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.
Zeroeth, connect with indie web experts and pioneers:
Why? This step alone will help you quickly get questions answered about next steps. It's not required, but may greatly accelerate your progress.
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.
Why? A personal short domain is key to creating permashortlinks which help:
Note: these should be moved to a separate page, as they're not required, nor do they help with developing a real indieweb presence. - Tantek 03:51, 29 April 2013 (PDT)
If you're currently publishing most of your textual content on a silo, then create a redirect from your personal domain to that silo profile
- Tumblr.com (preferred due to free domain mapping) or Wordpress.com are popular content hosting choices for easily getting started with publishing content publicly on the web. Get an account at one of those or a personal wiki site like pbworks.com if you don't already have one.
- Set up a redirect from your domain name provider's control panel from your personal domain to your Tumblr, WordPress or PBWorks account.
- This will allow you to share URLs with your personal domain that redirect to those hosted services. This is better than simply sharing URLs directly to those hosted services because in the future you can set up your site to serve those URLs directly rather than having them handled by a hosted service.
- A redirect still has the disadvantage though that when people click on your URLs with your personal domain name, their browser will redirect them (and show them) the hosting service URL (e.g. user-example.tumblr.com rather than user-example.com), thus if they reshare this URL by copy/pasting they won't be using your personal domain.
Fourth, change from a redirect to a hosted domain solution.
CMS hosted domain solutions
Blogger, Tumblr, and Wordpress.com can be set up to serve your personal domain for you.
- The advantage of using a hosted domain solution over a redirect is that when people click on your personal domain URLs that you share, that's the URL they'll see in their browser, and reshare with their friends.
- This is perhaps the best stopgap indieweb solution short of actually hosting your own content on your own domain.
- It's not quite indieweb as you're still vulnerable to all the same content-hosting-service problems (downtime, ToS, content ownership, sharecropping, etc.). However it is a good step forward, as at least you own the URLs of content that you post, which gives you the freedom to move to another (web-hosted) solution later, where you can set-up redirects from a hosted solution to the implementation on your server.
Static hosted domain solutions
Simpler and more portable to an actual (dynamic content) web hosting solution, static hosted domain solutions are (likely) even more reliable while still be free or very cheap:
Both Github and Amazon S3 can be set up to serve a static personal domain for you.
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
Contact info and profile links
Write a simple home page with 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.
- Use the hCard creator form to quickly make an hCard and then add more URLs (with rel=me hyperlinks) for each of your other online profiles.
- Why: this helps with providing authorship information for anything you publish and link back to your home page with rel-author.
- Add rel-me to the 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: with web sign-in.
- Advantage: 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.
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).
Optional: set up your personal URL shortener.
Post Once Syndicate Everywhere
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.
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, including reply context syndication, and syndication of your replies from your site to the permalinks of the sites that you comment on.
Test your markup with the "Microformats Parser" at http://pin13.net/ and make sure what you see in the JSON output is the same as your posts.
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 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.