reasons to make your own website

Created: March 23, 2024
Updated: March 23, 2024

has anyone else noticed that indieweb types are always sucking themselves off about websites? they make their own site and all they talk about is websites, websites, making websites, and how much they hate social media. they don't do anything with that shit! they give you pages that are like "what have i been doing lately? why, making websites of course!". fucking obnoxious

(end circlejerk)

anyways, a notion i hear from friends on occasion, and maybe you share this sentiment too - i want to make my own website, but i don't know what to put on it. i hear a similar thing for getting into RSS feeds too, but that's another article, my advice for RSS feeds honestly is to pick up a reader just so you have it on hand. websites are different. you gotta have SOMETHING to put on there, right, otherwise you have an ambition with no substance.

here are some reasons to make your own website, a few ideas as to what you can put on it, and practices i would encourage for people who go down this path! a tl;dr: making websites is not for everyone but it gives you clout at least.

reasons to make a website

making information (semi-)permanent and (relatively) accessible

people like to put tutorials in images, videos, and social media posts; these mediums may work for some people, but more and more websites are making it hard to archive useful information. do the websites you use require an account to view posts? what if the person who posted it gets banned or locks their account? do you know how to download a youtube video?

many people run into the dreaded issue of "need help with something, but all of the information is in some discord server." a meeting that should've been an e-mail, if you will. or maybe some information is archived on some tumblr blog with an 8 pixel size font, back when your screen resolution was low enough to actually be able to read that.

there's alternatives - pastebins, google documents, creating a PDF and uploading it to, hell i've used GitHub to archive basically the entirety of the Grand Central Library writing and roleplay resource Discord server. but these options offer little control over how you can present your information, you know?

static websites are basically text documents with support for a little visual spice. and on top of that, you can throw it into the web archive easily enough because a static website doesn't require bullshit like authentication to read it. as a website owner, you can organize this information however you like.

less censorship, less restrictions

chances are there are some things you'd rather not say in the company of your friends. and no, this isn't a bad thing, it just happens sometimes, like things you can't say because you have a friend who's upset by it, or not having a good place to post about this-and-that.

this is by far a major reason why i have this website; i don't have to cater to the limitations of any server i'm in, and it allows me to be critical of communities i'm in for example without making the people in those communities feel as if i am singling them out. or having a lot to write about a certain thing, but in a discord server with people with interests that differ from yours, nobody is gonna wanna read it.

i can't say there's no censorship to websites - obviously certain hosts or domain registrars are gonna have limits related to copyrighted, graphic or sexual content. (we ARE sex-positive here at Portfiend by the way, i think people deserve to be allowed to talk about sex.) but they usually don't care about text unless it's like, harassment or criminal or some shit, which at least gives you the room to talk about them.

i guess the actual point i'm trying to make is that my work on here at PORTFIEND is fairly unfiltered; i don't have to worry about refining my work, making myself comprehensible, removing my personal voice from these articles, or having to dumb down or hide certain parts of my thoughts out of concern for other people, stuff that would be considered too personal or venting or maybe repetitive because i tend to have very repetitive thinking. it's nice.

replacing your use of other websites

you guys may notice i do this somewhat. this website acts as an "about page" for me in place of carrd, a list of relevant links to me in place of linktree, and i have my character directory website in place of a account. not to mention, there's no good place for me to put my blog posts like these! dreamwidth?????

the internet is in a bit of a tumultous state right now, and lots of people are jumping from website to website, scrambling for a replacement for whatever they've been using for X number of years. i have to admit, having a website - something which feels like "mine", and which i have more control over than a social media account - feels like the most "permanent" place i could put anything, which makes it even funnier that all i talk about is making websites.

as a medium of personal expression

maybe you consider yourself an artist, maybe you don't. but i consider my website an art piece, a sum of various creative directions and personal expressions. when people ask me what kind of experience i have making websites, i can show them this (or my character directory!)

i'm the kind of sick freak that can spit out entire essays on a whim when i get bored (evidently), and until i had a website i didn't really have an outlet for this. i gotta say, if school made you feel like you hate writing essays, this site brought back my ability to appreciate them.

in addition you could use your website for other kinds of art - hosting your poetry, creative writing, illustrations, graphic designs, webcomics, etc.


in this day and age people kind of consider website making a "smart person hobby". this isn't really true but i will admit it gives me an ego boost. sorry i know.

things you can put on a website

these things may contain recommendations for other websites, which may seem counterintuitive. i guess it's a good time to mention, i don't think everyone needs a website. it's a good thing to have, and i'm personally distrustful of the integrity of the internet as we currently know it, but i'm not here to make decisions for you!

not to mention, websites DO have a learning curve to them. HTML is a markup language, you're basically taking regular old text files and adding a whole bunch of shit that browsers can read, and that can be time consuming and confusing to people who have never made a website before. the other websites i link in this section may have a lower barrier of entry than making your own.

the big thing i think is that static websites aren't a great replacement for true "social media". like, a social media site where the focus is on talking to your friends and making connections, i don't think a website really does that; even if you add like, guestbooks, comment sections, things like this, a website is ultimately All About You and doesn't lend itself well to this kind of communication.

i don't think twitter or whatever does this well either, lol it's a different story though if you want to spin up a forum or a Mastodon/Fediverse instance, but man is it hard to get people on board with those!

here's a list of what you can put on a site:

  • an about page, like a carrd, listography, or rentry
  • your artwork, like sheezy art, deviantart, or instagram
  • your writing, like ao3 or whatever it is people use
  • your characters, like (once again plugging my eleventy OC directory template)
  • a weblog like the one you're reading, for thoughts of any size
  • what you want to do (an /ideas page)
  • what you have been doing recently (a /now page)
  • a list of useful links on anything - your bookmarks, guides on a specific topic, your favorite websites or web media - for anyone to view
  • media recommendations, reviews, or simply a blog of your first watch/playthrough of something
  • moodboards, playlists, collections of things that give you a specific vibe
  • are you an artist that does commissions? a website is a great place to put a commission sheet, price ranges, examples, etc.
  • you can try using a static website to imitate more complex applications, like wikis. i suggest a static site generator for this!
  • create a "shrine", a website for one specific topic or hobby or interest, often with a layout themed after the topic
  • guides and resources

first of all, when you're starting off, working with pure HTML can be kinda easy, but it's a bit tedious. i moved to a static site generator early on, which made webpages way faster and easier to update, but it required a bit of setup that may be confusing if you're just learning HTML on top of that. this website would not have updated for more than two months after i made it if not for SSGs, though!

uhhhhh i thought i had more to say here. remember that static websites are generally way easier to archive. you know how growing up you might've heard "anything on the internet is there forever", and then you went that's not true, i know tons of things on the internet that will never be found ever again?

static websites DO get crawled by bots all the time for the record and they get archived by people and bots that auto-archive things. you don't have the protection of "i need an account to see this, so web archive doesn't ever see it". i get tempted to vent here sometimes and i know that is the devil talking.

i am far too tired after writing all this to link to comprehensive resources on making a website, so again i will recommend sadgrl's webmastery links and the 11ty static site generator. i have an eleventy setup guide on this site somewhere, but one of my friends also has one: Making your first wedsite with Eleventy!

while writing this page, here are some links that i found interesting:

and as always, but more relevant to this page than others: check out the websites in the button wall at the top of the page! they have all sorts of pages that may give you ideas for your own site.

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