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Into the Personal-Website-Verse (2019) (matthiasott.com)
239 points by rohmanhakim on Jan 27, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 203 comments

Following on from this excellent article, would other HN users care to share the URLs of their personal webspaces?

Mine is: http://www.jaruzel.com (yes, I know it's not SSL'd!)

Here's mine: https://paulstamatiou.com/

Been running it since 2005 (and posting mostly regularly.. about 1200+ posts now but the vast majority of that was me posting about tech news back when I had first started it).

It's a mix of tech, design, photography and generally whatever personally interests me at the time from fido2 security keys to NAS storage for my photos and so on. I recently wrote a bit about how I built it: https://paulstamatiou.com/about-this-website/

Oh my god, I remember drooling over every iteration of your website back when I was first learning how to code. Glad to see you're still at it.

Glad you wrote this recent post about your site tools and process. I've followed your site for a while and have always appreciated its design and content.

My personal website is my therapy. It's an art project. It's an attempt to think much differently about what a personal website should be:


I love your CV. As a society, we don't talk enough about our failures, much less compile them as a list. But we all fail, and to pretend we don't is complete ignorance to the basic human condition.

This reminds me of my site back in 2006. It was an art project, not unlike yours. It was not in english, but in language barely anybody speaks (a few million speakers). And unlike your retrospect, it was about beginning of a journey not completely unlike yours.

What i'm saying is that your site hit a string in me. I like it.

My blog is always a struggle sorting the esoteric docs of Hugo, but my website is plain vanilla HTML and is always refreshing to work on after a week of webpacked JavaScript:


Topics: frontend, bootcamps, motorcycling, traveling

Incidentally, I'm investigating simple ways to display my favorite photography on my site, but I've not figured out yet a good UI or system for that.

For photos on your website, are you talking about resizing, presentation, or stripping metadata?

For resizing and metadata stripping, try the "sharp" npm package. It's fast, well documented, and based on libvips.

For pulling metadata, try the "exiftool-vendored" npm package (or just use exiftool directly as a CLI).

For presentation, know that srcset is now widely implemented. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/HTML/Multimed...

Thanks for the tips.

I meant presenting. Like, should I do a fatty grid? Organize by trip? Etc.

As for srcset I use it on my blog but something about Hugo causes my images to rotate.... Sometimes. Lol.

Lordy - I've built so many over the years! Almost all I've learned about coding (since 1990s) has been through playing with personal sites. I'm currently rewriting my poetry site[1][2] from scratch with new tech, and will be documenting the process on my (resurrected) learning blog[3].

I also built some sites to 'advertise' my Javascript library[4] - but given that nobody in the world uses the library (or if they do, they're not telling me about it) I consider this, too, to be a personal site.

My other big project - building a whole constructed world with maps, languages, histories, etc[5][6][7] - is so 'out there' that I consider it to be "uber-personal" ... and yet this is the site which has led to many of my most important learning experiences (from building databases to designing alien fonts). It's also the site that got me into coding in the first place: if it hadn't been my massive desire to showcase my mad world to the dozen other people in the real world who might be interested in it, I would never have thought about becoming a professional web coder!

[1] - current poetry site - http://rikweb.org.uk/rikverse2012/ [2] - new poetry site (very much under construction!) - http://rikverse2020.rikweb.org.uk/ [3] - learning blog - https://blog.rikworks.co.uk/

[4] - Scrawl-canvas library homepage - http://scrawl.rikweb.org.uk/

[5] - Kalieda Encyclopaedia (main site) - http://rikweb.co.uk/kalieda/index.php [6] - (incompleted) Beta site for the Gevey language - http://gevey.rikweb.org.uk/ [7] - (incompleted) Beta site for the Ewlah Lands (maps!) - http://lands.rikweb.org.uk/

I have over a decade of writing at https://sheep.horse/

HN readers will probably be most interested in https://sheep.horse/tagcloud.html#computing

edit: I also have a couple of projects to play with: https://sheep.horse/tagcloud.html#interactive


Made with an ad-hoc static site generator: https://github.com/nathell/nhp


Only a few years old, not so much on there yet, but.. Some good things: List of movies/series watched since 2012 (which I consult all the time), huge quotes collection, fav books and writers, some of my maths art, some pages of (basic) maths I was learning, guide to bash, Miles Davis disc-gig-ography, Romance languages compared, etc..

https://paplauskas.lt/ no js, no static site generator, all html and css written by hand. Blogging like this is so refreshing after coming home from a mile-high stack of dependencies at work :). The only part I haven't solved yet is having comments under posts in the same lean way.

