Svbtle stated as an invite only, and after moved to subscribed platform, it’s one platform that evolved a lot since its launch in late 2011. It is a bit hard to pinpoint the exact time of the changes since there are no official announcements, but in any case it is a fairly fresh addition to the blogging and online publishing game. Although they were featuring prominent bloggers and posts on the homepage, now there is just a sign-up form. It is a writing platform that has simplicity on its mind.
Sign up is an easy-breezy. All you need is an email, name, surname, password and nickname that will be your (sub)domain name. You will automatically get a .svbtle.com domain, but you can change that later. Immediately, you will be warned that the service requires a $6 monthly membership, but to start, you will get a two-week free trial period. That means you will need to provide a credit card information for the subscription that will be automatically charged to your card. You can cancel at any time, which means if you don’t want to continue after your trial period, you will need to cancel the subscription not to get charged. The Stripe is used a payment method, so you can feel pretty safe when it comes to your information.
User friendliness and the dashboard
The place for your posts is called the Ideas page, which other platforms call the dashboard (but extension that it’s located under called the dashboard, which is a bit confusing). It’s not a classic dashboard per se, but it is the place where you will create new posts and manage several things. Just like the whole Svbtle layout, the dashboard design is very simple. If you have an idea, you can just record it down in the “New Idea” box, press enter and you will have it written down. The screen is divided into half, so on your left there are unpublished ideas and on the right published ones. Although this seems like a minor thing, this quick type approach is great if you are a writer. There aren’t many platforms with this option and so few steps.
If you want to write a post, you will see the most minimalistic “editor” there is. With a place for title and post, a source link will pop-up and that is all there is. No menus, no pools, no font choices. If you want to format your text, you will need to use Markdown, which is easy to learn, but a bit contradictory compared to the whole “simplicity” approach. If you don’t know how to use it, you will get a quick guide, that you can expand upon, or if you are an advanced user, you can use GitHub flavoured Markdown. After you are finished with writing, you will need at least two clicks to publish a post (“publish” button will appear after you click “save” button), thus you won’t accidentally publish a half-baked post, but in the long run it can be a bit annoying. After you clicked on “save” you will also be able to preview and view options for the post. You will be able to schedule, delete, customise a post’s URL and allow (or not) for it to be featured on Svbtle.com.
Themes and tools
Designing your own theme is a mission impossible. All you can do is to change accent colour with one click. There are also no tools because everything is minimalistic. If the saying goes “more money, more problems”, the same can be applied to apps and widgets. However, there should be some basic tools because without them, steering your blog in the right direction can be a pain in the rear. Besides colour, you can change avatar and that is all you can do in a visual department, excluding pictures in the posts. If you ever stumble upon a Svbtle blog, you will know that it is a Svtble blog. Minimalism is all the rage these days, but what when it changes?
Storage, reliability, and uptime
Not sure if this is the credit that should be given to Svbtle team, but you won’t find any complaints when it comes to reliability and uptime. There is no limit to the storage and that is understandable considering that the most of the blogs are text-based.
Help and support
When it comes to help, Svbtle is not just a bit lacking. Since it is a new blogging platform, the community isn’t that big so searching or asking for a specific solution could take a while. There is a Help section with very few articles, but on the other hand, there are not that many tasks you will need help with. Also, there is no official forum and the only way to get official help is via email. Getting an answer could take a while, or never happen at all, so in this area, things are inexcusable.
Hosting and pricing options
So far, Svbtle had three phases. First was invitation only, then at the beginning of 2014 it opened to everyone and at the end of the same year it started to cost $6 a month. That would seem like a relatively fair thing, but those who got their Svbtle account before the paid subscription was introduced are able to keep using it for free. Although this seems like a nice gift for early adopters, they will not get full access to everything that paying users get, it leaves a bit of a stingy feeling for those who got a bit later on board. All in all, $6 seems like a reasonable price, plus you can set up your custom domain fairly easy, and if you are not sure how, there is short, but to the point, help for that.
There are no comments. Depending on your requirement, but in some cases this is good because there is no extra work in managing them. On the other hand, your feedback is almost non-existent. We’ve seen some Twitter and Facebook shares on some blogs, and that is an option that you can turn on or off in your settings. Since there are no comments, you can choose to display your email, so your readers can contact you. On the bright side, there is an easy way to incorporate Google Analytics by typing an analytics code number. However, that leaves you with another outsource thing to deal with, but let’s be honest, anyone who wants any kind of online analytics will use Google Analytics at some point.
HTML and CSS knowledge
There is no need or access to HTML or CSS knowledge. Everything is WYSIWYG, so there is no need for any technical mumbo-jumbo. More advanced users may be annoyed with this, but beginners will breathe easily. Very beginner friendly.
Promotion and Monetising
There are no SEO tools so if you want your metadata in order, you are out of luck. Comments are also out of the question. The only two things that exist are “nudge” that will you poke the author of your choice and “kudos” that will work like a “like” functions on the Facebook. Speaking of which, Svbtle plays nicely with Twitter and Google+, but there is no automatic share for Facebook. A bit odd, but perhaps on purpose? If you want to give kudos to someone, you need to hover your pointer over the circle because it doesn’t work by clicking.
If you want to monetize, there are no options except to embed codes for different widgets or commercials in every post, which is annoying, but there is one upside. With one click, you can activate Coinbase which is a Bitcoin wallet. It is nice to have a tip jar, but Bitcoin is still a wobbly currency that is not widespread everywhere.
- nice minimalistic design
- pro-writer setting
- easy custom domain setup
- built in Coinbase “tip jar”
- no proper feedback section
- a minimalistic help section
- lack of design customization
- almost zero tools
While Svbtle is a bit of a mishmash of many features that could be seen in other new blogging platforms, it pulls it off in a manner that could be attractive to serious writers. It isn’t something revolutionary, but its spin on the dashboard matter is relatively unique. However, there are many similar solutions that are free and as or more, prominent. This doesn’t help its transition/confusion from publishing platform to pure blogging. Svbtle is trying to be subtle, and it succeeds in most areas, but it needs more when it comes to help and assistance with problems. A more elaborate management and feedback system wouldn’t hurt. In the end, it is good for beginners who want to be all about writing and have zero contacts with SEO, design, or anything else remotely complicated. The only thing you’ll have to learn is Markdown and that won’t take you more than one post. At some point, Svbtle was all the rage on the blogging scene, but it looks like it’s slipping. No mess, no fuss, $6 may be enough for some beginners, but if you are something other than writer, you should consider other blogging options.