As a self employed software developer it is essential to have some form of web presence.

I previously had a bespoke website using latest tech and hosted on azure used primary as a portfolio piece that was attached to my email domain.

Alongside this I had a technical blog at blogspot. I found keeping both up to date required more time than I had. As a result i decided to amalgamate.

Apart from anything, I didn't like the fact my blog was detached from my personal domain. As a developer if you blog, you need to own that content and the obvious way to do so is to ensure it is housed under your personal domain. In my case this was blog.*.

As a developer if you blog, you need to own that content ...

So the next question is, which blog engine do I use. Because I don't know how often I would blog, it needed to be 1. free and preferably 2. open source. It also needed to be 3. fast and because im putting my name and reputation as a software developer it needs to be 4. extensible so I can customize it. The final requirement is that I wanted it to be a 5. markdown blog engine.

Blog Engine

1. Free

As previously mentioned im moving from Azure which is a paid product, not expensive but because the blog is effectively a static site then why do I need heavy compute power? I don't and while I already knew of free blog offerings, most platforms have paid plugins. For example having custom domains etc. So I set a challenge for myself to see how cheap I can keep it, and preferably lets keep it free without losing functionality.

...lets keep it free without losing functionality.

2. Open Source

Im pretty passionate about open source software. I've profited from it previously and contributed where appropriate. But typically open source projects have best community support and starting out on a new project, this is important! And obviously this helps with being 4. extensible.

3. Fast

This is an obvious one, it just makes for an awful UX experience. There are various blog engines out there that focus on this as a main feature but they always come at a trade-off.

4. Extensible

It's easy to extend and refactor open source work but once you fork from the source then it's difficult to keep up to date with new versions. I want to be able to use the engine of the blogging platform but I dont want to be tied to the default theme, I want to painlessly make a bespoke solution from a base product.

I want to painlessly make a despoke solution from a base product

5. Markdown

Markdown is the defaco readme language and is something I use daily and im hopeful it will make blogging faster and allow me to create rich content with a small amount of effort.

.. rich content with a small amount of effort.

So to cut a long story short, I choose Ghost. This blog is less about why than how and you can find lots of writing about the same subject here.


So the title of this blog is My new $1 Blog and this is largely true. Its effectively the cost of a domain, everything else is free.

Im really pleased with the result so far, it's pretty basic at the moment but its work in progress. Please get in touch i'll be keen to hear your thoughts of the theme. Any issues can be added here. Thanks for reading.