Blog status update (April 2020): Thoughts on a year with ClassicPress

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I haven’t had one of these posts in awhile, but thought it was time for another entry.

A year with ClassicPress

ClassicPress

I’ve been using ClassicPress, the Gutenberg block editor-free fork of WordPress, for about a year now.

So far, everything’s been like the old-school WordPress, and I’ve kept my old blogging model intact—writing posts in a WYSIWIG post editor, without dealing with a block-based model that feels more geared toward competing with Squarespace/aimed at page designers than writing at length. There’s also some plans to cut down on some of WordPress’ bloat.

The downsides so far?

  • A few plugins and themes have dropped support for ClassicPress (by virtue of dropping support for pre-version 5.0 versions of WordPress), and/or made clear they won’t go out of their way to support it.
  • So far, I’m not sure if it’s grown in popularity as much as I’d hoped. WordPress proper still seems to have a firm hold on blogging/website creation, though its Classic Editor plugin certainly helps. I’m wondering what the long-term future holds for ClassicPress, especially if plugins/themes don’t keep pre-WP 5.0 support.
  • ClassicPress shares some of the same flaws as WordPress, particularly: the amount of maintenance work required; a reliance on plugins for some basic features that should be built-in; and security concerns.

While I’m still open to alternatives, they also have their own downsides:

  • Ghost crashed when I tried setting up a trial version on a Digital Ocean droplet.
  • Grav seemed reasonably easy enough to install/maintain (a “flat file” CMS, so no database). However, like Ghost, the ability to reuse the same image seemed a bit more work involved than in WordPress/ClassicPress. No media library (from what I could find) means I basically had to look up the original image’s URL and copy/paste it into the new post.
  • Static site generators (Jekyll, Hugo, etc.) didn’t seem easy to use or install.
  • Exporting my existing site to any of the above still might be a lot of work (fixing formatting issues, etc.).
  • I’d likely have to switch to Disqus for site comment support (since it doesn’t seem built into most of the above options).

Most of my traffic’s mobile-based

Looking at my site statistics information in Matomo (formerly Piwik), one interesting item: most of my site’s traffic comes from mobile devices. Looking back over the past three months’ worth of data:

Matomo device traffic

Smartphones made up 52% of traffic during this period. Desktops, meanwhile, made up 40%. Tablets came out to 5%. Not a surprise, I suppose, given the shift to smartphone usage over the past decade.

I’ve tried making this site mobile-friendly, though there’s probably room for improvement. How do you access this site?


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2 comments

  1. I access your site through desktop, specifically from Feedly.

    I’ve gone full-in for Wordpress blocks. Awkward at first, but I’m getting used to it. Although I’ll admit, I never write the full blog post in Wordpress. I always compose the majority of the text in BBEdit or Evernote. And then copy the text into Wordpress. From there, I add all the various styling I need.

    I have to admit, I do like the ability to move blocks around. And I’m a fan of the atomization of a blog post. All blog posts should have the ability to have every single paragraph be its own entity. It’s my dream to have a blog where any paragraph can be commented directly upon.

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