Blogging when you're not a developer

So I’m currently reviewing my old html and css knowledge in order to build my own website. I want to create some occasional blog posts and keep thinking that making new pages manually and linking them all up sounds messy.

I then started looking into Eleventy and what I need to learn in order to use that. And if I understand correctly I would need to learn javascript and node (and maybe other things?) in order to be able to use Eleventy.

I’m not opposed to learning js and node, it’s just that this will be a few months down the line until I can then use Eleventy and would just like to know if this is the best path for me.

Maybe I’m exaggerating how messy it will be to link up blog posts manually? Should I just focus on getting better at html and css, create additional pages for blog posts or should I start delving into javascript? Maybe I’m overcomplicating things?

If anyone have any tips on what my strategy should be I would greatly appreciate it!

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IMO, using html/css is easier and less hassle - unless you want the challenge and pleasure of learning something new.

I’m a decent amateur programmer & I’ve never seen the point of introducing these extra technologies. Using something like that would give you access to features like tags, date archives etc, but those aren’t functions a lot of people actually need.

You can have every blog post in the same text file, and use anchor links to visit them from an index if one file per blog post feels unwieldy. Or, have every blog post as a separate file, but link it back to an index page (so don’t have a sidebar like you might see on a wordpress that needs to be updated on every old page)

I’ve used on one of my sites and it’s great - all you need to do is update the text file with your blog then run a program which generates the files to upload. That would give you blog-like features but be a lot easier than learning a whole new thing.

Still - for me, its a bit more fussy than I want, compared to just manually adding a link to an index.

I’d also say that for some people, the hobby web is about using these hands-on technologies like HTML and CSS, and rejecting the complex stack of fashionable, chunky technologies to do what are basically simple, text-based tasks that can be completed by plain text coding. Not everyone thinks that way - some people like using this hobby as a way to learn new techniques, which can be interesting for their own sake. But if you think of it in terms of philosophy, I’m very attracted to keeping it simple & the benefits of keeping it simple (long-term maintenance and easy to learn).


I agree with @star , I think there’s value in getting to the point where you’re actually running / maintaining a website & posting articles as soon as possible. Based on the title of this thread alone, it seems your priority is writing / blogging, yes? Depending on you, webweaving could feel like a roadblock to achieving that, and being forced to deal with it could put you off the endeavor in its entirety. Months of build-up sounds like a high price to pay just to find out that blogging is not for you, and I’d imagine this one of the reasons many personal sites end up with the single ‘Here’s how I built this website’ post.

That said, if you know you like learning and you feel like you’re already comfortable with your HTML & CSS knowledge, you could try a ready-made template? I can’t find the official Eleventy template list but there’s this:

And the Hugo SSG has these: Hugo Themes

Those could get you posting pretty quickly and allow you to play and learn with SSGs at your own pace.

You could also try:

for a potentially less developer-like experience.


You do not need Node, JavaScript, or Eleventy to build a blog, let alone a website. There is nothing to stop you from creating an index page and adding posts manually. If you wanted, you could even hand-write a RSS feed for your blog; while XML is fussy it isn’t that much fussier than HTML.

One guy even created a blog in a text file just to prove that he could.

BTW, I am a developer and I don’t use Eleventy for my personal website. I think it’s overkill. (And I prefer shell scripts, makefiles and other basic UNIX tools, anyway.)


You just need enough knowledge to install node to install 11ty and remember a couple commands. Once that’s done it’s HTML/CSS and a templating language if you want to pull it all together.

But yeah, you don’t need something like 11ty for simple blogging.


I think 5-6 years ago, building your own thing or using a static-site generator was definitely a preferred way to go, as the dominating options were things like Wordpress and Ghost, and they were just overkill for people who needed the simple ability to make posts and pages.

But even speaking as someone who enjoys developing, I would never not suggest I really don’t see the point in over-engineering your blog when the main goal is to get words on the page. Services have come a long way and I think things like Bearblog,, are really solid solutions with a tiny footprint.


Repetitive, tedious work like copying my site layout and styles to every page makes my brain scream in agony so I personally really like the workflow of using a static site generator. I also enjoy tinkering with configuration to get it working exactly how I want, so some of the friction that using an SSG introduces to your website doesn’t bother me as much as it might others.

That said, if you want to blog I would suggest just writing out the pages manually at first. The important thing is that you get blogging as fast as possible, instead of messing around with Eleventy configuration. Eventually, you might find it tedious to manually maintain every page in your blog, at which point it would make sense to start figuring out how to use a SSG. That way, you have a defined problem to solve when you’re learning Eleventy or whichever SSG you choose, instead of it just being a barrier preventing you from doing what you really want: writing blog posts.


Some good responses here! I think for me at this stage it’s probably best to stay with html, css and get better at that and then add the blog pages manually. At this point they’re not going to be that frequent or many that I will go crazy. Like has been said above it is probably overkill for me to get into things like Eleventy. I think we have just gotten used to seeing the blogs like this, with tags and categories that this is what we sort of expect.

It is actually more inspiring for me now to try and think of clever ways to organise it all - or just a text file even!


For the blog section on my site, I use Zonelets. All you need to do to update your blog is make a new html file for each entry and update the javascript file. The pre-written files take care of linking your posts, updating the archive, etc. Zonelets was created specifically for Neocities, but it can be used pretty much anywhere. The creator made a series of videos explaining how to set it up. It’s easy, simple, and pretty fool proof. :)

If you need help setting up, feel free to send me a DM!

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Oh Zonelets looks interesting! Thanks! I will have a look once I’m done building my site. I haven’t even gotten that far…

It says you’re new to the community @aquariumaesthetic so – welcome! :smile:

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