Why This Site Looks Like This
28th November, 2022
The main reason this site looks like this is because that's how I like it. I built it from the ground up after relearning Html and CSS to make it look this way. And if I ever decide I don't like it, I can (figuratively) roll my sleeves up, get coding and change it.
There's no bloat, no ads, and no cringeworthy header picture of myself trying to look sophisticated that you lovely people have to scroll past to get to the content. And there's not a single generic stock image on the whole site. There's also no junk in the backdoor slowing everything down. Nor is there anything here tracking where you've been or where you're off to next, either.
But I know this isn't how sites are supposed to look nowadays, especially if the host makes their living online. Truth is, I'd probably make a lot more money with much less effort if I made a WordPress blog crammed with marketing articles and landing pages where I gloat about my incredible SEO skills.
So we're clear, I don't necessarily have anything against people who do that or the act of self-marketing either. People are not brands, but people do have to eat. And creative types are all too notorious for starving as it is.
But this is not a portfolio site. At least not in a traditional sense. This is my little corner of the web. I commodify what I do aplenty elsewhere - I'm thankful for the opportunity to do so. Making money online and living where I so choose? That's pretty cool. Thanks, modern web. But this whole deal? This is for me. And you, too, just because I think you're probably a swell person to know.
It's one of many places that belong to a small(ish) community stirring beneath the churning algorithms of web 2.0. Some call it web 1 or web 1.1. Others call it the small web, old web, slow web or indie web. Some don't have a name for it or realise they've joined this movement (if it can be described as that) at all.
Search through the "manifestos" of these web 1.0 advocates, and some similar patterns emerge:
- a yearning for the individualism and fun of the old net
- a distaste for the power major corporations hold over the web today
- a distrust of the utopia web 3 advocates promise
- bad experiences with social media algorithms that prioritise commodities and spread misinformation and toxicity
- a love for the old web aesthetic
- a belief in the value of privacy
- a desire to see authentic human expression and interaction online
Not everyone here feels the same way, of course. But what they all share in common is an instinct to create a digital space that is uniquely their own.
I have a lot to say about the modern web and my experiences of using the internet over the years. Not to mention some views on what it means to survive as a creator online while navigating the world of algorithms. And you can watch this space for all of that in time.
But what I will say here is that I, too, wanted to create something that was a kind of extension of myself. Something that isn't defined by the number of likes or views it gets or by how much someone was willing to pay me for it. And as it so happens, I think you should consider doing the same. Not because it will be like this, but because it will be completely different.
So anyway, that's why this site looks like this
Intrigued and want to learn more? Here are some resources you might find interesting.
- Neocities: a collection of websites built using HTML and CSS.
- Indieweb: 'a people-focused alternative to the "corporate web"'.
- Bear Blog: a minimalist blogging platform that those who don't fancy coding might appreciate
- The Yesterweb: a site and community dedicated to reclaiming the net
- Marginalia: a DIY search engine focused on non-commercial content
- Webguide: A beginner-friendly guide to using HTML and CSS
- Privacy Guide: Interesting information on protecting your privacy online
- This Video: Probably one of the best primers on the subject