2023 Year Review

| 876 words | ~5 mins

I wish I could say I do a yearly review every year, but looking back I’ve not done a very good job. Let’s try to change that this year.

This year was a big change for the website. I learned about the Indieweb, moved my website away from WordPress to Hugo, and started posting new types of content with Reviews and Notes.

Indieweb

The Indieweb movement is a good take on the whole “the old net was a better place before it went corporate” idea. Most people get caught up in the nostalgia of an internet that never existed and start rejecting every form of new technology. This creates a space that is both hard to get into for less tech savvy people and ignores all the bad things from the early internet. A lot of the Indieweb folks seem to be much of the opposite. They see the issues of the modern internet, but look forward to the future to help fix them. They improve on old tech, try to bring back old concepts (web rings, RSS, etc) that decentralized the web while improving on them. They are tool agnostic and provide many resources so even people who can’t code yet can participate.

I’m still working on implementing all the Indieweb tech into this blog and I do disagree with some of their ideals, but overall it was their movement that sparked new life into the internet for me.

Switching to Hugo

I completely rebuilt this website from the ground up this year. I had an interest in Hugo for a while, but never dedicated the time to really learn it. Then I started finding out about the various small web movements like the Indieweb earlier this year. Seeing all these websites, blogs, and amazing projects that loaded fast, were fun to read, and sparked that early web feeling of discovery inspired me to finally take the plunge.

WordPress was too slow and resource heavy on my shared hosting plan, I didn’t enjoy the editing experience, and it was work to maintain. Hugo lets me write my articles in plain text/Markdown as well as easily modify existing themes to suit my needs. Pages load a lot faster now, my website is easy to modify and add new content types to, and writing is a whole lot more fun.

New Content Types

On WordPress I only used a generic post type. Creating my own templates and taxonomy structures was something I never had the interest in learning and required more work than I was willing to put in. In Hugo I can just create a new folder and start placing Markdown files in it. It will use a generic template till I am ready to create a custom one. This made it easy to start creating new content and worrying about the structure later.

The two major content types that were added to the blog this year were Reviews and Notes.

I wanted to create a place for shorter form and less structured content separate from my main articles. That is where Notes come in. Turns out that I’m bad at keeping things short, but in the future I’ll use this for a catch all of actual notes, quotes, and bookmarks for other content.

The Reviews section is more for me to more easily keep track of things I buy and give my thoughts on them. I kept forgetting what teas I’ve tried and liked, now I have a place to keep track of everything and share my love of tea with everyone. Also most reviews suck nowadays. They are either reviews of products that were only used for a short time, AI generated affiliate link farms, or sponsored content. I want quality reviews of things for both myself and others so I may as well try my hand at it.

As mentioned before, Hugo makes writing fun. Thanks to this I’ve been writing a lot more. A lot of it never sees the light of day, but I’ve been publishing and writing far more than I’ve done in the past.

2024 and Onward

I’m planning to write more often in general going forward. There are a lot of amazing things in this world and it will be fun to share them going forward. This coming year I want to document more of the teas I consume, tech I use, and provide more general tech tips.

The internet has become more centralized than ever with Patreon, Medium, Fandom, and every other commercial website pivoting to social media businesses. AI has also made it easier than ever to create random slop that plays into SEO to generate ad revenue and misinformation. The worst these companies get are fines that are always less than company profits. Only independently run websites without a profit at any cost business plan can hope to turn things around. That is why we need more robust tools to help other people create things, gain control of what they create, and publish it online. We need independent websites to help combat these centralized walled gardens. To that end I hope to help publish more guides and helpful tools to make creating and maintaining a website easier for the average user.