Rebranding via my website, continued

The latter half of 2021 had been pretty intensive in regard to updates and improvements to my personal website.

As I stated before, my site is an important part of my own branding. We tend to promote ourselves mainly through social media, but nothing speaks more volume than having your very own domain online.

In a previous post, I introduced a new navigation menu bar design. That of course is nothing new, generally speaking, but it does add a whole new flair to my website – and hopefully will improve the experience for any visitor.

Here are two other elements that are new or enhanced. I redesigned the homepage so it’s much more compact and self-contained than the previous layout – which deliberately had the user constantly scrolling down the page, past several large paragraphs.

New homepage design for perrysun.com

Now, you can get all the info about me, “above the fold” when viewing on a desktop browser. Once the visitor has glanced over the content on the homepage, there is the opportunity to go the resume or portfolio to learn more – or visit my blog.

If you scroll just a bit down further, you’ll see a video I’ve created to introduce myself and welcome visitors to my site. I’ve made that available right here, for your enjoyment.

I’ve been wanting to create a personal intro video for years. It’s something I’ve always thought about but for whatever reason, never really sat down to make one.

Now I’m really glad I finally took that step and published a video about myself. I see it as a pretty important personal achievement.

I’m not particularly one who likes to self-brag, but I believe there is some value in projecting some sort of brand about yourself – communicating what you are, what you’re capable of, and your essential values.

Well, that’s a wrap… at least for now. Next, I’ll get into the my online portfolio, and later, updates and tweaks to my blog.

An intensive rebranding effort

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.

New navigation bar design for perrysun.com

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.

But that would have required some JavaScript, which actually isn’t very complicated to implement. In fact, there’s a straightforward tutorial at W3C Schools. I’ve decided to keep things fairly simple, at least for now.

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.

New navigation bar design for blog.perrysun.com

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!