Personal sites are a complicated matter. How do you authentically project your personality into a 2d digital space? This site has gone through nearly as many iterations as I have, which is to say, a lot.
Every personal site has two experiences: the one the public interacts with, and the one you interact with when you manage the site’s content. If that interface feels like an I-have-to-sit-down-and-make-an-update type event, then you probably just won’t. And by you, I mean me.
It isn’t just about how easy it is to use either. The experience of interfacing with your personal site is woven into how you feel about it. Part of its emotional impact. That is why most of my personal sites have been hosted from platforms I created.
There is a snapshot on the Internet Archive of my very first personal web site showing a “Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers” error. That site was written in ASP and used a Microsoft Access DB as its data store (I worked at Microsoft at the time). While the interface was clunky by today’s standards, I still remember it fondly. A lot of emotion went into that site, both in the platform and the content. The original version of that site launched in 1998, over 20 years ago. I was 24.
This version of treshenry.net is authored using Hugo which is… fine. Hugo is an un-opinionated static site generator that is extremely fast, feature rich, and a pain-in-the-ass. I played around with various other platforms and chose Hugo for reasons that aren’t interesting enough to go into, however, I picked something off-the-shelf because I didn’t have the time to author what I really wanted.
Now that the crunch time of getting this site relaunched is over, I might take another look around for something that feels more like a home for me, and not just for the rest of you. If I don’t find something I like then expect a new post in the Projects section.
My point is: if you want to be successful with your personal site, pick (or make) a platform that sparks joy.
As of this post, I’m not quite there.