One characteristic that almost every engineer is the innate desire to create. These feelings of creativity can manifest differently from one engineer to another, be it web-dev, algorithm design, manufacturing projects, raspberry pi, etc.. This desire to build something is universal. So when I decided (for maybe the 100th time) to build my personal website, why did I choose to go prebuilt and hands-off?
Firstly, this is most definitely not my first "attempt" at setting up my own personal website. I've started and abandoned countless projects where the range of ambition covered a micro-blog to a fully fledged forum for me to reside over. Perhaps just as common as the engineering desire to create is the compulsion to abandon once you feel that you have something figured out. That abandonment is exactly what I did - over, and over, and over again.
So, why did I abandon all of these previous attempts? Because I felt that I had the project figured out and all that was left is the boring work of actually making it a reality. The thrill of all of my personal projects comes from figuring out how to do something new for the first time, not building another CRUD app. And what is a personal blog, but a CRUD app? Of course, I have nothing against CRUD apps, they are the backbone of Web2 as we know it, but I just don't enjoy building something that I have been forced to build N other projects. This time though. This time will be different.
Doing It "Right" This Time
"Perfect is the enemy of good" - Voltaire (maybe)
I know the mistakes I have made in the past. Namely, losing motivation to build a CRUD app. To fix this I can either build it out really really quickly or use a pre-built solution. I don't want to be embarrassed of my product, I'm not cool enough to look like Ken Thomson, so I am left with something prebuilt.
There are dozens (12n | n>=2) of website building solutions out there! How did you choose one?
I chose Blogger for one reason and one reason only. I saw it as an option after I transferred thornewolf.com from GoDaddy to Google Domains. "Perfect!" I exclaimed, immediately making a Hello World! post. Shortly after this decision, a friend reached out to me soliciting some advice of setting up a personal website. She mentioned a project & hosting service I hadn't heard of before: Ghost.io
With someone that looks that cool on the splash page, I figured I at least needed to check out Ghost. After looking at a few example websites and seeing the post-editing's Notion-esque interface, I was sold. I chose my theme, put up some content that I published originally during undergrad and called it a day.
What about hosting?
At $9/mo I am more than willing to shell out the money than have to handle managing a web server on some Amazon free tier instance that will cost me a chunk of change if I ever write anything worth reading. (Tell your friends about thornewolf.com)
So far I am really liking Ghost. I think I'll continue using it for at least until I find a new personal flavor-of-the-month. How do you manage your personal/corporate website? Are you using a archaic amalgamation of php scripts? Have you built out a sleek React+Next.js webapp? Let me know on Twitter @thorne_wolf