I code websites for a living. I've been doing that for a bit over 10 years. I don't consider myself especially good at it and after 10 years I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. I don't just code, I also do a bit of design and I often get labeled as a minimalist. The combination of these three things culminates in my appreciation for simple, well designed websites.
I spent a lot of time coding, designing and improving my personal website—I wrote about it in the past—and websites, especially personal ones, is something I find myself thinking about a lot. Personal websites, for some reason, really resonate with me.
In my spare time I curate a list of sites—mostly quirky personal ones—for The Forest. But every time I go through the list of submitted websites I can't avoid noticing that the vast, vast majority are developers' personal websites and blogs. Blogs where they talk about coding. Which is fine, but it's also a bit depressing. I mean, this is not the early days of the web, where you had to be a bit of a nerd to get online. And yet, even though it should be simple enough to get a website, very few people seem to do it.
Is running a personal website still that complex? I'm genuinely asking because I obviously don't know. It clearly isn't for me to determine. I’m a developer after all.
More than once I considered giving away my personal site to people who want a simple blog for themselves, and a few people are running almost identical copies of my site. But reflecting on it, this site, is still fairly complex for a non tech-savvy user. There's a CMS behind it, you need to use markdown and you have to self host it. Could this same design—or a similar one—be made available in a simpler form? Again, I don't know. I could port it to Hugo or Jekyll but I think the end result would make it harder to use, not simpler. Could I perhaps code a version of this same design for something like Micro.blog? Maybe yes but then you're tied to a platform and it's not really your site anymore.
It's almost as if a website is stuck in this limbo where you'll either have to acquire some tech skills to run it or you'll have to depend on a platform. It's honestly a bit depressing.