Call me old school, but I believe that a personal website is an essential part of your identity on the Web, a necessary counterpoint to the curated social media game (Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, etc). For coders, a canonical example is Jeff Atwood’s codinghorror.com.
I made my first personal website in 1998. I can’t even remember anymore if I hosted it on the college intranet or actually had a domain name. Really, I just wanted a motivation for making graphics in Photoshop. There wasn’t much real content. I’m no Jeff Atwood.
Despite my fondness for that particular form of unrealized ambition, I have decided to use Medium as my writing platform. Maybe one day I’ll repatriate, but for now I will write here.
The reasons for this decision are twofold:
- I don’t have the time or overwhelming inclination to tinker with self-hosted blog platforms (WordPress, Ghost) or brain-involving static site generators (Jekyll), SEO, etc. My current website is basically static HTML constructed using the simplest generator I could find, harp.js, basically to preprocess includes.
- I buy the argument that Medium can get my writing in front of more eyeballs, relative to the reach of my personal website in the absence of massive and tedious (for me and you) self-promotion (e.g. constantly tweeting links).
And the funny thing is, Jeff Atwood even explained how to become Jeff Atwood. Read it here, but here’s a teaser for starters:
I don’t care if you have nothing interesting to say. If you can demonstrate a willingness to write, and a desire to keep continually improving your writing, you will eventually be successful. — Jeff Atwood, How To Achieve Ultimate Blog Success In One Easy Step (2007)
That’s simple, sincere, good advice. So really, as much as I love the personal website as a thing, the more important thing is to take the path of least resistance towards writing more frequently. And that’s why Medium wins. For now.
Originally posted on 4 July 2015. Revised 27 May 2016, and again on 5 January 2018.