Enjoy the freedom to create the website of your dreams with Publii
No-one can deny that content publishing has moved forward in leaps and bounds since the early days of the internet, when knowledge of HTML and CSS was a minimal requirement to get your writing online. Nowadays, we're spoiled for choice with multiple avenues for getting our content out to the world, whether by posting on microblogging sites like Tumblr, writing full-length articles on Medium, or sharing through one of the many social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, these options have some significant downsides that the Publii app aims to fix.
The homogenization of content on modern publishing platforms
You might not think it, but both you and your opinion are valuable. It's easy to think otherwise, because one of the major downsides of modern content publishing is that it often devalues the author, placing sole focus on the content. Look at Medium, one of the fastest-growing platforms for articles covering everything from anarchism to zoology and everything in-between. While you are free to publish articles and have your name attached, rarely does Medium actually emphasize an author over the content. Check out their newsletters; each one highlights categories, or individual articles, but never an author.
The focus is on content because, ultimately, websites that work like Medium need users to be more interested in the articles than the people that write them; after all, the website owners can only make money if it keeps the users within their website's ecosystem. If visitors start getting interested in a single author's output, they might start looking for that author's personal website or platform, funneling their clicks away from Medium.
Of course, websites such as Medium aren't evil; they're making money the way that anyone online can, and many people aren't truly committed to publishing regularly so having a simple outlet when there's something on your mind can be a boon. But when a site is made up of millions of people all seemingly doing the same thing, it becomes a game of playing to what the platform wants to get highlighted, rather than letting one's articles speak for themselves.
The problem with closed platforms
The lack of focus on authors isn't the only drawback of relying on third-parties for your publishing needs; it also affects how your content is presented and controlled. Let's say that you publish a blog on a popular blogging site, such as Tumblr. You might generate a lot of interest, with thousands of visits per month to your page. However, what happens if Tumblr suddenly shuts down? Where would your content go? In an instant, every piece of content you've written would be gone. Sure, you'd still own the copyright to it, but that's not much use unless you've got backups to hand so that you can repost it elsewhere.
These risks extend beyond the fear of a website failing; being tied to another website's ecosystem means you must follow their rules to the letter at all times, and breaches, however accidental, could lead to your account being banned entirely. Once again, all your content is lost, and without backups you may have lost several years of work and your established position on the site.
Reclaim your online independence
So how can one avoid these risks? What's the best way to publish content while still maintaining independence? How does one grow their profile without being tied to a platform or ecosystem? The answer might seem obvious; create your own website. This way you not only have control of your content, but also of the publishing platform. You can't get banned from your own site, after all! The trouble with this approach is the extreme number of options available for creating and maintaining a website; multiple CMSs, options, hosts and more all add more complexity to something that really shouldn't be as difficult to do.
We set out to create the perfect solution for writers who want to manage their own website, free from restrictions, but without the stressful day-to-day troubleshooting and maintenance. To that end, we created Publii, a free desktop application that's great for all levels of users, even newcomers who have no idea how to go about actually making a blog beyond writing the content. Let's look at a few reasons why you should be using Publii to build your blog:
Publii is a local, server-agnostic app
If posting content directly to a third-party website is to be avoided, and you want to get started with your very own site, then you'll need a way to create and manage it. There are many CMS options available such as Joomla! and WordPress, but these systems are server-side solutions; they must be installed on a website's server before they can do anything. This creates its own set of backup problems. There are various tools available to help you backup a CMS-based website, but there are a number of hoops to jump through to successfully move your website from one server to another should you switch server hosts, and you're still subject to the whims of the tool developer; if they stop production of the tool, then one or two updates later you'll find that your tools are no longer compatible with your CMS version.
Publii overcomes these drawbacks by being a desktop app for Windows and Mac, rather than server software. Development, updating and customization of your Publii-based website are all taken care of directly on your desktop, and once you're finished you can just sync your changes to your server. Need to move your website to another server? The website content generated by Publii is static, so it doesn't rely on any other software; this means that to upload your website to a new site you need only change your server settings in the Publii app, then re-sync; Publii will see that the new server you linked doesn't have the static website files, and will upload them as needed.
You'll even be able to upload the files to online storage such as DropBox, allowing you to instantly create backups of your site. And because Publii websites are static, the files it generates are entirely separate from the app; you'll always be able to modify your website the traditional way should you stop using the app.
Publii is simple enough for absolute beginners
One of our biggest goals when developing Publii was to make it accessible for users of any skill level, even those with zero experience in building websites. The interface is kept clear and simple to understand, with easy-to-use editors, and intuitive post and tag pages that explain each of their options and settings in a functional manner. There's no coding involved whatsoever; from the moment you create your site until you're putting the finishing touches, you won't need to worry about the technical aspects of building the site; focus only on creating the best content you can, and Publii will take care of creating the live version of your site.
Get the benefits of a static website, with the ease of use of a dynamic CMS
Of course, static websites are not new; it's how websites were always built in the early days, and there are many tools for creating static sites available still. However, these tools are usually built for developers; popular static generators have to use the command line for their configuration and execution, and their respective documentation assumes a level of knowledge far higher than a layman will have. Publii works differently; management of the static website uses the same comfortable, easy-to-read interface that dynamic CMSs like WordPress or Joomla! have, with clearly-marked sections and labelled buttons and options, and comes with extensive, beginner-friendly documentation to help you get to grips with its options.
The concept of static websites may be old, but Publii also utilizes the latest web technologies, including HTML5 and CSS3, to make it even faster and more flexible than its alternatives. It even comes with options covering some of the most important but oft-neglected areas of websites; SEO (Search Engine Optimization). With the range of SEO option in Publii, you can maximize your site's position in Google and other search engines to get your content out to a wider audience.
On the customization side of things, Publii comes with a range of free professionally-designed themes so that you can instantly change your site layout in just a few clicks, with completely different styles that offer a unique look and feel for your content. Plus, there's a multitude of customization and layout options to add your own personal touches to the site aesthetics. It's all instantly modifiable, and a preview option on the app lets you see how your website will look with the changes before you sync with the server to upload your changes. Its simple, intuitive and fast; the best from both the static and dynamic website worlds.
Reclaim your website's independence
With Publii, we can go back to a time when content creators were also website owners; when each website was independently run and free to diversify and manage its content the way the author wanted, without restrictions. This time, though, Publii opens the doors for every user of every skill level to join in a make their very own website from scratch. Whatever you build with Publii is yours; free to be posted wherever you wish, but not dependent on those platforms for existence. You'll enjoy the freedom to post what's important to you, free of restrictions.
The alpha phase for Publii is well underway, so we invite you to sign-up for our Publii Newsletter; not only will you get the latest news and updates about Publii's development direct to your inbox, you'll also receive an individual download link for the current version of Publii so that you can start working on your own website right away; we only ask that you give us your feedback about your experience so that we can make sure that Publii includes all the features and functionality that our users desire before it reaches its full release.