The title of this post should rather be “why it is important to think before you start creating a site of your own”. But, that title just won’t stick, so this..
Note: This post is retained for historical reasons. While I have made an attempt to keep the post updated, we live in a world that has changed since 2013.
Website in the context of this post refers to a the blog, or custom content hosting that will enable you to share your interests, opinion, and what not with the world. There are tens of reasons you want to have your own site:
- Consistent branding that is in your control
- Wider options to choose how you want the audience to get your thoughts, opinions and stuff, without worrying about what one or the other social platforms can do for you
- Less dependency on the social platforms that do not guarantee
- Opportunity to make money (ha ha)
But, stop! Think before you act, and consider the complexities.
Websites cost real money
Websites in 2020’s are not the same as 2010’s. You have a host of options to create and host your sites (far more if you can dabble with technology). This website for example is hosted on Github, built using Hugo through Netlify, and authored on Visual Studio Code - all free tools. Even if you use free tools, hosting and a domain, there are expenses and costs like the cost of your time and your boundless energy to keep things running.
Websites demand content
Similar to other forms of expression on the internet. websites are subject to radioactive decay if left unattended. There are alternatives which may fit into your daily schedule, but that may not be true for a distinct, stand-alone website (unless your commitment is exemplary). If you have not tired creating content for blogs or some offline writing, the best place to start is some walled service provider like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter! Find out what works for you and whether you can commit to content generation.
Common costs include -
- Cost of domain
- Cost of hosting
- Maintenance costs including those for applying bug fixes and updates
Websites need your time & energy
Websites require your commitment over reasonably longer time frame. Terms of service providers change, your interests change, and there are tens of things that you could potentially want to attend to.
Websites need technical know-how.
Today’s technologies can do marvels. Creating a site and hosting it is made simple by many service providers including the ever-so-popular, just-refuse-to-go-away Wordpress platform.
While there are oh-so-many providers that promise website development with two clicks, be prepared to shell out money for installation and/or ongoing upkeep. Regardless of how comfortable you are with technology, there is always the additional overhead of keeping website up to date and stressing about one of the many platforms to host your site.
What could you do instead?
So, what can you do if you have a bursting creativity that demands sharing with fellow humans?
Here are some options that can act as a good baseline:
- Start with facebook, pinterest or linkedin depending your topics of interest. This not only familiarizes you with keeping the audience engaged and gain popularity, but also act as a good spring board to try whether your ideas interest the world. Social media platforms today (e.g. facebook) tend to combine multiple activities, which may gel well with your ‘normal’ and don’t impose pressure to deliver. Well, do note that ‘normal’ people can turn into obsessive sharers of their kitten photos – I am talking the pre-transformation period.
- Blog! Blogs demand your creativity and test your ability to structure and present content, and almost need the same kind of sustenance as a website. Once you start blogging consistently , you will be able to get a good grasp of how things will look further on. Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr are a few examples of of popular blogging platforms. You may also note that the blogs can easily be converted to websites with a separate domain name (more about that later)
- Sign up on Medium, or Quora to find an active and engaging audience
- Volunteer to write on any of your friends’ blogs, websites
You should still create a personal site!
Don’t get dissuaded by the above gibberish. The argument for your own personal space on the interwebs was never stronger.
Use your own website to get the world to know you better -
- Your life and life choices
- .. and stuff
It is better to commit to the now and invest your time on creating content that can be super useful for your future self - never mind the tens or thousands who may or may not pay attention.