Writing, creating, performing or managing your own stuff is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do – whether it’s a poem, an exhibition, a painting, a house, a business… or a small website. Furthermore, doing your own stuff requires multiple tasks and skills – which you hopefully enjoy doing but are time-consuming, you’re less skilled at than someone who does one of them full-time and they probably have to be done alongside your day job.
Why and how
With all that in mind, I set myself some objectives for this website:
- By most people’s standards, especially those who work in digital, I’m not very active ‘on social’. I’ve used it plenty in the past and am continually intrigued by it as a phenomenon, but I spend so much of my life looking at screens and using technology that engaging in social networking doesn’t bring me enough positive value. However, I still need (or want?) some kind of presence online, without requiring me to “go social”.
- I get so absorbed in work that most of my side-projects don’t come to fruition, yet fundamentally I believe it’s better to try and do something – even if it’s small or imperfect – rather than do nothing. Therefore, the site must be available, must be clear what it’s about and must function appropriately for the majority of visitors (different devices, accessibility, modern browsers, etc).
- The site mustn’t have a negative impact on me. It shouldn’t make me look inept, unprofessional, unconsidered, out-dated or in any way be detrimental to my ambitions professionally and creatively.
- That said, it doesn’t have to have massive positive impact. It doesn’t have to be the best site ever. It doesn’t need to be technically cutting edge or creatively awesome.
- It mustn’t be cumbersome or time-consuming to manage. Else it won’t get managed.
- It mustn’t limit what I want to use it for but it doesn’t need to support every possible thing I might want to do (many of which will be ‘bright ideas’ that I don’t do anyway).
- It should provide a means for me to learn new things, stay engaged with running a website and to give me a focussed reason to keep developing using web technologies.
To meet those objectives, this is how I’m doing things:
- Use WordPress. I like WordPress, I have used it for years, have stretched its limitations, have seen it mature so significantly from where it started, and generally have had many positive experiences with it. So stick with it.
- To minimise effort and benefit from other people’s expertise, wherever possible it will probably be better to use existing resources (libraries, plugins, etc), even if they sometimes require compromise.
- But the more dependent I am on other people’s code, the more exposed I am to maintaining things that go wrong unexpectedly, meaning I’ll spend less time creating content or coding the bespoke bits I want to be doing. So fundamentally, try to keep things simple.
- Enjoy creating and hopefully be proud of the content – be it visual or words – but don’t end up having to produce content e.g. don’t create a monster that has to be fed all the time. Also, where I already have content in other places, pull it in to this site or just link out to it.
Realistically, remember that only a small number of people will occasionally be interested in a few things on this website. A couple more people might be slightly interested in one thing on this website. The monumental majority of the connected world will neither care about it nor discover it. A lot of the world can’t even access it.