I use WordPress, which obviously has support for comments, and I've actually been thinking of turning them off. I get tens of thousands of spam comments every month (Akismet nukes 99.9999% of them) and the real comments I do get don't add a whole lot. I'm not sure they're worth the trouble. Perhaps just prominently feature your email address?

> Perhaps just prominently feature your email address?

That's exactly what I'm doing right now :). Email address is not exactly as encouraging to reach out as a simple comment box, but I've had a hunch that the small possible upside is just not worth the hassle, and your experience seems to confirm that. Thanks!

+1 from me for only using an email address. I was using commento: https://commento.io/ which is quite small and can be imported via one line of java script.

However having comments encourages people to leave low-effort responses like "good article, thanks". Email-only provides a kind of filter for low-effort replies.

Sure! :D https://warpedandtorn.io/ - Having my own little space to publish whatever I want is extremely liberating.

EDIT: Would love to also set up a blog roll with other HNers. If anyone likes anything on my site link me yours! Would love to chat and share and link to each other's sites!

A Blog Roll type thing is a Brilliant Idea I think!

Sure. I have a place at https://heerdebeer.org. I use it to share my work in history, education, and software engineering. I do not update it often and there is not much traffic, but it has been a stable place for things I care about.

https://patrickkeane.me It's built with Wordpress and a standard theme, nothing fancy. I have to update more often.

I post about random projects and interests of mine, and linking to interesting Github projects. I'm currently building a Proliant Gen8 NAS with OpenMediaVault, and going down the home automation rabbit hole (see /r/homeassistant / Lovelace software) so I might post that on there.

I also flashed a Vu+ set top box with OpenVix[1] and hooked it up to a huge satellite dish, another project that I should share details of. I have a habit of gathering bookmarks in OneNote for future projects which I really should share.

[1] http://www.openvix.co.uk/

My blog/portfolio website: https://darekkay.com

Mostly dev stuff, but also some general tips&tricks and an "adventure" section. Built with hexo static site generator. RSS included ;)


Currently completely static and handwritten HTML (except the generated download indices) but I do intend to add some sort of publishing thing to it at some point.


I mostly started it while learning Python and job hunting and sadly have not got back to keeping it up. For me, it takes a lot of time and effort to come up with a worthwhile topic and good narrative.

Also, I started it when I had a less-than-fulfilling job and now that I have much more interesting work it’s tough to build the energy for side/personal projects worth writing about.

And I kind of want to rebuild it from scratch (of course). It’s a statically generated site with Pelican and while building it I have often found myself just wanting to be able to make better use of straight HTML over RST/Markdown.

Mine's at https://invisibleup.com

Personal websites are neato. I can draw myself as a cute ghost girl and put whatever I want on my site in whatever structure I want (although it's mostly just articles/blog posts/technical documentation and occasionally art) and nobody can stop me.

Also shoutouts to https://neocities.org for being an excellent repository of personal websites, and the various sites under https://tildeverse.org/

Here is mine: https://www.4fips.com (mostly tech topics, random projects & photography, basically anything I find interesting at the moment)

Love your photo gallery.


oh wow, Dat Whale.

Hehe, thank you!

Mine's https://apt-get.xyz/. Not much on there: an old-school blog (hosted with BBdiary[1]), and a tiddlywiki at https://knowledge.apt-get.xyz, which I try to use as a reference for everything complex I'm learning/exploring. The rest is hand-written HTML.

[1] https://github.com/yumi-xx/BBDiary

Mine's at https://aurbano.eu

Started it years ago as a WordPress site, then Jekyll and now a Hugo generated blog.

I really want to start spending more time putting things in there, for me if anything, as a living repository of the things I do...

I do agree that one thing we seem to be losing is the "blogroll" concept, where people would link to blogs of friends, or recommended websites. We should start doing that again - I've got a task for my website now!

My personal blog, not writing in a while, but some pages still get quite a lot of visits:


Has the blog been hugged to death perhaps? I get a "The connection has timed out" error.

Works on my machine :)

I recently started with a personal website [1]. I wanted to dive into static site generators and used Zola[2] in the end. At this time I only published a few blog articles, but at least I started somewhere.

As my personal knowledge base I love to use Joplin[3]. I wanted to write my blog post with Joplin, too! I wrote a small script to generate the blog articles from Joplin notes and wrote about this in my first blog post [4].

