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I am planning to start writing material online. I need a single platform to host the following

  1. A regular running blog
    1. It should be easy to write and publish. Would prefer a simple near-vanilla layout and formatting.
    2. As I will be writing technical material, I would like to be able to put in code snippets
    3. Tagging and being able to search using tags is a must
  2. I intend to author couple of books. I would like to be able to use the same platform to organize the content in a book like layout
  3. I am contemplating a separate tips section. Each of the tip will be a short read. This section can be considered a special case of blogs, with some additional features which makes it more appealing (I am figuring this part out and would welcome any advice on how to make this section appealing)
  4. Small section dedicated to provide information such as "about me" (what people commonly refer to as pages or static pages).

Is there a single platform that can help me organize this?

Currently, I don't have budget for anything fancy. I am looking for something cheap. If the concept takes off, I will work something out to move to paid services (if it offers advantages)

  • What kind of research have you done? Have you looked into wordpress.org? What is your budget? – Boondoggle Oct 26 '19 at 17:45
  • @Boondoggle Yes. I have looked at a few popular platforms. I have looked into Wordpress and also looked at the paid skins that are available. None of them suit the requirements above out of the box. The match is not close enough for considering me doing customizations on my own. I have also looked at couple of alternatives like Blogger, medium and other blogging websites. I was also considering using a wiki which has a blog functionality. – user1676688 Oct 27 '19 at 1:15
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Aside from number 2, which I don't know any platform that does that, it sounds like all of your needs could be met by opening a Publication on Medium.

you could do the following with a publication:
1. create a homepage.
2. Medium's editor is at your disposal to write and publish (and supports code snippets).
3. Medium is free to use.
4. A publication can include different tabs and you can choose the layout of each tab.

And aside from those points, Medium may help you find your audience. A publication allows you to send "letters" to your publication followers which is something you may want to consider doing regularly when you have enough followers and you need their attention.

  • Thanks for the response. Sorry for the late reply. I happened to be traveling and did not visit stackexchange at all. There are tools for books example Gitbook Point 2 is not optional. It is THE reason why I have put up the question. I need something that does both 1 & 2. Otherwise Medium fits the bill with other alternatives like Wordpress. – user1676688 Dec 26 '19 at 5:22
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Since you are writing technical material (including code), you may have some experience with programming and related technologies. If so, I recommend Github pages.

Benefits:

  • It's free.
  • There are several clean templates available.
  • You have basic markdown (as used here on SE) for the simple styling and HTML for anything more fancy.
  • It's incredibly flexible because of its simplicity. Anything you can do with HTML and javascript, you can achieve in pages. It should be simple enough to organize a book with an HTML page per chapter.
  • Code snippets with syntax highlighting are supported by default.
  • All material is stored in a version control system by default, so you can always go back to earlier versions, or even make a branch if you want to try something that may not pay off. Contrast this with solutions like Wordpress where you're content is stored in a database in a difficult toread format, or Medium, where it isn't stored in anything you have access to.
  • For more complicated things (tagging posts, blog posts sorted by date, etc) there are several Jekyll plugins. You can generate the site offline, and upload the generated site to pages.

The drawback is that you need to be comfortable using git, writing in markdown and using Ruby software.

  • thanks for the recommendation. I am comfortable with the technology stack. I have the least experience with Ruby of the 3 techs you have mentioned. I will look into the plugins. I had explored this option a bit, but gave up early thinking I would not be able to emulate the blog functionality. Can you please confirm it is possible to allow commenting on the blog with sign-in? Of all the social identities, exclusive Github sign-in will also do. – user1676688 Jan 8 at 14:58
  • You can't host the comments yourself (as far as I can see), but there are javascript-only comment systems, like Schnack (schnack.cool) and (I think) Disqus (disqus.com). These should give you basic commenting with OAuth login, with just a small snippet of javascript added to the page. – PTm Jan 8 at 15:35
  • Oh, and you won't need to write any Ruby, you just need to install the interpreter in order to run the jekyll engine locally. It will take a little time to familiarize yourself with the ecosystem, but not too much. – PTm Jan 8 at 15:37
  • Thanks! This might just fit the bill. I will look into the commenting solution that you have recommended! Brilliant! – user1676688 Jan 8 at 17:55

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