IndieWebCamp is a 2-day creator camp focused on growing the independent web

Getting Started

Contents

Getting Started on the IndieWeb

Perhaps you relate to all the reasons why you should be on the indie web but you're not sure how.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to get you on your way to being on the indie web. Each of these steps is a just a bit more challenging and will make you a bit more indie.

Connect

Zeroeth, connect with indie web experts and pioneers:

  • Join the IRC channel

Why? This step alone will help you quickly get questions answered about next steps. It's not required, but will almost certainly accelerate your progress.

Personal Domain

Main article: personal-domain

First, you need your own personal online identity:

  • Get your own personal domain name - Ask a friend or colleague for a domain name registrar that they use and like/trust/respect etc.
  • Domain Privacy - Note that most domain name registrars will make your personal information (name, mailing address, phone number and email address) publicly available via whois lookups. Some registrars offer domain privacy options, so that instead of your personal details the registrar's details will be in the whois directory. Only use domain privacy if you fully trust the provider of the service -- disputes about domain name administration or transfers may get tricky if you are not listed as the legal owner of the domain.

Why? All the reasons listed in why. This is the key first step to joining the indieweb.


Bonus: get your own personal short domain name

Why? To work around length limits in a discoverable way; see details below.

A Place For Your Stuff

Second you need a place for your stuff.

The easier, free, but limited path is to use a free service as Transitional Steps.

However what you really should do is get your own web hosting provider.

Web Hosting

Sign up for web hosting

  • Sign up with a web hosting provider (ask friends and colleagues who they use for their personal websites that they're happy with, also see Lifehacker's list of 5 best web hosting companies)
  • Set up your domain name to be served by your web hosting provider

Domain sign-in and Contact info

Third, write a simple home page with links to your other profiles and your contact info marked up in h-card.

Upload a simple HTML index.html home page to get started with your hCard and rel="me" links to all your other social network profiles.

  • Add rel-me hyperlinks from your home page to all your social network profiles.
    • Why: by doing this you setup your site to act as your IndieAuth identity to sign into this wiki for example. For more details, see: setup web sign-in.
  • Make an hCard for your home page with the hCard creator
    • Why: this helps with providing authorship information for anything you publish and link back to your home page with rel-author.

Advantages: while you're not sharing your content on your own site (yet),

  • you've staked your claim on the indie web, and
  • setup an identity that you own and control.

This is a small but important step to declaring your independence from content silos.

Content Publishing

Fourth, set up content publishing on your domain.

  • Take a look at indie web Projects, pick one, and install it or set it up (e.g. your web hosting provider may have a "cPanel" control panel (or Fantastico) which can set up a WordPress install in a few clicks).

Personal Shortlinks

Main article: permashortlinks

Optional: set up your personal URL shortener.

Why? A personal short domain is key to creating permashortlinks which help:

How?

Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere

Set up syndication so copies of your Indie Web content can be published (semi-automatically) to social silos. By setting up POSSE, you can have your posts pushed to specific silos with a personal permalink/permashortlink or citation identifier back to the original on your own site. Why: by POSSEing your content to silos, you allow those that read content on those silos to continue seeing what you have to say, while you retain ownership and control of your content on your own site.

Remember: incremental progress is OK and encouraged! POSSE does not have to be totally automatic to be effective, If there is not a pre-existing plugin for your platform, try simply posting on your site and sharing to silos manually (include a link back to the original). This will help you figure out what works for you and what is worth the effort to automate.

Add h-entry to your posts

Add the h-entry microformat markup to your posts.

Why: this will enable post information discovery on your permalinks, which is useful for a variety of things. Right away other indieweb sites will be able to recognize comments, likes, and reposts from your site and display reply contexts for your posts. All you have to do is 1) link to their post somewhere in your h-entry and 2) let them know you've written a response, of course. Some sites let you send them a link directly (usually via a form in the comments area). For others, you can use IndieWebify.me's webmention sender to send out the notifications (webmentions) for you.

Check Your Site

Test your markup with the Microformats Parser and make sure what you see in the JSON output matches your posts.

Check your site with indiewebify.me.

Port old silo content to your site

Optional: once you're setup with posting on your own site and POSSE'ing out content to social silos, port your old silo content to your own site with permalinks on your site. Typically this involves a one-time export and batch import process. Here are some popular social content silos:

Share and Join Us

Next steps:

  • Share what you did / discovered in the process of building your indie web site, even if it is only a single page, with a simple design.
  • Ask what you can/should do next in the IRC channel.
  • Sign-up and join us at the next IndieWebCamp!

Set up another indiewebcamp wiki

All the content of Indiewebcamp.com is CC0 so you may copy it and set up a mirror.

See Also

  • IndieMark - a good way to measure your "indie web" progress