On Personal Websites
Hi everyone! I want to share some of my thoughts and the benefits of building personal websites. This won’t be a step-by-step guide to building your first personal website. It’ll take me to write another article for it. Instead, hopefully, I can convince you to build a personal website. Here we go.
Learning the technologies
Building a personal website is a great learning exercise for the underlying technologies because of the variability of complexity and its visibility. People with different experiences may want to deal with different complexities. If you are a technology-savvy person, you can build your website with a state-of-the-art JS framework with whatever latest graph API backend, styled with CSS-in-JS (I’m just throwing a lot of random buzz words here, please don’t take me too seriously 😛). If you are a minimalist, you can build a static website with hand-crafted HTML and CSS. You can even use a site builder like Wix to learn the basics of styling and focus on personal branding only. You have a wide range of choices, and no matter your choice of technology, you get a website that is visible to the whole internet. You can share it with anyone, anywhere. The visibility makes it so rewarding.
IMHO, managing one’s online presence is very important, if not crucial, nowadays. A quick test for your online presence is to search your name on the search engine. What does the first page of the search results say about you? Do you have a say about the search results? I.e., do you have a way to influence the websites/articles that other people see you online? IMO social media profile isn’t the answer. There is so much more to a person’s characters than the news or photos or random rantings they share online. It’s a lot easier for a unique website to stand out in the crowd of the always same-looking social media profiles.
(I’m a bit biased here because I don’t trust social media, and you probably shouldn’t either 😉.)
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Writing is such a crucial skill to have regardless of your level of experience or your position. I cannot express enough how much my writing skills benefited from publishing articles on my personal blog. When you have your own website, you turn yourself into a publisher as well as an author. Consider this, how hard is it to publish an essay in a renowned science journal? You are practically free to write and publish articles on your website. Of course, the stakes between publishing on a journal are significantly different from publishing on your website. And that’s exactly why writing for your own website is such a good practice ground to develop your writing skills.
Bonus: your website, your values
This may not be very important to most of us, but don’t let the platforms’ values define you. For example:
- If you are pro-privacy, you don’t need to track your readers using Google analytics on your websites.
- If you hate ads, you don’t have to show ads on your websites.
Yes, you need a personal website.