I also plan to have some kind of linkage site. The biggest problem is to revised my large bookmark collection and pick out the best ones. I probably should just begin with new cool stuff I stumble upon. Secondly, I would like to have some kind of feedback system (comments, activitypub, ...) but without any (or at least too much) server side code and without using some external provider.

Btw, the site is also available fully decentralized via dat. Yeahh.

[1] https://blog.jdsoft.de

[2] https://www.getzola.org

[3] https://joplinapp.org

[4] https://blog.jdsoft.de/a-blog-a-blog/

Btw, you might be interested to know that if you activate the Web Clipper service, you can interact with Joplin's REST API on port 41184. I have been using a hairy mess of shell scripts to achieve similar functionality (Joplin-as-CMS).

I'll have to clean it up and put it on GitHub this weekend!

Awesome! Thanks for the tip. I didn't knew that Joplin has an API. Currently I am parsing the yaml files directly. Using the API could be an alternative, especially when I want to re-enable the encryption.

I write regularly at https://werd.io - about tech, politics, the intersection thereof, and some personal stuff.

I use Known, a platform I cofounded, which supports the Webmentions / IndieWeb ecosystem described in the article. https://github.com/idno/known

The known documentation makes it seem like you can just sign up for a play site with withknown, but that doesn't appear to be the case anymore?

I think they turned off the free sites/hosting a year or two ago, but the opensource project is still around and doing well. It's not hard to spin up an instance with the opensource software and I think there are still a few hosts like Reclaim Hosting that offer one button installs of it.

Just getting into having a personal site. Wanted to try out a static site generator so I've been slowly poking at getting something going with Hugo. Hopefully over the next month or so I'll develop my own theme.

Over time I think I'll end up with an interesting mix of things on here.


My homepage is at https://jlelse.dev/ and my blog at https://jlelse.blog/

Both are generated with Hugo (https://gohugo.io/).

https://sequoia.makes.software Mostly technical posts. Roll-your-own SSG, naturally[0]. If you type "resume" you see my resume :) Comments use https://getsimpleform.com/ and just send me an email, then I manually add the comment. Works Pretty Good!

I would happily implement web-mentions or whatever (I added rss feed when someone requested it) but I don't know exactly how they're different from comments. I have comments that link back to the comment-authors website, is that a webmention?

0: https://github.com/Sequoia/sequoia.github.com/blob/rewrite/s...


RSS: https://danshumway.com/rss.xml [0]

Video Content: https://peertube.danshumway.com

I use very similar tech stacks for https://loop-thesis.com and https://distilledjs.com. I should probably get around to setting up a Mastadon instance as well, but I'm not completely sure I want one yet.


[0]: I realize that some people would prefer full RSS feeds, but I just haven't had time to add one, and because the site has no tracking or JS requirements it's just not my highest priority right now.


I recently decided that it was high time to start publishing my essays, stories and other stuff related to life and work; mostly as a reminder to myself and maybe leave something useful for my children and others to read.

I don't really have a rest-of-the-site, but I just launched the first post of my new blog


Hey guys,

here is mine: https://reinkober-it.de I started it as a kind of learning-focused project but then it grew into a small Docker Architecture with a small blog, API usage to show off my projects & top HackerNews stories.

Hi fellow SSL holdout! I am at http://www.skytreader.net :)

(Bought this domain way back in college. One of these days, I might finally shell out the money to get a trendy <myrealname>.co just because.)


It's mostly at the intersection of technology and philosophy. There's an RSS feed.

If you don't like either




then you probably won't like the rest, either.


Built with hugo and using mpeg-dash with shaka player for videos (so that they load only when in viewport and pause and stop loading as they leave viewport).

Recently moved my page to Django, and redesigned it for minimalism. I feel good about it right now, but I'd happily take some professional feedback: https://bbenz.io

> but I'd happily take some professional feedback

Looks clean, I like it. But please use semantic HTML[1] for screen reader users (and SEO), e.g. `<section>` instead of `<div class="section">` and headlines instead of paragraphs.

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Glossary/Semantics

Thanks for this! I was conscientious of accessibility but it looks like I need to review some of the strictly semantic elements. That link is just what I needed.

I’m at https://captnemo.in

The blog is mostly about Tech/Activism/Writing/Design. I also keep a page on /setup about what I use and /projects on what I build.

I've been too lazy to fix the NGINX redirects for some of the subdomains so you might get bounced back to the homepage accidentally sometimes.


