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Ask HN: What are some examples of well-designed personal sites?
145 points by orbOfOrthanc on Dec 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 93 comments
I'm looking in particular at sites that advertise consultancy services / personal branding etc. The more minimalist the better!

This is a question which seems to come up regularly: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que... https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

I have a Twitter thread where people have made a number of suggestions ( https://twitter.com/gwern/status/1092221945427517440 ), and my own website is often mentioned - minimalist, fast, pretty, and also with a number of interesting & unusual features: https://www.gwern.net/About#design

Thanks for all the links! I love exploring independent, personal websites (and adding them to my RSS reader).

I've been a big fan of Lee Robinson's website, which is built with Next.js: https://leerob.io/

* Stylistic enough to have some heart, but simple enough to not have the design get in the way

* Great content, his blog posts are a good mixture of technical and general thoughts

* I like his timeline on the about me page which provides some flavor to his experience.

As I was working on my personal site I was peeking into his github repo pretty consistently to see how he structured certain things.

On this timeline I immediately tried to click the "Today" entry because it was blue. It didn't do anything.

No RSS on his blog. I like following people's blogs using a RSS feed reader.

That's a good suggestion. I'll look into that!

Ha ha! Thank you.

Thanks for sharing! I'm glad my site was helpful.

i love the idea of the timeline :)

In my opinion, one of the best websites is brandur's (https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=brandur).

Not a huge fan of the homepage, but the articles look sublime. Example: https://www.brandur.org/sortsupport-inet

Damn. You’re quite right. Excellent typography and layout even on mobile. Thanks for sharing.

Imho this is seriously amazing: https://dynamicwebpaige.github.io/info/

I like that email response time graph... thinking of doing that as well when I have time.

Hosting on GH; #weird-flex-but-ok

Still, I like the style

What's strange about hosting on github?

I quite like the website of Paul Stamatiou, a designer at Twitter. It’s primarily a blog about his interests (photography, gear, etc), but I think the site itself is well done and helps advertise his skills. He just posted an article about the design of the site itself:


Don't know what it is... but that site is beautiful. I think its like a "friendly" minimalism. The "pop of placement" perhaps.

I really like https://gwern.net.

When I built my own site (https://www.gtf.io), I tried to make it as "minimalist" as possible -- fast rendering (v little CSS, no JS, completely static). I wanted it to have no distractions whatsoever, I just wanted it to be readable.

This literally looks like LaTeX

You say that like it's a bad thing!

But the TeX math is interesting to discuss: it turns out that you can skip the usual multi-second download/parse/render/reflow workflow of MathJax JS libraries on a static website by preprocessing the final HTML pages using https://github.com/mathjax/MathJax-node . This gets you pretty much the best of all worlds: it renders instantly without JS, looks good, works cross-browser, and is dead-simple to set up as you just pipe into a tool. Definitely the best way I've found for static sites to render math.

For the flippant style of my comment, it actually wasn’t intended as an insult. I quite like your approach.

I’m fairly proud of mine: https://rymc.io

The mobile reading is especially smooth, a point of pride

Looks beautiful, and loads quickly. This is my favorite so far.

Are you using a static site generator?

Yup! It's a customized version of Zola (https://www.getzola.org) that I hacked to add support for line numbers in code blocks (e.g, in any of the technical articles). I also committed support for the Dracula theme to the project.

The social stuff is a separate script that runs before site generation, which I open sourced (https://github.com/ryanmcgrath/activity-scraper). All runs on a "every 5 minutes" cron job that just fetches activity and rebuilds the site. It also rebuilds if I push to the server.

For the font support, the top logo is optimized to just include those four characters (RYMC), and then Aleo is stripped slightly. It's all base64 encoded into the CSS, and the CSS is all inlined into the page.

Before anybody says "but HTTP/2", yes, I know multiple requests on the page is fine with HTTP/2, and that's good for much bigger projects. I still notice a big time to paint difference for something like this where the total amount of data on the page is ~150kb. Icons are all SVGs, inlined into the page and just repeated via group/use tags - the only external request it makes is the header image, and I suppose Cloudflare injects an email decoder JS lib that's less than 1kb.

I think part of me also wanted to do it like this purely to ensure that there's tech articles out there that load fast, don't need AMP, and don't overload you with subscribe/follow/etc actions. It's old school, the web I grew up with - doesn't work for everything today and I wouldn't build most projects like it, but it's fun for my personal site. shrug

I really liked Joe Armstrongs GitHub blog here:


He wanted something that would enable anybody to PR his Wiki and wasnt at the mercy of a server side static site generator engine since the GH one screwed up his links for his former blog. Its simple and works mostly on the client side and gives you an exportable file.

Armstrong passed away sometime back sadly and my hope is that GitHub maintains his blog undisturbed. He had a beautiful way of explaining concurrency and software issues that I think anybody could follow. Also for those unaware he was one of the creators of the Erlang programming language.

I designed my home page as a thin homage to web server root index.html pages.

Though I'm most proud of my SMIL animations.


I really love this one: https://tobiasahlin.com/

Shameless self promotion (my blog): https://muffinman.io/

And of course, Daring Fireball: https://daringfireball.net/

Not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I like mine. Minimal, with some lairy background graphics.

