How I would build a personal website (in 2023)

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Building a personal website has been a challenging but rewarding journey for me. While it has always been something I've wanted to do, it wasn't always a top priority, so I often found myself starting over or putting it on the back burner.

Why personal website? At first, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted from my personal website, so I experimented with different designs and tools, sometimes having to start from scratch. While it wasn't an ideal process, I saw it as an opportunity to learn and grow as a designer and developer.

Now I view my personal website as a playground for testing out new ideas in terms of content, design, and code. It is not tied to any specific business goals or purpose, which gives me the freedom to freely experiment and allow it to evolve alongside me over time, regardless of my other projects or professional roles.

Let's examine the key components that make up my personal website:

Domain name

I’ve been fortunate to own my first name as a .com domain (edgaras.com) since 2010, when I began my Multimedia Design and Communication education. In my opinion, it is still the best to own a .com domain if possible as of 2023. .com domains are more memorable, generally more trusted, and people often assume that a website's URL will end in .com.

However, if you can’t get a .com domain, there are other top recommended alternative options:

  1. .co
  2. .org
  3. .us
  4. .net
  5. .blog
  6. .io
  7. .biz

One Word Domains is another great place to look for domain names. Based on their stats, I think these are some of the best alternative domains for a personal website:

  1. .co
  2. .to
  3. .link
  4. .me
  5. .online

When it comes to choosing a domain name, I believe it's best to use your first or last name, or a combination of both. It’s more personal, easy to remember, and unique, helping to establish your personal brand and making it easier for people to find you online. Personally, I opted for my first name because my last name (Benediktavicius) is quite long. My first name, Edgaras, is the Lithuanian version of a more internationally recognized name - Edgar. Although it might be a little harder for an international audience to remember, I decided to embrace my unique name and use Edgaras for my domain!

Website building tool or platform

There are multiple options to consider depending on how soon you want to launch your website and how complex you envision it to be. One option is to design and build your website from scratch, which requires design and development skills. Another option is to use a tool or platform that helps you create a website more quickly and with less design and development knowledge. When selecting a website building tool or platform also consider these factors:

  1. Tech-savvyness: how familiar you are with a custom web design and development. If you are new to web development, choose some of the no-code options.
  2. Cost: how much you are willing to pay monthly. Some tools can be too expensive for a personal website that brings no money.
  3. Features: consider what do you plan to include in your website and if the tool/platform will be able to support it.
  4. Customizability: if you want a lot of control over the design and layout of your website, choose a tool that offers a high level of customizability.
  5. SEO: search engine optimization (SEO) is important for getting your website found by search engines. Look for a platform that makes it easy to optimize your website for SEO.

Here are some of the best tooling options I would consider for my personal website:

All-in-one:

  1. Carrd is possibly the simplest website builder ever created. It is perfect for those with no web development knowledge and allows for the creation of basic personal one-page websites. It offers a range of customization options and a selection of free and premium themes to choose from. While it is limited to single page websites, it is an affordable option at only $19 / year. However, it may not be suitable for more complex, multi-page websites with a lot of content, such as a blog.

    Carrd templates
  2. Super. If you require multiple pages on your website or are looking to run a blog, you may want to consider using Super as an alternative to Carrd. It connects to Notion and uses it as a content management system (CMS). It also offers a range of modern-looking templates to choose from. However, it is significantly more expensive at $132 / year, which may be too expensive for those running personal websites that do not generate income.

  3. Framer Sites is an excellent option for designers who lack technical knowledge. It is similar to Figma, but its latest release, Framer Sites, allows you to take your design mockups and transform them into fully functional websites with multiple pages, animations, and even a CMS. I am planning to learn more about Framer Sites this year. While I did not choose it to build my personal website, I would consider using it for future projects or freelance client work.

  4. Webflow is another website builder that is particularly well-suited for designers who are looking for a visual tool to use without the need for extensive coding knowledge. However, it does require some basic familiarity with CSS and HTML in order to use it effectively. Webflow has many free and paid professional templates, which makes it quick to launch a website if you can find a template. However, personally I felt the learning curve of a tool was quite high and the tool felt quite slow and outdated for 2023. I felt I needed to click around a lot and common keyboard shortcuts (e.g. for search, multi select, copy/cut/paste) were not there to simplify the process.

  5. Netlify folder

  6. NextJS+Vercel

Personal website design

Content writing and publishing

Conclusion