen quite often), there’s a good chance I’ll stick the answer up here.
Riveting stuff, I know. Technically, it did get 1 update over the 15 year period which was this:
Update: The site has been since moved to my own domain and now uses WordPress.
How that monster update didn’t result in traffic exploding, I don’t know.
With that said, I recently realized it was time to either delete this page, or give it an update of sorts. Not wanting to obliterate my first post ever, I went with the latter. So here’s a little walk through time.
To be frank, I’m not 100% sure if this was the actual page, or if it’s missing the CSS. Neither would surprise me.
The above is WordPress: I didn’t actually last very long on Blogger before self-hosting, though that was largely because I was at the point where I was building other sites anyway. Here’s the update I had written when I made the switch:
From Blogger.com to self-hosted WordPress
Today I made the switch. I’d been considering moving to WordPress for the last week. First, I’m going to tell you how I switched, and then I’ll tell you why.
Switching is surprisingly easy. WordPress has an import feature built in that will automatically move all the posts from your old blog to your new WordPress blog. Neat, huh? It currently supports importing from LiveJournal, Blogger, Dotclear, MT (Movable Type), Text Pattern, or an RSS Feed.
Importing from Blogger.com (mattgadient.blogspot.com in my case) was really quite simple. All I had to do was enter my username and password, and WordPress automatically logged in to Blogger.com, made a template change, pulled all my posts, and then restored the Blogger site. They of course recommend you back up from blogger first in case something goes awry, but I didn’t, and even though it experienced a time-out during the transfer, it managed to pick up where it left off and finished just fine.
Now it isn’t quite that simple. First you have to install WordPress. If you’re not technically minded, this can be a challenge, as it involves copying files to your host, changing permissions, setting up a database, and editing a couple files. Fortunately, there’s a lot of detail on the WordPress site to help walk you through it. If you’re really lucky, your host might offer WordPress installation through Fantastico, which means it’s a matter of a few easy steps before you’re set up (although you’ll still have to do a few technical things afterwards). Once you’re all set up though, it’s smooth sailing.
Why the switch?
Blogger is honestly great for beginners. You don’t have to really set anything up. If you’ve ever created a Yahoo/Hotmail/Gmail email account, you have enough technical know-how to set up a blog through Blogger. It’s simple. Once you have a grasp of things, you can start learning to make changes to your template, make tweaks to your pages through HTML, etc, but you’re not forced to.
But there are a few sacrifices you make by staying with Blogger.com…
- You never really own the site. If for some reason it was ever ‘taken away’ from you, you’d have no recourse.
- Sloppy HTML. Every time I go to edit the html of the page I’m working on, I’m confronted with layers of nested “span” tags. Not a big deal for those who never edit the HTML directly. Eventually they’ll probably make changes to the editor though to resolve this issue.
- Slow servers. Maybe this will change in the future. Lately though, things have been slow… so slow at times that I spent an hour trying to upload an image. I finally gave up and waited until the next day. The server that my blog was hosted on also seemed to go down fairly often. Hosting your own site, you obviously have a little more control in choosing a good host.
- Limited Adsense placement. To their credit, they offer easy Adsense integration if you want an ad at the top of the page before the first post. With a little template editing, you can also get ads in the sidebar, footer, between posts, or just above the comments. However, if you try to move an ad inside a post, it won’t work. Unfortunately, within the content is a great position for ads, especially if you have a long post.
- Basic, limited options. There isn’t a heck of a lot of flexibility, and you won’t really notice this until you change, or until there’s a feature you want that isn’t available.
Again, Blogger.com is absolutely fantastic for beginners, and for basic blogs. But those who are serious about blogging will undoubtedly find themselves looking for more.
The little things all add up, and hence were the reason for my switch. After experiencing the flexibility offered by WordPress, I don’t think I could ever go back. Keep in mind that if you’re thinking of switching yourself, there certainly is a technical curve with hosting your own WordPress site. If you can manage it though, it won’t be a decision you’ll regret.
An actual theme update took place by 2009, and this was the first time it really started to look something like a modern day blog.
Enter 2011 and you can see that while I kept a similar layout, a few things had been refined.
This was undoubtedly the biggest visual update, using a (long gone) theme called Arjuna X.
If you’re wondering why there always seems to be a sidebar taking up 1/3 of the screen, keep in mind this was back before mobile had taken off. Full-screen browsing was common, and since the width of the main content was usually clamped, just about every site had a sizeable sidebar.
The tag line finally changed from “Informational Blogging” to “Tech stuff, some fixes/solutions, and occasionally a passionate rant”.
I actually made this theme!
The previous “Arjuna X” theme broke after a WordPress update, and after tinkering to fix it, I decided to tinker more. And more.
Eventually I’d rewritten the entire thing. I released it as “Jishnu”. It contained an algorithm that could auto-set all the theme colors based on a single color you selected from the color picker. My local copy would even animate the circles in the top header on mouseover using CSS. Yes, it was highly customizable and oh so fancy.
It was undoubtedly the biggest theme update the site ever saw.
Mobile web browsers really started taking off, which meant the non-mobile-friendly site needed to change. Unfortunately, the previous theme really wasn’t designed to squeeze onto a small screen, and thus I went with a responsive theme called RTPanel which I modified to a degree.
Eventually, I put together a fairly simple responsive theme without a sidebar and with as little “screen clutter” as possible.
The reason for reducing clutter was 2-fold. First, it works as a micro-optimization: there’s actually a heavy bit of surrounding HTML that supports all the small stuff, and some of my pages are quite large as it is. Second, most of my visitors are looking for something very specific and a very small subset actually browse around: whittling things down to the bare necessities makes it a little easier to focus on the content.
And there we have it! A little bit of website history.