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New site, who dis?

Ned Bellavance
4 min read

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If you’re reading this, then I must have done something correct. That’s right dear reader, I’ve migrated my website off of Wordpress and onto Netlify using Hugo. I’m not going to lie, this process took longer than I expected. I hired two different people off of Fiverr to perform the migration for me. The first one was a bust, but the second one was able to get things 99% of the way there. The rest was small tweaks and adjustments that I was able to make myself.

Hopefully, you didn’t get flooded with a torrent of new posts if you’re using the RSS feed. I tried to keep all the links to existing posts the same. I also tried to keep the same structure for the site, but there are some differences. I’ll get into those in a bit.

Why the Change?

The main reason I decided to migrate off of Wordpress was speed. I received several complaints from readers that the site was super slow to load. I tried a few different caching plugins to try and help, but ultimately the site was just too weighed down by all the plugins, themes, and other junk that added to the load time. I’m sure if I had a team of developers working to optimize my Wordpress site, I could have gotten load times down to a reasonable level, but I don’t have a team of developers and I can’t afford to hire one.

The next big reason was that of cost. It’s not that I was paying a ton of money for hosting, however it wasn’t $0. Contrast that with the cost of running Chaos Lever, which is effectively nothing. I pay for the domain name, and that’s it. There’s nothing so special about Ned in the Cloud that it needs all the bells and whistles of Wordpress. A static site will suffice. Unless I have a sudden over-abundance of traffic, I can remain on the free tier of Netlify for the foreseeable future.

The third reason was workflow. I spend a LOT of time in VS Code. It’s where I do all my coding and honestly, most of my writing. A few years ago, I had a part-time gig writing technical docs for a startup. They were using a static site to host the docs, and I had to learn their process. I became familiar with Markdown, Hugo, and the git-based workflow for publishing content. While it felt awkward at first, I quickly grew to love the simplicity of Markdown and the ease of generating and viewing the updated site locally. Since that time, I’ve continued to use Markdown to write scripts, blog posts, and even my certification guides for Terraform and Vault. Writing in Markdown and VS Code has become second nature to me, and I wanted to bring that workflow to Ned in the Cloud.

What’s Different

Now that the migration is complete, what’s different? Well, the biggest change should be the speed of the site. I can already tell that it loads significantly faster. The difference is impressive and I’m sure it will get better as Netlify builds up the caching.

In terms of the site’s structure, I took this opportunity to lean out and simplify the navigation. There are far fewer sections, and each page is more focused. I condensed the podcasts, videos, books, and courses into the single category media. I also combined the about and contact pages into a single about page. The home page has a lot less cruft on it, and I’ve slimmed the blog page down to less categories.

Under media, the podcast page now has the three podcasts I want to mention: Day Two Cloud, Chaos Lever, and The Daily Check-in. Gone are the guest appearances and the other podcasts I’ve hosted. The videos page is now a single page with YouTube playlists instead of individual videos posts. I also whittled down the books and courses pages to reflect my most popular offerings.

The goal of the migration was to speed things up and lower costs, but it was also about a better experience for you, the reader. I hope that I’ve achieved that goal. If you have any feedback, hit up the about page and send me a message. I’d love to hear from you.

What’s Next

I don’t have any major plans to change the structure or content of the site. I am hoping that this streamlined workflow will lead to more frequent posting. I haven’t posted anything since March of 2023, and that’s pretty sad. And it shouldn’t be hard for me to post more often! I write something like 15k words a week across all my projects, so I should be able to carve out a few hundred for a blog post. Or just repurpose some of the content I’ve already written for other projects!

Thanks to everyone who reads the blog, listens to the podcasts, and watches the videos. I appreciate your support and I hope you enjoy the new site!

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