WebPublisher.xyz Updates

Hey guys. So I’ve mentioned a few times the blog I’m making, and I thought I’ll share with you all some updates about it (including some of my ideas for its content), lest some of you might think it’s already coming very soon. It is not.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

My blog-under-construction is now temporarily live at its address: www.webpublisher.xyz

The first two posts are from the theme’s documentation, to show you what the actual content pages will look like. The theme I’ve chosen (after my customizations) is ideal for long form writing and technical documents.

Now, as its title and tagline declares — WebPublisher.xyz: Publishing on the Web like a Pro — this blog will be about online publishing, and its target audience are the beginners and non-technical people. The “like a Pro” in the tagline has a silent addition: “Even if you’re not!”

Each letter in the XYZ domain refers to the three non-competing publishing platforms that I’ll be featuring in this blog (and that I’ll also be using personally): Hugo (X), TikiWiki (Y), and of course, ClassicPress (Z). I say “non-competing” because each one has a different design, infrastructure, philosophy, and target users from the other two. For now though, because I’m still new to both Hugo and Tiki, my focus will be on ClassicPress.

This a Hugo website — a static one, made up of only HTML, CSS, JS, and other resources. I’ve chosen a static site instead of dynamic because, besides costing much less and being much faster, I only aim to present information with this blog. There won’t be any user-generated content.

The two types of posts that I’ll be writing are articles and tutorials. My multimedia use will be limited to images only, which will be mostly screenshots.

My topics will cover web publishing in general, not just the three platforms. And so I’ll also be writing general info articles about HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, SEO, GDPR, web hosting, web security, etc. I might even give some tutorials about using the command line. In other words, all the necessary information the reader might need to be able to effectively use the three platforms.

As you can see, I have years-worth of topics to write about. Thus my careful planning and the great need to study.

Right now I still have a lot to do in preparation (like setting up my development environment and my workflow, and like reading a few books), so this blog won’t be launched yet anytime soon.

I will be licensing the content under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). This means that you’ll be able to adapt and build upon my work for non-commercial purposes.

My plan for monetization is to ask for donations through Ko-fi and the PayPal donate button. I’m hoping that this will work, because I’d rather not put advertisements.

One important thing I’m considering is hosting the source files of the website in a GitHub repository, just like any project, complete with forking, pull requests, and issue submissions. (Hugo source files consist of Markdown, HTML templates, CSS, JS, fonts, etc.) This way you can easily adapt my work for your own needs, and you can even contribute to its improvement.

The downside of this is that I don’t know yet how to use Git and GitHub (so I will have to study first), and I’m not sure if I can even manage such a project at all. But the upside is that I’ll able to host the blog for free in GitHub Pages.

So what do you think? Should I put the source files in GitHub?

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For GitHub, you can check on ClassicPress blog, there is a tutorial series that is really good.
Yours is a very detailed plan and it seems to me you have very clear steps in mind to act upon, I think this is very important.
I would stop worrying about the when, or better… I would fix a deadline (example: an year from now) as a “starting point”.
To do this you need to understand roughly how much time each step of your plan will take to be completed.
Than you will have an idea of when you will be ready to launch the site.
There is no problem in planning, doing research, writing content and preparing everything behind the scenes, but sometimes you need to place an expiry date just to have a “target” to aim at. This will keep you motivated because you will know you decided the launch period.
Just saying “it will happen sometime” can hinder your ability to commit to it.
There is also no need to share your foreseen launch period with people for this strategy to work, because it’s something you are setting for yourself to have an idea of timing and to feel the project is moving towards it.
On the monetization topic, donations can be one way to do it, another can be collecting your topics in booklets (let’s say you write about SEO, at a certain point you can convert the articles about SEO in a pdf ebook that people can purchase - the added value here is they will have all the content pieced together instead of having to follow along on the blog).

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I have a meticulous and visionary mind… :wink:

The idea is that I will write as I myself continue to learn. That’s why this blog is aimed at beginners and non-techies, because I’m not much above them in terms of learning.

