For whatever reason, I’ve decided to devote the months of July and August each year to working on my personal website.
In previous years, it’s mainly been simple to moderate design tweaks, and refactoring code – which basically means cleaning it up to make it better organized and easier to maintain.
I’ll also review the content throughout the site and make any appropriate updates, especially with my CV / resumé, as things evolve with my work experience and professional capabilities.
But for 2021, it was a more dramatic revamping for several parts of my site. It’s been a combination of many efforts stretching well past the summer and into November. In fact, this was the most extensive effort on my site since I first created it in 2017.
And I still have more changes planned for 2022.
Personal branding matters
For quite a long time, I’ve been a big believer in establishing your own personal brand. Having your own identity can pay valuable dividends down the line in promoting yourself as a contractor or freelancer, seeking new career opportunities, or simply just making connections with like-minded or complementary professionals.
While people generally brand themselves through social media – like LinkedIn for working professionals – the ability to distinguish yourself on social is now greatly diluted as everyone is doing the same thing nowadays. But how many people can actually say they have their very own presence on the web?
When you have your own website, it’s 100% yours, under your total control. You can do anything you want with it, create whatever content you want, and host anything you feel like.
New design element: navigation bar
One of the primary elements of my redesigned site is a new navigation bar which now appears at the top of every page.
Prior to this, the top of each page was barren, with just a lonely logo at the upper left to take you back to the homepage.
I created the navigation bar so that a visitor can easily go to any of the main parts of the site, which are the resumé, portfolio, and blog. I generally expect any visitor to my site will not spend much time, basically jumping around to quickly check out things.
The hope is that a navigation menu will hopefully make it more engaging, and perhaps even pique a bit of curiosity.
The navigation bar is stationary. That is, it remains fixed as you scroll down a page. I could have added more flair by having the bar animate and shrink as you first scroll down from the top, and do the reverse by animating and expanding as you scroll back up to the top of the page.
I have my blog styled distinctly from the rest of the site, with a white rather than colored background to ensure comfortable reading. The navigation bar on the blog is of the same general design, but with the colors reversed.
I’ve also added an “About” menu item, since most people first discover my site through my blog, so that would take them right to the homepage where they can learn more about me.
More new design elements
The navigation bar is just one of several other tweaks I’ve added or updated in 2021. In subsequent posts I’ll take you through them. Thanks for reading!