Why you should have a Website
Stand out from the crowd, proof your skills and own your content
· 6 minutes read
You are currently reading this text on a real website. Not an embedded post on WYSIWYG-providers or something walled behind social network logins. Continue reading about why this should matter to you!
My website here is no work of perfection for UI-Experts, but it is my own, including all the quirks and (missing) polish. You can get a feeling of my personality just by browsing my site, something that is hardly possible with pre-made templates from website builders. This can built some audience trust (at least I hope it will) and sets the stage for everything else you actually want to achieve through a online presence.
My content is my own. It takes quite a while to write something longer than tweet-size, editing and publishing it. Why should some other company get the credits for my efforts? Even through I do not monetize this website, it is my personal brand after all.
Blogging Platforms also tend to shut down or become walled gardens, limiting the potential audience, destroying any rankings or backlinks your valuable writings might have developed.
I am currently pulling all my writing pieces off external platforms, concentrating everything into this website you are browsing right now. For a maximum of portability, everything I have gets rewritten into clean Markdown files. Even if I would want to port my content ever again, with a standard plaintext format this should be trivial.
How and where should my content get displayed? What about discussions about ... *gasp* copyright? When you use external services, usually you give them all rights of your content, so they can do with it whatever they want to. Even if this isn't clearly written in the fine print, this is how it works out in practice in all cases I have observed so far.
It might be normal to post a photo of your daughter on your favourite social network to get some likes and attention... but what if the platform suddenly needs to make more money and uses this photo as buyable stockphoto for random dudes on the internet? Would you like to explain to your kid why she is now the front face of some suspicious medication on the internet?
Freedom of Speech
First things first: I do not and never will tolerate actual hate speech. But: there is a point nowadays where legitimate concerns and opinions get silenced, banned, raided. "Political Correctness" is turning into a weapon to suppress anything thinkable, even the factual truth.
My website can not be censored, shadowbanned or automatically deleted. (Okay, my actual web hoster could have a talk with me if there is really something bad going on, happens not that often)
Even if I do not like some opinions generally, I would love to see them written down including the thought processes behind them, including a clearly tagged person who wrote it. This can be the basis of a needed discussion of a topic, like how the web itself was made for (linked documents, referencing each other).
In the end tolerance means that I will fight for your right to express yourself, but not that I automatically like what you have to say. If you insult somemone, be prepared for a response, like in the real world. If you try to spread misinformation, people might call it.
If you do not pay for your online presences, you are the product. The only exception to this is when you use a service that has a "free" tier in addition to priced ones, where other users cross-finance some free users. This is a typical marketing move from companies, because free products allure users, which then might convert to paying customers (for example once the "free tier" limits are reached).
One example for this is this very website here, which costs me $0 (zero) per month. It is made with a static site generator and hosted on CloudFlare Workers Sites. Since I already use cloudflare for some projects, this hosting is completely free (and blazing fast, too!). This includes zero config SSL and no worries about traffic/spikes or hardware.
Stand out from the Crowd
Even if arguably basic website frontend skills are very easy to learn, by no means everyone does it. It is increasingly a clear bonus point if you can "code a website" for employers, even if the actual offering has nothing to to with pushing pixels everyday.
Most people still have no personal website, but rely on social networks or cheap online presence builders or do nothing at all. With a handcrafted (and maintained!) website you will have a leg up over the competition.
Bonus points if all information is synchronized with other social networks you use (and up to date), includes some personal blog posts (no rehashed stuff) and a showcase of your work and experiences.
Maintaining a personal website can act as a Keystone Habit to start growing your personal brand. Once you built an audience, you are in the habit of publishing something regularly, and are in touch with the very people following your creative output.
To start making money off this situation is actually not that hard, since you already have the required skills to do online stuff and additionally you know what people are interested in.
Even if you do not plan to ever become some "content producer" professionally, be prepared nevertheless. You never know what the future might hold, and having options for action is always helpful.
Owning content is like investing in index funds: it will grow in "value" over time once published (and maintained).