Maybe posting this will give that much-needed motivation to finish up on the two recent blog posts I've been postponing for over a month now.



I mainly use my blog to motivate me to learn new things in machine learning/data science. It's been a pretty effective tactic!

I enjoyed your post about the LDA (the Dirichlet one; yet to read the Discriminant one). It strikes the right balance between explaining the conceptual aspects of what's going on, and including concrete examples of the data set used and the graphs of the results. Too many articles in this area are either too much into theory crafting with not much practical stuff to prove it, or sometimes go the other way to "here's a code dump, gather whatever you can with it, good luck!".

(One suggestion: sometimes the context of the post isn't actually as obvious as it seems to us. For eg., the post about the Stan Vim plugin makes no mention of what Stan is, and it's a slightly annoying name to DDG properly. A link to the Stan language's site would've saved me - the reader - a minute and some annoyance.)

Sure, https://smokingonabike.com/ I blog a couple times a year about my personal projects, mostly woodworking and lately grapevines.

Sure! https://www.ft.io

I use the awesome Lektor static site generator and publish to Netlify, which is one of the best products I’ve used in a long, long time.

I like your site, especially your recent advice about making static websites.

One question: I really like your Wave widget at the bottom of each page. How does the Wave mechanism work on the backend? It doesn't appear to send anything apart from setting a local cookie.

Thank you!

TL;DR Since I use Heap Analytics for basic user analytics stuff, I just use Heap's built-in click tracking mechanism to track "waves". Some ad blockers will block the analytics data from being sent — others let it through. It's been a while since I built that feature — I should probably update it to hide the widget altogether if you've got an ad blocker on.

As I wrote above, I use Netlify for hosting it, and I'd really prefer to use their analytics solution (more privacy centric), but it's a little too costly to justify for a personal site.

Nice and clean design. Does this come as a theme for Lektor or did you do it yourself?

Thank you! :) I did it myself.

Great article. Highlights the need for better tooling to create the connective fabric between personal sites.

Mine: https://www.pcmaffey.com

https://mjsmithdev.com/ Hmmm - two lousy Hugo posts. I need to get off my proverbial ass and start sharing more.

https://recog.io , really just a data hub for anything I find interesting, good to remember + lets me mess with new tech freely.


Made with hugo and hosted on netlify, static with no javascript. It's a bit empty but I'm still working on it.

Started mid last year, have been enjoying building it and discovering the multitude of others out there!


I write about clean energy, data science, how to live a good life, and more! Any feedback is welcomed


Mine is https://www.2uo.de

Not much to see, yet, but there's actually some content not linked from the front page.

I've clicked on a random link out of all of these personal websites and I find someone from my hometown, the second time something like this has happened here on HN! :D

Maybe it's time for a HN Meetup/Dating app ? :D

After my recent luck, I'm definitely down for that!

If you're into lambda calculus or artificial life, then here is a landing page I made for several of my (and contributors) projects. You have here a lambda calculus parser and graphic rewrites reducer, a collection of artificial life animations which you can replay in js, graphical quines, presentations slides, you name it.


Here's mine, built using Jekyll, hosted on BitBucket and deployed by Netlify:


I need to get around to writing more blog posts, as I always say: https://joealcorn.co.uk


- content is focused on my mix series of relaxing, eclectic lazy sunday soundtracks

- static website built with Middleman and hosted on Netlify's free tier. It also uses Turbolinks which is an underrated library that provides great performance benefits for close to zero effort

- needs a minor refresh and a few design tweaks

I blog at https://bfdes.in/posts. Not too many articles, and most are about niche topics.

It’s a React SSR site, and the posts are bundled into the code when the server starts up. Markup is Jekyll compatible. More details here: https://github.com/bfdes/bfdes.in.

https://www.simongriffee.com/ ~ Time, light, movement & distance.

Hand-made HTML and CSS plus a little JavaScript.

Published with Hugo static site generator.

Sending love to https://indieweb.org/

Todo: Add a page called ”Links” with links to other independent sites I like, similar to the ”Blogroll” sidebars from years ago.

I'm over here: https://krister.ee/. I like your grid though. Easy to scan.


I used to publish[1] guides/snippets a lot more frequently, but sort of feel the audience for these things has dried up and naturally favour a StackExchange result instead. I now do it to help that 0.01% of people who find a post, or as an outlet to produce/create something when other things are a little slower on that front.

