FAQ for creating a personal website

This page answers some frequently asked questions people have when creating a personal website. This page is work in progress.

How do I create a personal website?

Creating a personal website is a very simple task, which can be slightly intimidating because of the vast array of options available. A willingness to invest some time in learning and experimentation will help a lot here.

Basically, you will need a content management system to create and manage the content you will be posting on your website, and you will need a web hosting service to serve that content to visitors. You can go with a blogging service which integrates a content management system and the hosting service, or you can get more flexibility by getting the pieces separately.

There are a couple of gotchas to avoid. First, don't overspend on your personal website. The goal should be to do the website as cheaply as possible. A no compromise personal website can be published for a dollar a month. Second, avoid vendor lock-in; try to ensure that you can easily move your website without hassle to any web hosting provider of your liking.

If you are confused by all this, send me an email. I can help you figure out what options will work best for you. My email address is on the About page. Don't be shy about contacting me, I love to receive email from visitors.

What distingushes a personal website from other websites?

A personal website is a non-commercial website managed by a single individual. The typical motive in creating such a site is to share interesting information and ideas. The personal in personal website should not be taken to mean personal information. Making information such as family pictures, dates of birth, etc. can be very dangerous.

Why should I create a personal website? Isn't it a waste of effort?

A personal website accumulates information about a person's marketable skills. This information is used by individuals and employers to make decisions, and will be increasingly important in the future. I have detailed some other reasons in the article Why Personal Websites Matter.

What content should I put on the site?

Your goal should be to provide information that would be useful to the visitors. Tutorials and informative articles are much appreciated. Anything you write for an external site should also be posted on your website. Personal pictures and the like maybe important to you but are unlikely to attract many visitors.

Can I make money off the website?

Most likely you won't be able to directly make any money off your website. However, if you have any marketable skills you can publicize them on your website. If you have interesting content people will be inclined to give preference to you over other individuals.

Won't spammers abuse any contact information I put on the site?

You should not put your primary email address as contact information on your website. Create a new email address as contact information, and replace it if it starts receiving too much spam.

Should I have my own domain name?

I strongly recommend getting a domain name. A domain name will allow you to change your web host provider without breaking any external links to your site. Domain names are cheap and can be purchased for as little as $10 a year.

by Usman Latif  [Nov 11, 2003]