It’s time I was realistic with my personal website
Think of the most famous Saturday nights. John Travolta spent his with a terrible fever, Elton was being a bloody nuisance — brawling his way through a night out in Pinner. Me? I’m doing my homework and polishing my personal website. Here are a 7 things I’m learning, beyond the obvious revelation I have no friends.
1) No one visits my home page to find articles, and I don’t blame them.
Of course websites aren’t dying: look at you, you’re on one right now. I don’t need, however, all my articles at easy reach on my homepage — like my personal site is some magazine, where people visit when they’re bored and need new content. They’ll find the articles through social means. My go to boredom pages are Gizmodo and Makeuseof. I’m not sure what that says about me as a journalist.
2) You don’t need a twitter feed in the sidebar.
A link to Twitter, sure. Wordpress Twitter sidebars with the wrong width displaying my precious, precious tweets, and not encouraging anyone to engage with them? (Who retweets from the sidebar of a website? Not I, said the analytics Walrus) These can get in the bin. Well, the recycling — I’ll stick a link in the main menu, still.
3) Images scale weirdly, so I need to keep the text small.
This is the one thing that’s most ticked me off in the changing themes process. I made all those banners in GIMP. Yes, I reused them for multiple articles, No, you didn’t notice, don’t lie. Now it looks like a horrible mess of Nigel Farage close-ups and indecipherable text. Will be keeping the text to a minimum actually, to save on scaling issues.
4) Promoting yourself requires a little less self-consciousness.
I have an ‘about me’ page, right. It’s written in that boring self-deprecating style so expected from writers who actually think they’re great. I think that’s a bit of a cliche. We had a photo-shoot for the interhacktives last week and I plan on including some of those glamour shoots on my own personal page. I’ll ditch the boring, comedic/defensive style and stick to plain, old narcissism.
5) Looking good on mobile is so important.
It’s like Sophie’s choice. Make the pictures look good on mobile, or desktop? If there’s a way to do both, please let me know. For now, I think it’s best to make it look good for Freddie 5-inch Iphone, rather than Sally 17-inch Benq LCD monitor. I won’t know for sure, however, until I check the metrics. Maybe readers are tuning in on Ipads, or CRTs, or their Xbox. Mobile is a safe bet.
6) I shouldn’t spread my things out across too many platforms.
I have cartoons on tumblr, news stories on pressfolio, different cartoons on a different tumblr, a zine about The Clash on my Geocities. That’s too much, man. I think you don’t want to ask your viewer to open too many tabs. I’d be furious if I had to look at all that on someone else’s site. Time is money.
7) At least 1000 of my views are my Nan.
Shout-out to my Nan though. I guess you can’t call her a digital native, really, even though she’s comparatively talented/sensible/ambitious online. Maybe she should be dubbed a digital nomad, shunned on cool people sites like Reddit because she’d share clickbait and occasionally direct messages at the wrong people, so she desperately wanders Facebook talking about Brexit and spying on her grandchildren? She hangs out on my website without question, though. 1,692 views, in 2015, from the UK. I can’t credit her for the 189 from South Africa, or the 16 from India.
Any advice for my web page? I’m like 400 words into a post about my site, and I haven’t thought to post a link. There’s no hope is there. Here you go: Link. Just kidding, that’s not me. Here you go: for reals.