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Silvrback

Silvrback blog

Silvrback is one of a number of standalone blogging platforms that launched during the 2012-2014 heyday of blogging. Launched in late 2013, Silvrback joined Medium, Ghost, Svbtle, Roon, and others in offering writing options for prospective bloggers.

Silvrback’s orientation was to shoot the perceived gap between Ghost’s rather uppity rigidity toward user control and Medium’s loose protection of intellectual property. The platform sought to offer a clean, uncluttered writing space where the writers had greater control of their blogs and full control of their intellectual property.

Let’s give it a run and see how it handles.

 

First Impressions

If my 4-year old could read, he’d be handling this UI like a boss.

Easy, natural, ‘why isn’t everyone blogging with this?’ kind of a feel. It doesn’t feel as slick or polished as a Medium or WordPress, an image the outfit seems to promote as key to their ‘contrarian’ orientation.

Set up is minimal and for those of you looking to get down to writing you will instantly feel at home. If, however, you are looking for a lot of steps to get going, and are into making a bunch of decisions BEFORE you get to writing, run as far away as you can. This certainly isn’t for you.

 

 

Getting Started

I click on the sign-up link and am immediately brought to a page asking for an email only. A few things I instantly like: one, it’s nice to have to enter ONLY an email (ahem, WordPress) and it’s refreshing that you aren’t restricted to log in via Facebook OR Google (*cough* Medium *cough*), it’s also interesting that you can search Silvrback bloggers’ work on the homepage.

There is a 14-day free trial that does NOT re quire a credit card (thank goodness), and you have 3 affordable subscription options to choose from, starting at $3.99 a month to $34.99 annually. It was also random, but interesting to note, that they accept bitcoin.

I am told there is an email waiting for me to confirm my account (there was), clicked to confirm email, and voila! I’m in. Once in, you have the option to set up some personal preferences or you can pick one of the 3 themes, click the ‘Start Writing Now!’ and get down to business.

 

Some Optional Features That I Felt Were Noteworthy

  • Custom domain support
  • Google Analytics
  • Disqus
  • Right-to-Left blog editor, with word processor or Markdown options
  • MathJax (Option for STEM writers)
  • SSL certificate (Option for annual subscribers)
  • Syntax Colour Scheme (Option for coders)

The little gear on the upper left hand corner pops open your menu bar (took me a hot minute to assume as much, maybe constant ani

mation would help?). Easy navigation and as a result, I figured out where to start writing pretty much right away.

In a world of step by step, it was a mixed bag on figuring things out on my own, but the simplicity made it more than manageable.

So here we are on my articles page, and its straightforward, either click on your drafts or on the 

‘Create a new Article!’ button I choose to work on my current draft, which has all the makings of a stroke of genius, but what I love here is the ease of writing. There is no visible sidebar screaming at me to check on something, no notifications flashing red on the side. I may actually be forced to pay attention and write.

Image and video gallery is the easy peasy drag and drop to load, with the option to create separate galleries as needed or desired.

My only frustration in all this was figuring out how to change the title or short description on a draft (could have just been me). In the end, it was a simple matter of clicking on the name and changing it, but it would be nice if there was a little tool tip or something for those of us on the slow side.

Finally, I decide to post, scroll down to the bottom and hit the little gear on the bottom right (once again, MAYBE animated or a different colour would make this important tool more obvious). And BAM! All these nifty little options pull up in a basic, easy to follow menu.

This pop-up included notable things like:

  • Adding Tags
  • Article suggestions to my readers
  • Scheduling

I save my post settings and let’r rip…hehe

 

Three Things I Like About Silvrback

1) Clean layout, simple vibe and easy to use. Words like simple, lean and distraction free are used regularly on the site, and they are not an exaggeration. This is minimalism at its best.

If you could ‘see’ the word quiet, you would see it here, and it is a job well done in that department. Videos, imagery, galleries, etc, all easy to figure out and drop in, without questions or confusion, making it stress free and fun to use.

 2) The focus is on you. Enough said, really. What you have written is yours to keep, your content, your brand, your subscribers, your articles and your message. There aren’t random ads pulling up and you can control what your readers read next.

3) Pricing anyone can afford. The reality is, free is awesome, but ‘free’ often comes with a hidden cost: ads, content can disappear without notice, no domain privileges, etc. So one can appreciate a platform that offers the little extras with reasonable price points.

 

Three Things I Would Change on Silvrback

1) Limited theme options. While having 50 pages of themes to choose from can be complete overkill, the limited offerings on Silvrback leaves me feeling a little dissatisfied. I would suggest a few more with variety in look or feel to provide that little extra to those who prefer options. The competition dictates choices are important, and while I think we can appreciate a little moderation, Silvrback may be behind their game on this one.

2) Weak FAQ section. To be fair, it is there, but endless scrolling is the only way to find answers to your questions, and realistically that gets old. A search bar, more engaging layout or immediate access to a help email address would change this section in a huge way.

3) Lack of community. Some of the nice things about the bigger names in blogging, is the decided feel of community. Forums where readers engage and help people discover solutions is something that makes blogging fun and encourages accountability. While the size of Silvrback’s community may be reason for lack of this service at this time, it is something that could be missed by those of us who find staying on point with the blog a little more challenging.

 

And That’s a Wrap

I like Silvrback. It lives up to the minimalistic and distraction-free name, with enough of the extras to make it enjoyable to use. It is an affordable platform that is writer focused and allows you, the writer, to be in control of your content and audience. It’s not going to offer you the endless options that a WordPress or Squarespace can, so if you need that, Silvrback probably isn’t going to do it for you. But if you are ready to step away from the distractions, plug into your work and write, Silvrback will be sure not to disappoint.

Lena is a graphic designer and a WAHM who, besides creating awesome design work, spends a lot of time pretending to know how to raise her 4, 3 and 1 year old kiddos in the cornfields of Nebraska.


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