I am writing a blog post every day from December 1st to December 24th, 2021, about a blogger whose writing or site I follow. My aim for this series is to help you discover new blogs and to help get the word out about content creators whose blogs I appreciate. You can read more about this series in the inaugural Day 1 post.
I encountered Chris Aldrich's site before I learned about the IndieWeb, a community of people who are interested in making personal websites and taking control over their data. When I started diving deeper into the IndieWeb, I realised that Chris was part of the community. Chris had even written about quite a few IndieWeb topics, including an introductory guide to the IndieWeb community which helped me get started and learn how the community worked.
Chris' website is an excellent example of how you can take control of your data without using code. Chris posts likes, comments, bookmarks, and over a dozen types of posts on his website. Some posts are created elsewhere and syndicated to his site using an approach called POSSE (publish on your own site, syndicate elsewhere). Other posts are written on his site. You can go to lists like drinks or annotations or bookmarks to see posts that fit under those categories. Want to know what blogs Chris finds interesting? Check out his Follows page. These posts are all well categorised which means you can easily follow along with what you find most interesting.
In the "About" section of Chris' website, he talks about how his site works. One page shows the plugins he uses in WordPress, the content management system he uses. Another page shows the philosophy and structure behind his site. Chris' documentation is an excellent resource. Documenting what you build with your site makes it easy for others to learn. Notably, WordPress does not require code to use. As a result, Chris' documentation may be especially useful to those who want to make a powerful site without using code.
Chris posts longer form content on his site regularly. He blogs about many topics from the IndieWeb to websites to digital gardens and commonplace books. If you are new to the IndieWeb and want to learn more about the community, I cannot recommend the called "An Introduction to the IndieWeb" guide I mentioned at the beginning of this article. If you are interested in organising information using wikis and similar structures, a quick search around Chris' site will yield lots of information you can use to dive deeper.
Chris' site has a lot of pages to explore. They are organised with a sidebar that appears on the left of the page. I love this arrangement. The sidebar has a clear logical order even as you expand each menu to look at other parts of the site. There are also category and tag links as well as a search bar that are useful for navigating around the site. Chris' is open about how his site is both a blog and a commonplace book. Thus, the architecture may be different to some blogs you have seen, but that only means that you'll definitely learn a thing or two about how sites can be organised.
Before I finish, I have to mention that Chris' site currently has a seasonal background that comprises his "holiday theme," a change in a website based on particular events. The IndieWeb wiki has a dedicated page showing examples of holiday themes if you want to learn more about decorating your site for events.
That's it for this post! I could spend many more words discussing Chris site—and indeed all of the other sites in this series—but I want to encourage you to explore every site you find interesting yourself. Only through exploration will you be able to find the hidden gems and interesting articles that resonate most with you. I shall see you tomorrow for the next edition of this series.
Other posts in this series
Check out the other posts I have written as part of this series.
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