Whilst I have had a business website since starting Progress Concepts, I decided earlier this year that I wanted to create a personal online presence. Somewhere I could create my own content, regardless of whether it was business related or not.
I have always been one to own my online presence, that’s why my email address has always been at my own domain rather than a generic webmail service or worse still an ISP. Whilst @gmail.com addresses are popular today, @msn.com or @aol.com were thought as big in the past. And how many ISP’s have long since disappeared, taking your email address with them (anyone in the UK remember freeserve.co.uk)? Websites and blogs are no different. I want my content and reputation at a domain that is under my control, wherever I choose to host it, not some subdomain of a third party service.
Whilst I used to hand code websites 20 years ago, for a long time I used Wordpress. I have now decided I want to move back to static sites. Partly due to Wordpress being somewhat bloated these days, page load speed, simplicity, and partly just because I wanted to scratch an itch and learn something new.
I have built this site with Jekyll, a simple, static site generator. After creating page layouts as I want them, I simply feed in some text written in Markdown format, and out pops the relevant content.
Many people either don’t care, or are not aware, that they are giving up control of their online identity, often to advertising companies.
There is another way though, the open web, and whilst today it may be the domain of predominantly nerds or control freaks, I hope that as time passes more people will become aware of the importance of owning their own content.