I also don’t plan on laying down all the details. No one can see that far into the future. As long as the foundations are done and the path I’m going to take are more or less fixed on my mind (and in paper), I can start. So all these preparations probably won’t take me a whole year… :grinning:

Yes, thanks for this suggestion.

That’s not a good way to monetize your blog. Even ads like Google Ads isn’t a good way to monetize blogs. You need a huge amount of traffic to make PPC ads profitable, and even then it’s still hard.

What does work:

  • affiliate marketing
  • sponsorships and paid content
  • getting writing gigs
  • selling courses
  • selling services
  • if your content is good and people want more, subscriptions through services like Patreon or setting up paid newsletter

The first two options are the passive income streams that don’t require constant work. What I would focus on.

I’ve been through it all over the past decade and help clients with it. Big part of my income comes from passive streams, so I don’t have to do a whole lot of work with clients.

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Yes, I prefer passive income.

But affiliate marketing won’t work for me, I think. There’s not much commercial products surrounding these three platforms, unlike in WP. But I will look into it.

Sponsorship & paid content sound good :grinning:

Ko-fi is like Patreon, also offering membership subscriptions besides being a donation platform, but I’m not sure I would go for restricted content. The idea is to write and share freely, to help as many people as possible, so that they, in turn, will use the featured platforms, esp. ClassicPress. That’s why I’m licensing the content under Creative Commons.

Follow up question:

Who will own the copyright for posts written under sponsorship and payment? The sponsor? If the posts are not mine then I can’t license them under CC like the rest of the site.

And if they’re not mine, I can’t release the website’s source in GitHub.

That is why practically no Ody open sources his content.
If you want to monetize you have to keep it proprietary.
You can have a page explaining people are free to share small portions of it by quoting the source with a link back to it to send people to read whole content on your site, but not offer it as a open source licence.

My perspective:

Don’t monetize it directly at all. Only do what you can afford to give away for free.

You can still monetize this content indirectly by using it as a portfolio piece and an example of your work.

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You’re right. It’s kind of a conflict of interest, isn’t it?

The thing is, I don’t have any other plans to build on this blog. The other thing I do (Christian blogging) is totally unrelated to it.

You regularly write long forum posts – they could be blog articles instead.

It’s extremely unlikely that donations or ads will work here as hoped. The likelihood of anyone donating is slim-to-none, even if they absolutely love what you’re producing. People just don’t do it. In 20 years of open source, I still haven’t made enough in donations to buy a single tank of gas.

Ad performance is going to be similar – if you don’t have tens of thousands of engaged visitor per day, it’s not going to do anything substantive. Most people block ads, anyway…and those who don’t virtually never see them due to “banner blindness.”

I suspect you’ll have to figure out other ways to monetize the blog, or just accept that it’s an unpaid, volunteer effort.

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Yes, I also hear this from other sources. But it doesn’t hurt to put Donation links. Just in case :wink:

And ads is definitely way down in my list.

I guess I will have to find other monetizing strategies that works for me.

But I can’t accept yet that this will be a pure volunteer effort. At least I can continue to hope. As CP plugin & theme developers hope for a large user base so that they can sell premium products, I too can hope to monetize my content.

But of course, I won’t stop writing just because there might not be enough money coming in. Money is not my main motivation. Like many of you here, I genuinely desire to help people and the community.

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Personally I’d suggest to not attempt the ads thingy as others have said

It’s annoying :slight_smile: as a user I close websites when I see ads. It’s like … usually disrupts the website design and flow and it just really annoys me, not sure why.

I think I’m not alone with this „behavior“
Donate link, yes - without expectation but I’d not object it. I’d even donate if I find the content useful.

People do donate. But you’ve to incentivize it for them usually in form of a tax reduction which I assume you can’t (unless you’ve some legal status permitting that)
But it’s still worth the try and doesn’t cost much effort (I’d use a simple „PayPal donate link“)

I find the idea good that was mentioned to use this as a showcase and seo platform for whatever you can sell

Maybe you can sell consultation for these 3 cms - even in a non technical and „pre usage“ way. Or perhaps you’ve ambitions to become a copy writer - then a blog is a great showcase too.

