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.
# Personal branding
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 😉.)
# Self-publishing articles
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.