[1]: https://www.kdobson.net

I've had a personal website since the GeoCities days, which I built in Corel Web Designer (I think that's what it was called). It was mostly a homage to U2 which was my favorite band at the time. It was a wonderful way to learn HTML.

I hope personal websites make a comeback. My current site has been going since 2007 and is in Hugo.


I write about personal things, fiction writing, and tech over at https://www.wildmind.io. It's been a minute since my last post because new job, new city...

Also built in Hugo and deployed to Netlify. I keep going back and forth rebuilding it using Pelican or Nuxt.js; it's hard for me to leave well enough alone.

Really nice! Definitively going in my RSS feeds


But the really good stuff is in my pen-and-paper journals...

My homepage is https://jan.bio. Not much content here, but some more on my gopher hole. Gopher seems to have a renaissance these days. Browsing gopher is a nice activity to relax after work as a web developer. No tracking, no javascript, no ads, no images, no web fonts. Just content.

Just rebooted mine using VuePress: https://ethanaa.com

Cool blog — can I suggest making the blog article headlines clickable? Having the Read More button is good, but it seems natural to click on the (large) headline to see more also. Just a thought!

Thanks for the feedback! I agree wholeheartedly with the suggestion. I'll be sure to implement that.

Cool! Also, I really like how you have a sidebar TOC, and the progress bar across the top.

Mine: https://prateeksahu.com/

I have not posted anything recently. It was plain html and css previously, I moved to Jekyll this year. I am trying to post more often (3 unfinished draft). I am kind of afraid that the standard of articles won't be good. IDK


Rust, embedded Rust and CNC!

Tried to make it as lean and fast as possible.

Fortuitous timing. I just started writing daily on https://ds0.xyz whose backend I recently updated to employ tagging, but I haven't covered anything worth reading*.

How do people keep up with each other, private site-wise? Should I just add an RSS feed or something?


Wrote a piece last summer that's much in line with this one :D https://dominik.net/reviving-ye-olde-personal-home-page.html

Here's mine: https://rolisz.ro

I've been blogging for 10 years now. I post mostly about tech stuff, trips I take and whatever else is interesting to me. I recently switched to using Ghost to write posts, but exporting to a static site.

Tiny little static site on S3 via Cloudflare for SSL: https://ajford.us

If you trust Cloudflare, it's a pretty easy way to handle SSL, though it doesn't give you the same level of control over your SSL cert without a paying tier.

Mine is https://www.chrisvogt.me. It's been my online experiment space since 2012. Right now it's a dashboard/blog showing data pulled from my social profiles on Goodreads, Instagram, and GitHub.

A bit late, but why not.. https://www.thejach.com I write mostly to myself, it's kinda fun to go back 10 years and think "huh, that's totally wrong" or "yup, still think that..."

Mine is https://bastibe.de written in a 100% home-grown and hand-built static site generator in Emacs Lisp. Actually has been running for more than ten years, and migrated through multiple backends and domains.

https://lukaszkups.net with blog at https://lukaszkups.net/notes/ - feel free to take a look around! ;)

https://benovermyer.com is mine, though I also maintain a "tilde" site - https://tilde.town/~sithlord

Still a work in progress but https://www.bjonnh.net (made with gohugo). Part is my academic work, some tech posts, working on my portfolio these days (prospection phase). Any advice appreciated

I'll add to the list: https://www.codydehaan.com

I'm currently deciding on an analytics package, so excuse the several JS calls that are present—though they all strive to be relatively unintrusive.

I made https://hugeystudios.com mostly to learn some web tech, (AWS & Docker), try out Swift Vapor, and host mando static content for mobile apps. It's not great, but it's mine!


Begin doggerel:

Those hackers who explore my digi-self

Just might discover words that they enjoy.

With poems, games, translations on my shelf

There's something here for every girl and boy.


There's a mix of photos of street art, other things I've seen, a bit about technology etc.

I miss the old, quirky web and I'm trying to let this blog be old school.

Here's mine: https://www.nilkanth.com

Been blogging (with some gaps) and maintaining a personal website since 2003. Moved all that data from WordPress to Ghost last month.


Just revamped mine at the weekend and now much happier with it. Trying to better split out my research from public engagement and other miscellanea.

My one is https://markosaric.com.

Writing regularly on a variety of topics that I'm working on/interested in including online marketing, ethical web and such.

This is a definitely a fun idea. Andy Bell created a project a year ago to do just this sort of thing. Try out: https://personalsit.es/

Just started mine... https://www.moritzfriedrich.com It's a challenge for me, but I try to force myself to vote regularly.