Like creating a site with that Hugo thingy - „read here how to / you’re not comfortable doing it? For a small fee yada yada“

Unfortunately the times where a blog made direct money are … long over. I recall a guy I met in Mexico he made literally thousands of dollars monthly because blogging about travels… companies wanted their product advertised on his blog because back then that blog was one amongst a few.
Im traveling since 10 years uninterrupted and surely that’s quite unique, also considering how I walked thousands of kilometers instead of taking a train or plane.
Yet when I wanted to blog about that literally no one with the money to pay for ads or such was around anymore. Nowadays you need to be Bella porch to make money with your „words“ (or perhaps it’s that, one doesn’t need to use words, nowadays you need to make sounds and look cute and have a couple million tikkeditokki followers)

Tech blogs are even worse off, the net is literally cluttered with them. You’d need to write some astonishing first-time contents to attract the millions of clicks you’d need to get either PPK or other form of ad-income.

The affiliate thingy - I’ve made 120 bucks in 1 year. And it’s hard too. Just putting the link there usually doesn’t help.
People copy paste the link and remove the affiliate code. You’ve to give them a discount to actually have them use your link. And most affiliate partners don’t allow that, as they consider this concurrent selling.

So summarizing - you’ll need to be sure that you blog because you like it, and use it as a „channel“ to speak to your users rather than expecting direct income from it.

The site looks good :blush:
Fast loading, and clean design.
Perhaps I’d look into a full screen mobile menu if that’s possible with the Hugo thingy. But that’s just a visual matter that not even everyone necessarily prefers.

A hint: Remove those dead posts ASAP.
Google already saw them.
When you remove them make sure to redirect with proper 301 because otherwise google will punish you for „404“.
And that’s a bad start.

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Yes. No ads then. I hate ads too.

And perhaps a simple PayPal donate button will suffice. I’m not sure about using Ko-fi anyway.

Yes, I’ve been thinking about what James said, and I think I’ll look deeper into this, evaluate if this is something I would want to commit to. I just never looked beyond the blog itself.

Perhaps I can offer my writing services. Or like you said, some technical help in helping someone get a good start.

One option that I’m already considering is to sell a PDF version of each blog post, maybe at $2 or 3$ each. I write in long form anyway (min. of 1,000 words), and so that seems like good value for such a price.

Yes, I already have the general sense about these things. The “glory days” of blogs are long over.

It is. If you know how to do it. You can override anything in the theme. They’re only HTML (with Golang variables), CSS, JS files and other resources. Similar to a child theme overriding the parent theme in CP/WP.

I put a robots.txt that disallows crawling of the entire site. And so this isn’t a problem, I hope.

I’ll put the site in Maintenance Mode in a few days time, and reopen it when I’m ready to launch.

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I pay aspiring writers between 20 and 50 dollar each 1000 words (which is nothing, an experienced writer will charge 100)
So 2-3 Dollar is … undersold.

But I’d rather offer your writing than sell pdfs

I mean… I’d have work for you if you’re interested. I offer my blog for upcoming writers to blog about anything they want literally
The only condition is I pay maximally 50 bucks each 1000 words +-

You can even write about yourself or your beliefs, I literally don’t care. As long the content is not spammy.

My model is I offer writers the blog to write in their name, so they get all the “recognition”. But I don’t pay already established writers - they have usually already a foot in the business and don’t need “a kickstart”
With this I get affordable content and keep the blog alive.

So far out of 4 writers 3 are worth it. The 4th wasn’t worth it :rofl:

PM me if you’re interested :wink:

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Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. Here are a few things I’ve decided based on your feedback.

  • Because I want to monetize the blog, I will no longer license its content under Creative Commons, nor release its source in GitHub.

  • I will provide a simple PayPal Donate button for those who might want to donate. I will no longer use Ko-fi.

  • Running adverts is no longer an option.

  • From time to time, I may collect some of my blog posts and sell them as ebooks.

  • My primary monetization strategy, however, is to use this blog as my portfolio while I sell my services as a freelance technical writer, specializing in computers and web technologies.

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