Building a Website

September 2019

It started out as an idea to have my own place on the internet, where I have full control.

My goal: a clean, light website that functions as both a photo portfolio and a personal blog. Without a host of trackers, but fully usable. Building it myself would be an added bonus.

Early 2019: exploring possibilities

I don’t have any background in graphic or web design or programming. Building my own website is a personal challenge and learning experience

I started by researching a bit generally about webdesign, html & css (Interneting is Hard and other guides).

At first I looked into building with wordpress, since it’s so ubiquitous on the internet, well documented and accessible. But when I tried to run a local version to build my own site, I encountered loads of problems that were pretty hard to fix.

Wordpress also felt cumbersome. A friend told me about looking into static website generators and he himself was dabbling with Jekyll. When researching this I found out about Hugo and decided to try it out since it’s simplicity of needing only one binary. Very easy to set up and start building.

Summer 2019: Building with Hugo

In early july I built my hugo setup on a laptop with Lubuntu, VS Code and GitHub.

After some tinkering with other theme’s and trying to figure out how everything connected, I decided to build my own theme from the ground up. Making it unnecessarily complicated for myself, according to some, but a fun free-time project according to myself.

Funfact: I’m writing this blogpost while I’m still building the website. I literally have just a basic skeleton of the site and I’m starting to get a feel for the whole thing. Things are becoming clearer and specific issues are being identified. Progress at last! It makes me happy.

The first two weeks were mainly spent building the html-side of the site, until I got it mostly functional. I would return to it regularly to change functionalities or fix mistakes, but I got most of it working. The css part of it all brought numerous new problems to light, forced me to reconsider certain choices and slowed progress down. But I kept tinkering and progress continued. (You can read a bit more about some of the design decisions and fixes I made here)

August strarted out somewhat neglectful of my little project. I knew I had only a few more elements I had to fix to have a fully functional (albeit maybe somewhat rudimentary). But by september I had a first draft up and running on Netlify. I couldn’t get everything working as I wanted it to, but it was fully functional. Neither the best nor the worst of sites.

No longer could I use the unfinished state of my site as an excuse for not writing what I’m thinking about! From now on it’s good old fashioned procrastination again.

For more notes on the evolution of this site, see the version page.


Intro , Hugo , Project