Mine is mostly just my resume website right now, but I plan to make a more centralized place to share my various works:


Good idea :)

https://brokensandals.net (philosophy, book reviews, programming challenge walkthroughs & other tech posts, my music)

May as well chip in: https://petedeas.co.uk

Sometimes I wonder if I should do more with it, but I don't know what.

Great idea! If in part because it reminds me that mine needs some updating.



Updated to have Simeville, a css village. Gonna remake it in Canvas though.

I hope you keep the pure-CSS version around somewhere, because that is technically amazing. I thought I'd accidentally disabled umatrix when I first saw it.

oh that's a good idea. I'll do that.

I was really bummed going from a site where anyone could easily see how it was made and read the source code via view source, to Gatsby/React where its unintelligible. But to have animations persist across "pages" it was necessary to switch. This is what index.html and layout.css used to look like:



Keep the css version around, it is beautiful.

Here is mine! https://jaack.me Built on Jekyll and deployed on GitHub Pages and Cloudflare.

Blazing fast, my creature!

My site is at https://roytang.net. Been around in some form or another since 2002-ish.

Mine is: https://vancelucas.com/

I have actively blogged and maintained it for many years.


Rantings about Hemp, Raspberry Pis, games, and whatever else im doing, so far.


The concept of the picture was funny, but not sure about the execution.

Just a heads up that your address is listed as "Wahsington, DC"

Just trying to replace some services for my personal use: https://www.swoo.club

Just rebooted mine. Happy to share.

Design, art, music, and more at http://willbaker.info


Built with Gatsby, MDX and Theme UI. Yes, overkill!

Mine is https://manuel.kiessling.net.

I generate it as static HTML with Hugo.

I only recently switched to HTTPs. https://darian.af/


Has been around since the early days of the web.

That's very green. :)

Thanks! :)

In case it's too green, the site also works fine with CSS disabled.

Not a lot happening on mine:


I blog over at https://jloh.co

Mostly just tech related things


Blog is coming soon™.

check me out https://alexdunn.io

Mine is: https://advaith.dev

Amazing piece btw

Just be careful to manage your expectations. This idea won't solve the central problem of the attention economy - low average attention per unit of content. Modern social networks are actually better at that, because they entice people to spend attention on lots of content. Getting hundreds of views on your YouTube video, Facebook status or Medium post is much easier than on your personal site. That's how the "new web" won creator mindshare. The "old web" will keep losing until it finds an answer to that.

> getting views

This is the disconnect between the modern commercial web and the real web. Personal sites aren't usually about gettting views, making money, or grabbing attention. Those are profit motives.

Personal sites are about putting something out there you care about. It doesn't matter who, if anyone at all, sees it. It doesn't matter if your site only has 90% uptime. Or if it looks weird and only works in some browsers. The only thing that matters is if you like it.

Another big difference is the freshness of the content. The "modern web" will bury anything that is not new or trendy and make it virtually disappear for everyone that isn't looking for it specifically.

On the "old web", content freshness is what the creator wants it to be. Old articles can still be as relevant five years down the line, given that the author updates it as needed. Cool and weird stuff can still be cool and weird after the fact, doesn't depend on word-of-mouth or algorithms to "live", doesn't have to be "released" on a schedule, and doesn't have to compete against other creators. It just exists for people to stumble upon eventually: the when doesn't matter.

For the most part, yes. The personal site lets you experiment in the way you want to.

But most people will still need some kind of validation to make it feel like they're not just putting information out into a silent, gaping void. You don't have to stoop to Twitter style hot takes to do this, but some acknowledgement from the outside world is still desirable.

Back in the day, there were "guestbooks" you could sign and webrings you could join, linking to other related sites. Blog software had user comments and blogrolls built in from Day 1. Unfortunately spambots and useless pingback notifications killed the discussion sections.

Webmentions are pretty cool as is covered in the article under discussion. I recently implemented a static webmentions receiver for my static site and got a pingback implementation as a side effect (http://superkuh.com/blog/2020-01-10-1.html).

Pingback is old and well known so it gets a lot of spam. But webmention is still new enough it's still useful. Sure, it'll eventually get spammed out to but this is the lifecycle of web-objects. Gotta get use of out them while they're young and not terrible yet.

Many people create content to achieve some other goal, like activism, education, or building a business, which usually benefits from many other people seeing the content.

