@alongtheray Couldn’t agree more with any of this. I’d never ditch a home on the web that I control and is linked to me, for Substack or anything else. Credit where it’s due, Substack is a better choice than many other options out there, but as you mention it’s still bereft of the charm and openness of a personal blog.
@pimoore Credit agreed - Substack's brilliant in their implementation and mainstreaming of newsletters for all. I'm hoping an enterprising dev can duplicate that for Wordpress with everything baked in. Newsletter Glue comes closest but you still need to hook into an email provider and Stripe, etc.
@alongtheray Considering Automattic has been moving and shaking lately with bringing Day One and Pocket Casts aboard, it wouldn’t surprise me if they also get newsletters into the mix for further integration into the platform.
@pimoore Excellent points and add in Automattic's acquistition of MailPoet along with a substantial investment in Titan Email, something's afoot...
@pimoore the theory is you can always export your substack posts and import them elsewhere … Eg I experimented with export and import to buttondown - and it worked … then all you have to do is set your dns to whatever your url is and voila - it moves much like a micro blog archive.
That said - it isn’t perfect.
@alongtheray @pimoore I'd like to strongly disagree. Substack has custom domains support, easily exportable posts (what @JohnPhilpin mentioned), exportable email lists (per category that too), a customizable sidebar for links (you can put Blogrolls in here, for example), ability to not send posts as emails i.e. only to the blog and RSS, and so on. All with a super clean Editor and no nagging to enable paid subscriptions anywhere in the Dashboard or UI. No ads anywhere on your blog+newsletter either.
On the other hand, Wordpress is an absolute mess to use, especially in its popular Wordpress.com implementation. Any feature you can add via plugins and stuff is not obvious to non-techies or easy for them to control. The Block Editor gives so much friction to the writing process it's crazy it was even considered good enough to drop it on tens of millions of users. If you have a blog on Wordpress.com, or connect Jetpack to hosted Wordpress, the dashboard is utterly littered with ads from WordPress in nearly every single section of the Dashboard, urging you to upgrade even if you're already on one of their paid plans.
I find it suprising that people who vouch for blogging and its culture continue to promote and laud Wordpress but judge when people use Substack. Substack has its flaws but this particular issue seems to be misplaced among my blogging-culture-loving friends IMO.
The other argument I want to make is that many of us here in this community and beyond are more tech savvy than people on average. We don't realize just how much friction exists for people in general to setup their own identity on the Web. We tend to judge a blog on its architectural foundation so much that we often miss focusing on the words the person is putting out. I'd say let's judge something on the actual words the blogging system is enabling people to put out rather than just its visible exterior.
@uncertainquark 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼on that last paragraph particularly. I wish I knew more because (at risk of repeating myself) until this indie world we all love is made easy for ordinary folk to engage with and use it will forever be destined to remain fringe and the easy to use Facebook type sludge will continue unabated.
Re Substack … agree … though I do wish the editor was more open and flexible.
Imagine a Craft like interface to the Substack engine?
I think it is the thinking of ‘Hamish’ at Substack who believes that a newsletter coming from Substack can’t (for example) even align text right … because he ‘doesn’t like’ things aligned right!
That last paragraph just updated / corrected to what I was really trying today … thanks for highlighting @uncertainquark
@uncertainquark Agree strongly too. Let’s not be principally opposed to something that does a great job. Custom domains is what makes MB hosting indeweb-friendly too. Although I’ve used Wordpress since 2004, I quit it due to its block editor. It wasn’t blogging-friendly.
@uncertainquark I certainly agree with many of your points regarding Substack. As I said in the article you are referring to: "There’s nothing wrong with utilizing Substack (I certainly see the appeal) but why not keep your blog alive as your central home at the same time?" My point is to at least keep a separate blog as your home archive of All Your Things in the event Substack ever goes down or goes out of business.
@alongtheray we agree.
But how is that different to what substack offers?
Imagine a Craft like interface to the Substack engine?
Interesting. I work with the Craft CMS as part of my professional work with an organization and agree it's really powerful, that too without the clutter of WordPress. Especially efficient for when teams need to reuse content in an organizational setting. However, if I were to look at it purely from a writing POV as a professional individual need, I think it takes a fair bit more steps to put out a standard article there compared to Substack so I still prefer the latter. But agree that Craft's flexibility is something to draw inspiration from.
I think it is the thinking of ‘Hamish’ at Substack who believes that a newsletter coming from Substack can’t (for example) even align text left … because he ‘doesn’t like’ things aligned left!
Text is left-aligned by default on Substack, did you mean no possibility of right-alignment or center-alignment instead?
Although I’ve used Wordpress since 2004, I quit it due to its block editor. It wasn’t blogging-friendly.
Much the same, except I'm too young to have started blogging in 2004, ha! I started blogging in 2011 with Blogger and then shifted to WordPress in 2013. The Block Editor was the last straw in a series of increasing cruft on the platform.
@alongtheray I second @JohnPhilpin's question. To add:
But why not keep your blog alive as your central home at the same time?
Because Substack is the blog.
My point is to at least keep a separate blog as your home archive of All Your Things in the event Substack ever goes down or goes out of business.
Couldn't the same be said for virtually any platform that's not open source? Also, why does it matter as long as the posts are exportable in a standard format, which they are, and so is the email list. Along with custom domain support, how is Substack any different or incompatible from other blogging platforms at a functional level?
@uncertainquark Ah! So nice to be young 😀 But yeah, cruft is the right word and for me too, block editor was the last straw. I had used it on Mailchimp and definitely didn’t want it on my blog.
@uncertainquark There's absolutely nothing wrong with what you propose. My preference is if you have an existing blog to keep it as your homebase but folks will do what they want.
@uncertainquark yes - sorry - right aligned / centered
@uncertainquark I agree there is more than enough (too much) for simple writing in Craft … and not perfect … i was more thinking that IF Craft can do what they do … it wouldn’t be hard for Substack to provide a better writing interface than they do.
Galling also that while this isn’t possible they have just announced private beta of video in Newsletters.
I also like @dave ‘s take … I should be able to write in my editor of choice and push into places like Substack.
How hard to add a markdown import?
@JohnPhilpin Agree with Dave. Good point. At least Markdown import should be there. It would also allow Substack to better their import process, in fact.
@uncertainquark just updated my reply to read correctly … thanks for picking upon the error.
I know what you mean. I quite like it at moment of creating a post in Wordpress … can really make interesting looking posts … but heavens … the revisit to edit the html via Mars Edit after publishing makes my head spin!
Also for post posts it is totally unnecessary.
@alongtheray @uncertainquark I didn’t mean to imply that Substack was a bad product either, merely I’d much rather host it through my own blog channel so I have full control over the process and visual styling. I wasn’t aware of the export options, so that’s very good news for backup purposes or if one decides to leave the platform. I also applaud Substack for having something that’s accessible to people with a wide range of technical know how.
If push came to shove and I didn’t want a traditional blog, it’s likely what I would be using. But given the choice between hosted blog and Substack, I’ll take a blog every time as my primary source of content.
@pimoore Agree on the part of having full control over styling being a plus on traditional blogs if that's how you like to roll. However, I'm curious about what you mean by the following, could you elaborate?
But given the choice between hosted blog and Substack, I’ll take a blog every time as my primary source of content.
What about Substack makes it not a blog to you? Other than not having full control over its visual design. Or rather, how would you define a blog?
@pimoore No worries Pete and my sentiment is the same as yours.