TL;DR: Social media is a great space to become known, create authority, and grow your audience, but you need a home base that is yours. Buy a domain, create a basic website if you don’t want to spend too much time on it, and always, always promote it on all the social media services you are using.

How having my own domain gave me so much freedom

Like many of us, I have grown tired of social media, and in recent years my posts have shifted to basically promoting the content I create and getting in touch with other creators and potential partners.

About 20 years ago, after using Geocities and other similar services, I decided it was time to establish a web presence by creating a self-hosted WordPress website with my name as the address. When that became too technical for me, I switched to WordPress.com. But I didn’t stop there. I decided to give Squarespace a shot long before it became the recognizable name it is today, primarily because I wanted a more professional-looking website.

Many years after that, I moved to Google Sites because I was already paying for it on my Workspace subscription. It ended up not working out for me because of some limitations, and last year I went back to WordPress to give it another try.

Between all the switches described above, I also tried Micro.blog and Postash.io for a while. More on this shortly. Finally, last week I moved to Obsidian Publish.

Despite all these transitions, people could always find me visiting my website. Having my own domain and using something called permalinks made this possible.

If you search for ‘what is a permalink?’ on Google, many of the results will be explanations based on the SEO benefits. That’s a good reason on its own, but I also think they are a great tool for moving your website to another hosting service. Let me tell you what I mean by this.

When you publish a page or post on a website, it may end up with an address similar to this:

your-website.com/2023/08/have-your-own-domain.html

Sometimes the address is, in reality, a permalink. In other words, an address created by the website hosting service you are using that points to a real address that is usually more boring. Something like:

your-website.com/post12345.html

This will keep the public address, or permalink, the same, no matter where you move that page in the website folder structure. Even better, if you move to another service that doesn’t have the same internal structure as the old one, you can set each post to use the permalink instead, and the external world, specifically your visitors, will have the impression that you haven’t moved at all.

This was precisely what I did when going from one service to another. Many times I used the moving opportunity to remove some posts and rearrange others. But because the permalinks were kept the same, rearranging pages in different places didn’t break anything.

Here’s an example:

For a long time, I have had a page listing some of the books I have already read. The address has been vladcampos.com/library since I created it. But when I recently moved to Obsidian Publish, I decided to rearrange parts of my website structure. I now have a ‘toolbox’ directory containing the ‘library’ and other pages, like one for my filmmaking gear. So instead of the address above, I ended up with:

vladcampos.com/toolbox/library

Because the page is now located inside the toolbox subfolder, I set vladcampos.com/library as a permalink. Now, if you type vladcampos.com/library, the website will present you with the correct page. In other words, old visitors and Google Search will still find the page.

Yes, you can set up permalinks on Obsidian Publish.

Why did I move to Obsidian Publish?

Back in 2014, a company called Postash.io released a service to create blog posts from Evernote notes. All one had to do was add the “publish” tag, and the note would be converted into a blog entry. And, yes, removing the tag would unpublish the note.

Until this day, I still believe that this is a genius solution because all of my articles start with an idea that I write down and work on using an app like Evernote or Obsidian.

Postash.io is still available, but it hasn’t been updated in a long time and doesn’t have many important features a website need. That’s why I used it for less than a year back then and quickly moved on. However, as a concept, Postash.io still makes a lot of sense for my workflow, and that’s why I recently moved my site to Obsidian Publish.

Publishing became so much easier, but there are many other reasons that I’ll explore in future articles and videos. Furthermore, having the original posts on my computer as notes is like having a backup of a backup, and this is pretty comforting.

What were the lessons we learned today?

Social media platforms come and go. Use them to your advantage, but make sure you have a home base — a website with your own domain name. And if you wish to experiment with other hosting services, permalinks can help you keep all the old links working.


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