Built it on an iPad using Working Copy and Affinity Designer. Jekyll, Netlify and a good CDN means it’s free to run and super fast.


my personal favorite: https://bruno-simon.com/

(FYI: i'm not the author)

THIS WAS THE MOST AWESOME WEBSITE EVER. I'd love to hire that guy to do a galaxy one... traveling to different plants in a spaceship.

Very nice. Reminds me of the excitement of finding new websites years ago when the web felt like the wild west!

I don't know if a designer would say, that it's well designed, but I am quite happy with https://kalle.co . No blog, just a small landing page with links to social profiles.

minimalism at its finest. good job!


Very well done, although it starts slow (thought it was going to be just the initial simple text).

Like others I had a problem with the page cert (GitHub cert). Going to http://strml.net fixed it on the redirect to https://www.strml.net (which is using a Letsencrypt cert for www.strml.net)

Love that adventured... bit long, but good.

I am getting:


This one is really cool! Never seen anything like this before.

Seems to be down :/

Quite subjective, we all are.

I saw this template on cdnjs and fell in love. What I had before this website was an awful portfolio type site that had links on the side and a slideshow with all the images and wasn't very mobile-friendly. I knew I needed to update it... and I am absolutely fascinated with minimalism.

If you want to use it, you can find it here: https://cdnjs.com/libraries/topcoat

Adopted to my website: https://notetoservices.com/

I've just recently redesigned my website and I really like it: https://lukaszkups.net/

This one is super simple, and I really like its colors in dark mode: https://alexanderte.github.io/ This is mine, tried to keep it as simple as possible: https://mendel.sh/

I did tried different frameworks like gatsby, nextjs, hugo etc and finally settled with hugo static website for its community support and templates. it is minimalist with white background. Hosted on Netlify. working great so far.

Shameless plug: https://www.rasikjain.com

I really like https://distill.pub 's design. Which is why I remastered it into a Ghost theme and put it on my blog: https://sdan.io/blog

I like mine :D

[1] https://www.drinchev.com

A little bit late to the party but this one https://mayvaneday.art/ is pretty good of you're into the old internet stuff, it's even available on the darknet

https://www.msgtrail.com/ is my personal blog. Spartan, easy to read on various screen sizes, auto darkmode, and client-side searching on the Archive page.

The first time I've seen the .computer TLD, interesting....

I really like https://www.patternsinthevoid.net/

I have been meaning to redo my own to be more minimalist for a while now.

Does mine counts?


It doesn’t really serve any purpose right now. I wanted the domain mostly for email. But I tried to put up something nice.

Really like this one


Alternative question: really fast and SEO optimized personal sites?

I've gotten my site down to ~0.5s load time and rank for a number of tech SERPs, still get a few thousand visits from Google per day for 5-10 year old articles: https://www.jeffgeerling.com/

SEO is overrated. Focus on high-quality content that people want to link to.

Case in point: I have a podcast (in German) whose name is a common German phrase ("Gar nicht so einfach", which translates to "Not that easy"). In SERPs for that phrase, the first few results are usually dictionaries, but my podcast's site (https://xyrillian.de/noises/gnse/) usually appears around 7th or 8th place still on the first page. This is without me doing any SEO, and in fact, without keeping up a regular schedule. >_> But the few episodes that there are have been reviewed overwhelmingly positively, and that appears to be all it takes.


This is a great one. Basically you want a CDN for fast. He also embeds the b64 of images as well.

Or you can build your own CDN with Cloudflare Workers: https://developers.cloudflare.com/workers/tutorials/configur...

Did it with https://sdan.io/cdn (I host a ton of files so my other websites can quickly access them) an example: http://sdan.cc/gradient.jpg (may be a bit slow... it's 1MB)

Thanks for the share, I didn't realize you could use Cloudflare workers for this too.

Thats cool. Thanks

Privacy policy modal on a blog?

I did like that it defaults to spying turned off.

It will be great if you could start a seperate "Ask HN" thread for this.

https://acko.net/ is a personal site I've always found to be impressive and memorable (not mine).

I've seen a few that are just plain left-aligned HTML with basically no styling, and I think they're beautiful.

Does anyone know of any like that? I can't remember any offhand.

I like mine for the fact that it is static and hosted on github pages with a not too bad design.


clean but cookie cutter.

Shameless plug. https://nojvek.com

It’s a super simple site that I wanted to make minimal and mobile friendly.

My personal website is minimal, but still very much a work in progress.


Added a gradient to spice what I wanted to be a plain website:



The blog posts are amazing and I have learned so much from that. At the same time they have convinced me of Dr. Cook’s knowledge and if I was looking for a consultant in these matters, he would be at the top of my list.

I have done lots of consulting and get a significant amount of traffic to my personal site.

I just used Wordpress, picked a minimalist theme, edited the theme to suite me, then added plugins to improve:


Is the site meant to be a joke? The bio under the name sounds like suggesting that.

Hmmmm Wordpress...

With Wordpress you can buy a cool design in a supermarket.

And then deal with their ecosystem of plugins that all try to sell you stuff.

Busy figuring out my own site and very certain that there will be no Wordpress involved


I like the site, but the font, while cool, makes it hard to read. It's giving me a headache lol.

Mine is pretty minimalistic, haven't updated it in a few years but people like it: http://www.nbrogi.com/

Contact info, GPG key, brief bio, links and a big QR code of its own link.


Looks a little broken on my iPhone XS (13.2.3)

Same on iPad Pro with Safari; some elements cut off at the top after the animation runs.

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