It's not just the aggregation aspect or the built in audience that the centralized platforms offer. It's the simplicity. It is very easy to "publish" your own content.

Following a 90/9/1 rule [1], where most of the users are consumers, it becomes difficult for "average" people to contribute content when you've raised the bar so high that they need to have a personal site. That level of overhead will hinder many people. It's not just the technical aspect either -- just the problem of choosing a color scheme or layout is a roadblock to many people. When you can just type a post into a short input box or in a webform and just let Twitter and Facebook worry about the "publishing", that's a much lower bar to cross. And when you lower the cost of entry, you'll have significantly more participation. I think that's the main draw of the current centralized services -- the bar of entry is low enough that the proverbial mom or grandmother can now use Facebook (or whatever) to post their own content.

Unfortunately, that leads to one of the downsides of the centralized services, which was your point. Now that 9% of people who want to contribute content and learn about how to do it (design their site, wire up the services, etc...) now don't have as big of a potential audience.

Which I guess we have the same point, just from different angles (consumers vs producers).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1%25_rule_(Internet_culture)

You have to keep in mind that HTML, HTTP and URI's where never developed with the intention to cater to the needs of billions. They were build as robust tools to quickly share and connect research notes in academia. They survived thus far because their are build on top of a few solid first principles that boost that robustness. They promote interoperability, but that's about it.

Their crude design has led to the fact that every iteration of the past 30 years is pretty much trying to solve the same problems: discoverability, interactivity, easy-of-use, scalability, security, performance and so on. We try to fix things without breaking the world.

More to the point, HTML, HTTP or URI don't give you the tools to actually promote your content. They just enable you to put a node in a large network of hypertext. That's it. HTML is meant to structure content by adding cues / tags in such a way that machines can grok that content. But it doesn't tell you how to interpret the content. HTTP just allows you to connect a client to a server and exchange HTTP messages. It doesn't define what's in those messages. And a URI is simply a spec that defines an identifier, not what it defines exactly nor how things could or should be linked.

It's only when the Web became this pile of hypertext, too large to index by hand, that the current denizens of the Web started to pop up. Google is ultimately nothing more then a fancy telephone book. And social media are at their core just a single big shared wall where everyone can tack on messages.

Arguably, building a website is the least efficient way of reaching a large audience, simply because the core tools of the Web weren't inherently designed to do that.

Hence why we've seen how SEO and marketing hackers are at odds to game search indexes and their algorithms. It used to be that their influence was limited to the space telephone book publishers reserved for advertising. Isn't it that then strange how SEO marketeers aren't effectively not doing things that different from what their forebearers did in the 1950's?

The big power of the Web isn't the fact that your page can be found just by Google or shared via a social network. That's a reductionist form of looking at what you can accomplish.

The true power is that you can connect to others without needing advertising companies or moloch telephone book publishers.

See, the same crude robustness provided by those open standards allows you to create your own network of hypertext between you and many friends. The Web is not a single glob of content; it can be many globs of content that are interconnected and can transform as human relationships and interaction transforms. It's not a static thing that needs to be held down by incumbents merely because mom and pop don't know how to write HTML.

You can perfectly have your own web presence and be part of a centralized service as well. Try looking at principles such as POSSE (https://indieweb.org/POSSE) You can have your cake and eat it at the same time. That's totally possible.

See, if Google and big tech try to slay URL's; they effectively disconnect themselves from the Web. They isolate themselves. And that's a bigger risk to themselves then it is to the survival of the Web. Because although the Web is huge, it's resilience is found in it's ability to adapt and evolve as provided by the core design principles that underpin the entire tech stack.

Everything else is mainly sugar and sprinkles.

If more people leave the lights on to show how and tell why personal sites matter I think the tide can be turned to reclaim the "old web".

And as rightly said by superkuh > "Personal sites are about putting something out there you care about."; someone somewhere will share it and someone somewhere will find it useful.

Could you put all your original content on your personal site, then use Twitter, Facebook, etc. to promote it?

I think I know why personal websites aren't popular anymore. It's the same reason retro video games aren't as fun as they were when they came out.

What's missing is the context of the time when they were popular. They were new and had a high-tech aura about them.

Nowadays making a website doesn't differentiate you in a good way unless you have a super creative way of coming up with the website and a lot of content to fill it with.

Nowadays you have to take it to the next level. What's a skill that's beyond the reach of most people? This could be why PCB business cards are so appealing. Because it's a thing most people can't do and if you can do it it shows your technical prowess. I think that's my personal web pages were popular back then and why they won't ever be popular again.

