Worksp_ce

Anchor CMS: The blogging platform that beat Wordpress, Blogger and Postach.io (but not Medium)

Anchor CMS isn’t perfect. It’s still being built in fact, anyone can contribute to its development on GitHub. So, you can argue it’s not really a polished product. And it does have its faults, but what it does well, really works. Once you start using it you see that. I have been using it for a few months now, and the longer I’ve used it for, the more certain I’ve become of my decision to start blogging on it.

A brief history of my blogging

I started blogging years ago using Wordpress, and thoroughly disliked the experience. It ultimately didn’t last, probably four or five posts. My decision to stop was mainly due to the fact that I had quickly run out of things to say. But that didn’t mean I ever liked the platform I was saying it on. It was too cumbersome and confusing and I remember it feeling like there were too many parts tacked thoughtlessly together. Also — big problem for me — there was no real control over how my blog, looked and felt (that you didn’t have to pay for). There was something lacking in the community too (something I find a lot of in Medium). People weren’t writing about the things I wanted to write about and people weren’t reading it either.

Sometime around then I checked out Blogger too. I was so disappointed by how drab those blogs looked, I never even got close to trying it out. Again there was that issue of not seeming to have any real control over the aesthetics of my blog, something I felt I needed to have in order to do blogging right.

Fast-forward several years of non-blogging and I came to the decision to start up again. I didn’t want to revisit the Wordpress path, or venture into Blogger territory so they were quickly dismissed as possible platforms for my yet-to-be created blog. By then, before the launch of my blog, I had discovered Medium and decided to start posting there, but I still wanted a webpage of my own, something I had complete control over. I briefly considered Postach.io but decided to try Anchor instead because it was free. I believe I made the right choice.

What makes Anchor a great blogging platform: I’ll single out four reasons you should be using Anchor CMS if you want to start blogging from your own personal URL:

1.Control over aesthetics (You saw this one coming didn’t you?)

I’m not a web developer. I haven’t built many webpages. Before starting with Anchor I had no experience with PhP and some in HTML and CSS (all three are recommended for if you want to do your own personal theming). Outside of that I can’t say I know much about web development. But Anchor CMS provides well-written code that’s easily alterable. It allows you to customize your blog to the full extent of your knowledge in CSS and HTML. You can create custom pages and add custom CSS to particular posts. And adding and styling images in your posts is all relatively easy. Also, if you would prefer not to fiddle around with coding, you can simply download one of their freely available themes.

2.Easy to Install

It’s ridiculously easy to install. Some knowledge of working with servers will be helpful but setup is quick and fairly intuitive.

3.Markdown

I went in crying ‘What is Markdown!?’ and came out singing its praises. Markdown is the type of markup language that will make anyone writing in the tech sphere immediately fall in love with it. It allows users the freedom to just write without having to worry too much about the coding behind writing and formatting for web. I learned it in about five minutes, it’s that simple. Not that you have to learn it, the text-editor provides a comprehensive set of text tools to help with formatting. It helps though. And, as I said, it’s ridiculously easy to learn.

4.Completely Free

My favorite part about Anchor. With a little knowledge of HTML and CSS and a tiny affinity for computers and coding, you could have, a powerful, fully functional, easy-to-use, well designed blogging platform for nothing. And it promises to remain free for as long as it exists.

Problems with Anchor

1.Adding images

This is one you just have to accept. To the best of my knowledge, despite promoting it as a feature, there is no drag and drop for images in Anchor CMS (that doesn’t mean you can’t add images though, you can). It’s something that I believe is being worked on, but doesn’t exist at the moment. Oh, well.

2.Poor help documentation

Probably the most frustrating part of Anchor. As I said, it’s not a polished product. And it’s a bit unfinished in some places. One of those places is its help documentation. In it there are large gaps that it seems its contributors just couldn’t be bothered to finish. Mind you, most of the information is there, just poorly written and usually in the wrong place.

Update: Drag and drop is a confirmed feature that will soon be released.

Wrap-up

Anchor CMS is designed for those people that just want to blog, without all the clutter. If you’re looking for something more, you might be better off looking somewhere else. But if you’re focused on writing, try Anchor.

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