Why Blog? Why WordPress? Why LexBlog?

The order of questions in the title is important. From general to specific. Why blog? Why am I blogging?

First off, I like to hear myself talk. It’s a failing, vanity at its worst, I know, but the sound of my own voice and thoughts is something that’s soothing. A child of Montana, being alone and in my head is a comfort. Blogging, in many ways, affords that same comfort. My internal voice gets a chance to stretch its legs while writing – a meditative exercise.

This is also a natural progression. After working at LexBlog full-time for going on three years, going from Account Manager to Technical Product Manager, my lack of a blog has always struck me as hypocritical – especially since I truly do believe in the power of blogging. For me, this blog is purely about love and knowledge – love of knowledge? Either/or, really. As my understanding of various technologies has grown, so has my desire to keep track of all these bits of information that come my way. Beyond being a place to record my thoughts, this blog is a way for me to grow professionally through writing about the subjects that are near and dear to my hear. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you feel the same way about these things that I do.

So why WordPress? Well. Per haps I should start with the why not. From a developer’s perspective (not a WordPress developer mind you, someone new to the technology stack), WordPress might feel cumbersome. There are a litany of helper functions to learn, it’s built using a somewhat outdated paradigm (PHP templates drawing from a MySQL database), and around every corner there is a plugin or theme that promises you the world, but delivers only a fraction of that. Ultimately, you’re left feeling handcuffed and frustrated, wondering when you can get back to your static HTML files where you control every piece of the markup, letting you build a website without a concern.

From an end-user’s perspective, the WordPress ecosystem is large and intimidating. The software is over a decade old and has lived the open source ethos for the entirety of its life. That means for every problem or need you may have, there are not one, not two, but dozens of solutions. All with varying pros and cons. How are you supposed to choose? Then, heaven forbid you choose a beautiful looking theme or find that perfect plugin right at the moment that the developer behind it decides they are done supporting their creation. Two years later, your site breaks or some function no longer works as expected and you’re left searching for a developer to fix things. That, coupled with having to learn a user interface that can feel clunky (especially if you’re layering on complexity outside the traditional sweet spot of the software) and it can be a difficult experience to say the least.

So. Why WordPress? For all of it’s issues, WordPress is a beautiful piece of software with a vibrant community behind it. As a technically minded person, my Feedly is always hopping with folks like Tom McFarlin, Chris Lema, Chris Coyier, Justin Tadlock, Pippin Williamson, Devin Price, Morten Rand-Hendriksen, and so many more – and when they go quiet, as happens on blogs from time to time, there are sites like Torque and Post Status to keep me warm, and that’s just WordPress content!

There are so many technologies that integrate with WordPress that the information available is staggering. For me, WordPress is at the center of it all. PHP, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, REST, Git, SVN, dev ops, test driven development, object oriented programming, Singletons, functional programming, Linux, Apache, nginx – it all comes back and circles around WordPress. That it’s possible for someone like myself to dive into the web through a tool that allows anyone to put a voice on the internet is beautiful both technically and philosophically.

So again, why WordPress? Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Last, but not least, why LexBlog?

I of course am biased, but the product we put out is second to none in terms of supporting professionals in their desire to get their voice heard. The internet is a vast and complex place, but for people trying to serve as resources to others, it shouldn’t be that way. What we do at LexBlog is take a complex thing and make it simple, layering on all the technologies that we’ve built over the past ten years in a way that allows our clients to go from barely knowing what a blog is to getting in front of an audience and a world of opportunities that they didn’t know existed. That’s the internet! That’s the beauty of it all. That we empower people to take that first step is easy to get behind and feel good about – made even easier knowing that their goal is to educate and support their own clients.