Hi All! 🤗
Let’s talk about one of the first things to consider when setting up your personal website: the name, or to be more specific, the domain name. Picking a domain name is something people often struggle with, because it comes with a few questions: What is a “good” domain name for your site? Should you use your real name or a nickname or pseudonym? Does it make sense to include your profession or relevant keywords in the URL? Or should you even get creative and invent a unique or funny name?
That’s a lot of things to consider. So I asked the people of Mastodon: what is your website’s URL and why did you pick it? And are you happy with it or would you choose a different domain name today? And (almost) half of Mastodon replied! Reading through the answers is really interesting if you want to get an idea of which domain names people chose and why.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that many opt for some combination of first and/or last name. Although a few people also called this a “boring” option, it is definitely a safe bet, especially if you are using your personal site professionally in some form. But a lot of folks are also very happy with using a nickname or alias.
When it comes to the domain extension or top-level domain (TLD), there is something to be said for choosing a .com domain. It is obviously still considered the most “serious” option and by far the most popular. But again, a lot of you are also very happy with a TLD like .blog, .net, .dev, .codes, .me, and so on. Some people even started using a whole multiverse of different TLDs (or subdomains) for different flavors of content.
In the end, which domain you choose really comes down to personal preference and, of course, finding one that is still available. You can have a wildly successful blog with a weird name that stands out (see: waitbutwhy.com) or go for a “boring” domain with your name in it (see: seths.blog). You can even put a hyphen in your domain and later sell your blog to a company (see: css-tricks.com). People will visit your site for what you publish on it, not because you have the most sophisticated URL on the internet.
If you can find a name that has some longevity to it or that will even survive a career change, great! If you can find a short and memorable name that is maybe even easy to spell or say out loud on the phone, fantastic! Bonus points if the domain name is also available as a social media handle on all the platforms™. And if you find a name that perfectly matches the topic or content of your site, wonderful! But if your domain doesn’t check any of those boxes, so what? It’s still yours. And thanks to redirects, you can always change your mind later.
The only truly important thing is that while first impressions matter and words have power, picking a domain name shouldn’t ever hold you back from getting started with your site today.
If you have a personal site, feel free to quickly hit reply and tell me the domain name. It would also be interesting to hear why you chose it and if you’re happy with it.
Here’s another mixed bag of links. Please let me know how you like them! And if you can think of someone who would enjoy reading this newsletter today, feel free to forward along.
Manuel Moreale has started a weekly blog post series – and newsletter – called “People and Blogs” where he asks people to talk about themselves and their blogs. A fantastic opportunity to learn about other people’s motivation, tech stack, writing process, and much more. And, of course, to add a few more interesting blogs to your collection of RSS feeds.
Jim Nielsen is one of the people Manuel interviewed recently. In this post, Jim expands on the question whether he would do anything differently, if he were about to start a blog today. The answer: not really, at least not to save himself from any pain he hasn’t yet experienced. Because, as Jim writes,
“the best feeling is saving yourself from the pain you know. What my blog is now is a result of me wrestling with what it even means to blog.”
“The idea is that you, the poster, should post on a website that you own. Not an app that can go away and take all your posts with it, not a platform with ever-shifting rules and algorithms. Your website.”
The post also mentions a few of the challenges of cross-posting and quotes Matt Mullenweg with a promising idea: instead of trying to automate everything, the user interface for POSSE could include a second publishing step of customizing your content for each network. I like that idea!
Michelle Barker recently wrote an invaluable article for mdn about the most urgent challenge we are facing today: climate change and, consequently, how the web industry can become more sustainable. The time to act is now and it is our responsibility to do as much as we can to reduce the environmental impact of our actions and build a more sustainable web. Michelle provides several actionable and impactful steps you can take today to optimize your personal website and any other projects you are working on.
Max Böck is a front-end developer and co-founder of the software studio Codista from Vienna. One of the highlights of his extremely well-made personal site is without a doubt the color theme switcher at the top, which lets you change the colors, typography, and layout of the site. But while you might come for the theme switcher, you will stay for the many fantastic blog articles about the IndieWeb, CSS Container Queries in Web Components, Eleventy, Space Jam, or The Return of the 90s Web. His site, which runs on Eleventy, features a blogroll that is worth scrolling down to the bottom and has a great Webmention implementation. Max also started a few wonderful side projects that might help you get started with your own site, like the Eleventy starter kit Eleventastic , a Webring Starter Kit, or The Whimsical Web, a curated list of websites with an extra bit of fun. 🎉
And that’s it for today. How did you like this issue? Which one of the links was your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Do you have any other suggestions on how to improve this newsletter? Just hit reply and let me know.
Have a wonderful weekend! ☀️