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Mihai Bojin
Mihai Bojin

Posted on • Originally published at mihaibojin.com on

My personal site (version 1.0)

Photo: Version 1
"Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash"

🔔 This article was originally posted on my site, MihaiBojin.com. 🔔


A couple of months ago, I set out on a journey to build a personal site from scratch. If you're curious, I wrote about my motivation at the start.

One of my goals was to build and host my site for free (well, mostly free anyway).

I initially wanted to use a hosted service such as Medium or Substack, but I was swayed by listening to many other creators; owning your content is the way to go!

Here are the necessary components, in my opinion, for a developer blog (in 2021):

  • Web domain
  • Fast frontend, e.g., GatsbyJS
    • 🚀 JAMstack has become the de-facto choice for content websites
    • ♺ support for SSG
    • ⬇ content rendering with Markdown
    • 🔎 good out-of-the-box SEO
    • 💼 RSS feed generation
    • 🗺 sitemap generation
    • ⚡️ Accelerated Mobile Pages support (via plugins)
  • Cloud hosting solution
  • Decent UI
    • ⛵️ I'm not a designer, so I settled for buying TailwindUI - cost: 250€ (lifetime purchase)
  • CI/CD pipeline
    • 🚢 I'm hosting my code on GitHub
    • 🪝 and triggering builds using a webhook that sends events to gatsbyjs.com
  • Ability to send newsletters
    • 📧 I integrated ConvertKit - cost 🆓 for up to 1,000 subscribers
  • Analytics and SEO
  • Content syndication
    • 🔉 I cross-post to Medium using Zapier - cost: 🆓
    • 📬 I cross-post to Dev.to (using RSS)
  • Social posts
    • 📱 I schedule social posts using Missinglettr - cost: $19.00/month

Total monthly cost: $35.00/month.

It took me a few months of working in my spare time to get here. It's not perfect, but it's a good start that enables me to write and publish content that I own 100%.

My initial plan was to write about Software Engineering. However, I started having fun while learning GatsbyJS, GraphQL, and refreshing my Javascript/React skills.

So I took a slight detour and wrote about building my site, building in public.

While I like what I achieved with Gatsby, I found myself fighting it while trying to achieve various outcomes. Also, some of the promises it makes are downright false; one such example is support for ⚡️ AMP. This should be achievable through a third-party plugin, but in my experience, that plugin is challenging to work with.


This leads me to my "next" adventure (pun intended) - the second version of my site!

I have been looking with great interest at NextJS 11. Friends tell me it's "the way" to do React nowadays. It has all of Gatsby's capabilities and more. But most importantly - it relies much more on vanilla JS/TS instead of custom (and mostly unmaintained) GatsbyJS plugins.

I don't know when I'll have time to start this project; I expect it won't be any time soon.

For now, my current stack works and allows me to focus on what really matters - my content. But I can't shake the feeling that my code is getting messier by the day...


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