Are personal blogs still worth it?
why a personal website
Having a personal website is almost a no-brainer nowadays. Whether it’s to promote yourself, and your work or raise awareness about a product or a brand. It can be a great to develop credibility with your field. Having said that, you have to spend hours posting and maintaining content to keep the site relevant. This post is more of a reflection on my personal journey in developing personal portfolio sites. I will keep updating this post as time goes.
1st WordPress site 2011
The first website was way back in 2011. Still attending film school. I felt social media at that time were very restrictive and I need my personal custom space to post my work and establish my expertise. I dumped all the photos and videos I made for clients along with some worthy class assignments. I also started blogging about films I watched, software and tools I used, etc…
I think I got to 8 blog posts and I started to run out of steam. I didn’t truly see the potential to carry on. Especially when you’re hassling as a student. You tend to prioritize the effort that pays.
Needless to say, I was shortsighted and I let the site slip by and considered it an afterthought.
Even though I barely posted on my blog. two posts went somewhat viral and boosted my online ranking. As you know, the more traffic your website gets, the more expensive your domain name becomes. I’m mentioning this to explain what happened during my second attempt.
2nd WORDPRESS SITE 2015
Before describing my second attempt it’s important to mention that I moved back from USA to Tunisia and I lost the domain name due to non-payment. My US bank account was closed for inactivity and my credit cards expired. I had to jump hoops to find a way to pay for the domain.
Even with that, I reached out to GoDaddy a couple of times but they gave me obscene prices for a super niche personal domain “alilassoued.com”
As time went by the domain price leveled back to the normal price range and I was able to buy back my domain. One tip: Always buy domain names for two to three years and never wait for the due date to pay for renewal.
Back to the main topic, I put the site back together and updated some of my work samples, edited a new reel, and such but nothing earth-shattering. I think the second attempt was more like a guilt trip and I needed to have the website back up with no strategy or serious content.
One thing to understand at this point, being back in Tunisia reflected badly on my will and motivation. In that part of the world. a portfolio website is an unnecessary gimmick and doesn’t prove much. A page on Facebook or short videos on Instagram is way more important that a fancy pretentious website. I gave in to the conservative view of my surrounding. After putting the site back together. I didn’t see a point in carrying on.
I know this seems apologetic and nonsensical. I think the drive is in having an audience and sensing tangible results from owning a website is the only way to keep you engaged.
Since I barely logged back into the website. WordPress was outdated, Files got infected multiple times and I had to spend hours with support only to neglect it soon after. I think the second restoration I got from HostGator, wiped my website clean because “my website files were deeply infected and they needed to protect the other websites on the shared server. By that point, I felt like its another reason to forget about the idea overall.
3rd WordPress site: 3rd time is a charm
Today, this would be my third attempt at creating a proper personal website. There are countless examples of successful websites. Even though my first iteration was 12 years ago, I never really kept up with it to get to the bottom of it. Today, Tools and customizations are way more developed on social media with a built-in followers system. Still, there’s something special about having a personal website for these reasons:
- The website is more than another Facebook wall.
- Customize as you go: build your own personal space
- Create a send of ownership and independence.
- Evolve and morph to your liking
- Part of you: It can be unique, there are no two alike.
- Showcase your skills in writing, design, etc…
- Just express yourself with no strings attached.
- It can be monetized later on when you build an audience
- Lots of man hours to get a proper website up and running
- Need lots of maintenance and care. Very time-consuming
- The learning curve is much steeper
- Much more expensive: as the website grows you need server upgrades and ramp-up security to avoid hacks
- More volatile.