You are probably onto something with this train of thought. I had an Angelfire website when I was 17 in the 90's. All my friends were blown away by my terrible design and color choices because they weren't on the web. Putting something accessible by the entire world out there seemed like magic to them. The web in general felt much more magical then.

I love this article, and that people are leaving their own sites below - more food for my RSS reader!

Here's mine: https://jamiesnotes.com

> Email status: 2 unread.

Love this! Although the response rate of people online is extraordinarily high, it's nice to get an extra datapoint about whether you're buried in emails right now and to not expect a response right away.

The author is right, one day, all these services will be gone, unless you control a domain name and self publish, you are risking a lot.

I'm not convinced that owning a domain name is that reliable. Facebook is less likely to let their registration lapse in the next 30 years than I am.

But nothing guarantees that the content you want to stay on Facebook will still be there in 30 years. You have total control on your own domain, not on theirs.

If Facebook is still around in 30 years, I'll buy you a pint!

> The first step of this is to explore more ways to establish new and strengthen existing connections – and also to improve findability. We don’t have to reinvent everything from scratch but can build on so much that already exists.

I use ActivityPub as both the broadcasting mechanism and the mechanism to obtain comments for my personal site. It also allows people to follow my account on my blog from the Fediverse (Mastodon, Pleroma, etc).

So far, not much engagement (mostly my fault for not posting too much). But a working proof of concept. It isn't easy to do though, and I skipped all the other tech to do the AP support first (webmentions, rss/atom).

Could you explain a bit more about how you implemented it? Can you share your website to see how it actually looks like?

I've read a lot recently about the Activity Pub protocol and I've been following Mastodon / Pleroma for a while but never really made the jump

Sure, see:


It's pretty bare bones and has had significant downtime due to Mastodon spamming "account Deleted" activities, which would crash my little server. I hope I have now fixed it.

Anyone else remember "web rings" from the 1990's?

It's funny that you mention this. I was just explaining to a young coworker how we basically had social networking in the 90's. My friends and I (even nontechnical kids) all maintained Geocities, Angelfire, and Tripod pages. We'd load them up with free scripts for counters, guestbooks, and cheesy popup messages. Then we'd all link around to each others' pages and follow each other with web rings.

Yes. There are a few smaller webrings about, but blog discovery is a problem unsolved.

Here's a list of several including an "IndieWeb Ring" that was started in the last two years that features personal websites: https://indieweb.org/webring

Great article. I have thought a lot about personal websites and the lack of any built-in "social" aspect. Comments, forums, guestbooks, webrings, topsites, etc. all used to be commonplace, and these have all but disappeared as social networks have risen.

I am not sure that any of these ideas themselves will make a comeback, but a remix of them might fill some gaps that exist today, especially with discovery.

My attempt at a social discovery network of sorts, for content websites: https://cruton.app

It's a Reddit-style presentation, but instead of votes, it ranks URLs purely on traffic and qualitative metrics. Add it to your site if you want to help me test it out and improve it :)

My personal site is for the archival of early iOS stuff (iOS 1.x apps pre dating the AppStore and what not) as well as some forks and new software http://lexploit.com . Purposely 90s in style.

In the feed reader section of the article, he mentions an RSS reader, Feediary, which is already dead only months after he wrote about it: https://feediary.com/posts/2019-09-02-goodbye/

Since the demise of Google Reader, I've never found an RSS reader I'm entirely happy with. I hope someone does more to update the concept, perhaps with additional support for the Fediverse to fully use the features of projects like WriteFreely https://writefreely.org/

My personal site is where I review music I like. Good opportunity to practice design ideas that wouldn't otherwise find its way into my work-related material.


Yes, there's no SSL.

Great article. Brings back many good memories.

I blog about tango music, which probably won't be of any interest to this crowd. https://tomaskohl.com/tango.

Planning to start a more techy blog, and looking at static code generators. Too many of them! :)

Just restarted mine recently with new content brewing now. https://blog.dianazink.com Old one was DMOZ listed so it points to my biggest project https://www.dreamlist.com

I have a personal website at https://matansilver.com

At some point I'd like to spend some time building out a larger body of writing to post, maybe a gist-like snippet list.

My web projects: https://gelform.com

My music reviews and podcast: https://BassTourist.com



compatible with every browser you can throw at it

My website is: https://luord.com

Really need to write a new post, I just can't think of what about.

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