Why I chose Write.as over WordPress, Medium, Ghost and Substack
Today marks exactly 1 week of launching my blog. So this post is perfectly timed. For the past 2 months I've been trying to get back into writing. Writing is therapeutic to me. Something about being able to express your thoughts on paper (or screen in this case). For one reason or another I found a way to talk myself out of it. Then finally I got inspiration from this article by Polina Marinova and decided to go for it. I spent the entire week prior looking into various platforms.
I had never even heard of Write.as up until last week Sunday. So it was quite wild that I chose to use this platform. Although my nature as a person has always been to try new technology. Whenever I find something new, I try to give it a chance because new things usually come with new ideas. My research into blogging platforms led me to discover Write.as by accident. In fact, it was the exact article called “Platforms to Write on Besides Medium” which got my attention.
It's quite ironic that the first 2 articles I've already linked to in this post are both using the Substack platform, but I digress. Write.as caught my attention because It was the only one on the list I had never heard of, so I wanted to know more. The sentence that drew me in was “Write.as is an extremely minimalist blogging platform”. There are more reasons that swayed me which I will get into, but I knew as soon as I signed up and was up and running in under an hour...this was it.
After previous experiences and headaches with prior blogging platforms, I now knew what I wanted in a platform. It was as if someone was in my head and extracted details of how I would envision a blogging platform to be, documented those details and went ahead to go build it. That someone just turned out to be the founder, Matt Baer.
Here are the things I was looking for in a blogging platform as must-haves:
- No bloat
- Light and fast
- Simple to use i.e. extremely minimalist
- Preferably a managed hosting service, yet giving me full ownership and control of my data
- Reasonable pricing
- Domain name mapping
- Writing focused, not a damn CMS (Content Management System)
- Thought to execution should be flawless, like grabbing a scratchpad or journal
- Option to expand blog to Subscriber-based model if possible
- Easy flexibility for theme customization
All the points above were so important to me that I would probably talk myself out of writing again if I wasn't satisfied. Here are the things I did not like about other platforms, which discouraged me even if some of the criteria were met:
WordPress — Wordpress is like the OG. It was my first introduction to blogging on the internet. I created multiple blogs on it years ago. But over time, it just became a big bloated monster that tried to cater to everyone and lost its purpose. Add to that, the spam control and plugin breakages were just another nightmare I did not want to deal with ever again.
Medium — Medium is a platform that was newer and came close to what I was looking for. Beautiful UI and simplicity. My biggest gripe with Medium which overrides everything else is the paywall. If you haven't noticed Medium seems to put up a paywall for what I would call high traffic posts. So you get a free number of posts that you can read on Medium, but after that you have to sign-up to read any further even if the author of the post is not charging for it. Medium is pretty much being the gatekeeper of your own content. That was a big turnoff.
Substack — Substack was something I noticed a lot of professional writers/bloggers were starting to use. I would argue Substack is probably the closest thing to Write.as out of all the others. To be fair I did not use Substack yet even though I opened an account. The only thing I would say about it is that their core product focus seems to be around Newsletter style publications. But in terms of features I could see why it is gaining a lot of momentum. If I hadn't found Write.as, I would probably be using Substack.
Now coming back to why Write.as:
- Write.as just hit all the points and more. It is simple, fast, minimalist. In fact when you go to the website write.as you are automatically presented with the editor to start writing. How much faster and efficient can you get than that?
- Write.as was built on the principle that users should own their data. In a world full of greed, principles actually matter. These are the words from the founder himself:
In late 2014 I was getting more concerned for my privacy both online and on my smartphone. I felt stifled, because I knew social media sites were analyzing my status updates and search engines were cataloging my searches. So I wanted to create an antidote for that feeling, and came up with Write.as. ... I own 100% of the company and don't plan to ever sell it (or our users) off.
The pricing is as fair as you can get, $5/mth. In fact, I was so shocked with the pricing I opted for the $180 for 5 years pro plan. Seriously that's cheaper than a pair of high-end shoes.
Everything about it is writing focused. I can put thoughts down quickly. The use of a Markdown language to quickly add formatting to text.
It allows you to change the look and feel of your site by using standard CSS syntax. I would argue this is better than downloading themes like other blogs. Just tweak things yourself to how you like it.
You can add up to 10 additional blogs...10!!!
Allows you to map your own domain, so www.yoursite.com will show the blog.
Comes with a Free Snap.as account which allows you to host photos
I can keep going on and on without accounting for everything it has to offer. You can see pricing and feature details here. If you are looking for something new and different in a blogging platform I would highly recommend to consider Write.as.