Why I have a website

This is for People who have never owned a personal website, who have a vague understanding of why anybody would want to, and who are not sure how they'd ever get started. For example, my friend Nienke. Hi Nienke!

Welcome to my home on the Internet. This website was hand-built by me, and I’m the only one publishing things on it. It contains facts about me, what I love, and the work I do, but also working notes on a wide variety of subjects. This is an example of a personal website.

The anatomy of the personal website

A personal website is a web page or a cluster thereof showcasing anything the owner cares to share: examples of work, essays in blog form, snapshots, discovered links, recipes, whatever you can think of. It is the website version of the oft-seen Twitter bio “views are my own”.

In the early days of the Internet, personal websites were the main event. Before even companies began manifesting ang serious form of web presence, there were dorks with required skills who would build, design, and maintain their own corner of the Internet. Their made up most of the World Wide Web.

With the arrival of Web 2.0 and the social media platforms we’ve come to know, love, and hate, personal sites have come to take up much less space online. You know at least 150 people who have an account on one of these platforms, and one person with a personal site: me.

I think that’s a shame. Here’s why:

  • Whatever you do on the Internet is defined by and limited to whatever your platform of choice allows you to do (imagine the imageless Instagram post, or the 1500-word tweet)
  • If you were interested in having a central place that tells people on what platforms they can find you, you would need another platform to create that place (for example, about.com or linkin.bio)
  • If your platform of choice is absorbed by another tech company, or if it’s acquired by someone you don’t trust or like, you’ll have to find another place to call home. Perhaps you’ll feel forced to continue using the platform even if you don’t want to, simply because your entire network is on there

You should make a personal website

To me, there are countless benefits to having your own website:

  • You decide what you put on there in what format
  • You have full control over what it looks like
  • It can be a central hub for anyone to find you, from friends and family to coworkers and recruiters
  • You can have it for as long as you like
  • You’re free to choose tools that align with your personal values
  • When people Google you, they see you! Not a list of social media websites

When people Google me, the first thing they will see is a link to this website. On here, those interested can learn more about my work, and other things that are important to me.

Many people choose to segregate the personal information they share on a personal website. Some limit it to their work, others to their goings-on at home. Some use a single domain to share everything, like me.

Personal websites as an invitation

Further reading

  • https://www.jvt.me/posts/2019/07/22/why-website/

That's all for now. Eager to see me add some more to this page? Feel free to nudge me.