Just two words come to my mind when I think of blogging options for us Pakistanis, WordPress and Blogger. I had been using Word Press (self hosted) until the traffic got really high and my hosting service provider shut my blog down. I moved to another host and the stats looked really good, I was making some pocket money too, but then my Blog caught a virus and the host told me to make a move.
Next I got a new domain for a project, my own brainchild of making a cellphones website where users could place their ads for free. (that’s about three years back when there really weren’t many options if you wanted to search for a used cellphone). The site got hacked six months after launching, thereby ending my dreams of making it big. Oh, and by the way I used a Word Press theme that has been designed to make a ads website, Classi-Press to be specific. A lot of money went down the drain and I lost the heart to do it all over again. What I am trying to tell you guys is that, self-hosted WordPress comes with lots of problems if you are not a techie in the real sense. And for someone like me who is more interested in writing and would rather not want to worry about the issues related to self-hosted blogs, it becomes difficult to manage a Blog and then move it every few months.
The recent saga of getting a custom domain for my present blog isn’t also a very pleasant one. So what’s the alternative? Well there’s good news. Just recently I got a chance to beta test Mine.Pk which is a new service much on the lines of Word Press. Mine.Pk offers Pakistani bloggers with a platform where they need not worry about payment issues or other problems associated with other Content Management System Services.
It isn’t unusual to hear about the many achievements of Pakistani techno-preneurs in the Silicon Valley. Many tech related businesses in Pakistan are also providing services to bigger well-known names world over. However, technology start-up companies that run their own gigs are almost unheard of. There is a large space in the market indeed which needs to be filled.
Mine.pk is one such website that is doing exactly that. It is indeed a great effort on the part of the team of the website and especially Usman Malik who came up with the idea and remains that brain behind the whole operation.
Mine.pk is a portal for bloggers and also has some excellent features along with it. Blogging is a massive industry for sure in today’s world. There are plenty of bloggers in Pakistan that have to use international platforms. It is not an easy task for them to get noticed in the blogging world. It is even harder for them to even reach the local followers which is the base for any blogger.
Nuts and bolts. Logging in is quite simple, just make an account and you are good to go. After logging in (done by Email verification) you are taken to the user area, which comprises of a DASHBOARD, Sites, Drive and Notes tabs. The DASHBOARD itself has links to DASHBOARD, Questions and Chowk. Let me briefly explain these:
DASHBOARD: Main work area that allows you to make a post, add media, link to multiple sites, change layout, add a gadget or access the already published posts. Not very feature rich, but does the job.
Questions: Is where you can compose questions to be published and off course for starting a discussion.
Adding a new post is simple affair. Just Click on New Post and you are presented with three options Text, Image and Question. Do the typing and that’s it. With the Layout tab one can choose the desired layout for the Blog. The Help tool on the Right bottom corner lets users share feedback with the developers and also add a screenshot of the window he/she is working on.
و Drive: Is the Storage space. It offers unlimited storage for media uploaded on the server.
Notes: Is for making Notes on a Sticky Post It like colored thingy.
This is how the Blog interface looks like. You can add New Post, pics, media etc.
Presently the platform lacks themes, which I think are really necessary to spruce up the looks. Also, one cannot use offline editors like Windows Live Writer but I think support for such services will be added later. You can manage comments. add tags, set categories and change appearance etc.
So why use Mine.pk? Well it is a platform offering a host of services and if the payment options are easy as compared to Word Press which as of now doesn’t accept payments to be made from Pakistan then off course it makes sense to have a localized solution. I mean why bank on foreign services when you have home grown solutions.
Servers and all: I am not sure where Mine.pk hosts its data but it better be a good and reliable service with back up options. (After all bloggers would never want their data to be lost forever)
Ads and all. Well presently there aren’t any ads on the Mine.Pk this means, you just sign up for free and start using it, no ads no hassles. However, I am not sure what options will be offered in future and what will be the mode of payment if more options like themes etc, are added, which they will be.
I feel there is a lack of trust in our nation to try out a “Made in-for Pakistan” products. Well, frankly for blogging there just aren’t any local options so one has to go with the flow. But what if there’s an option? Would one make the switch? At least I would, but only of the services are at par with what the other giants are offering. To quote Mr. Usman Malik’s words, “the point is not to create something new, the point to is to create a 100% for Pakistan platform (with clean UI – no ads crap)”.
Well, what are you waiting for? Head on to Mine.Pk, make a free account and give this thing a whir 🙂