Nicolas Bouliane

All About Berlin Built in

I built a website called All About Berlin to help immigrants navigate German bureaucracy.

A useful website

Moving to Germany was scary. I had to get a job, find a flat, choose health insurance, apply for residence permit and register my address all alone, in a language I did not understand. It was all made more difficult by the outrageously slow and opaque German bureaucracy.

I wrote down what I learned to show other immigrants what to do. I figured that with a good map, their journey would be half as difficult as mine.

I research and write all the content myself, although I do call upon the knowledge of a dozen trusted experts. I spend most of my days updating and amending existing guides to make them more useful. I call that digital gardening.

A pleasant website

All About Berlin is my answer to the hastily written SEO spam that dominates the web. I wanted to prove that you can build a successful website without annoying the everliving crap out of your readers.

It has no ads, no paywall, no newsletter popup, no coercive cookie notice, no call to action, no comments, no promoted content, and no share buttons. It gives you straight, honest answers for free. That’s it.

The website is funded by affiliate links. This is how I can work on it full time. That presents its own ethical challenges. I solve that by not giving the advertisers an inch. I have a very straightforward advertising policy, and I stick to it.

Built from scratch

All About Berlin is truly built from scratch. It’s my own content, my own photos, my own illustrations, my own design, and my own static site generator.

The website ran on Craft CMS from 2017 to early 2023, then I migrated it to a static site generator I created.

This design is deliberately simple and straightforward. I did not want anything to distract from the main content. Both the design and the writing style are inspired by the NHS website.

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