I've been rebuilding this website for about five years now. I've gone through an embarrassing number of false starts. The key, as it turns out, was to drastically limit the scope. And so here we are, on my new website: three HTML files, an RSS feed, and 90 lines of CSS.
What I want this website to be has, unsurprisingly, also changed over those five years. Now, in late 2019, I want this site to be a place where I can write about topics that interest me, and I want it to be a place where I can build weird stuff.
Most of all, I want this to be my home on the internet. There's been a definite uptick in people building and publishing their own small websites in the last few years, and that makes me happy.
In the interest of this site being long-lived, I've opted to build it using a static site generator. With a minimal build step—I'm using Eleventy—my site is just a folder full of static files. That means I can host it pretty much anywhere cheaply and securely.
. ├── index.html ├── posts/ │ ├── hello-world/ │ │ └── index.html │ └── index.html ├── rss.xml └── static/ └── styles.css
My content is all written as Markdown, which is easy to author and ubiquitous enough that I should never need to worry about it.
Hosting was simple, too. The source of the site lives in a Git repository on GitHub which notifies Netlify via webhook when there are changes to pull down and build.
The idea with these choices is to use tools that are easy to abandon.
As little design as possible
Because shipping something—anything—was my goal, I kept the design as minimal as I could stand. That meant adding some basic padding, a line-height/width, and picking a typeface. It felt good to let go of any expectations and just ship something that works.
Apart from allowing me to ship faster, punting on design makes sense because I don't quite know what the site will turn into yet. First, I need to use it.