It is always odd to me when you ask a designer if they have a personal website and they say “no” or “I used to but it’s old.” So back in 2010, I designed a website for myself. Partially because I didn’t want to be that designer who says they don’t have a website. Partially, because I had to make portfolio site for a class I was taking at my university. I produced a website that was good for the time. Fast forward four years later, and it is truly old and outdated. Here are the reasons why all designers should have their own website.
You challenge Yourself
So why not just use a theme? Photoshop templates are readily online. Take it a step further, and Bootstrap templates are available online. If time is an issue, then themes are fine. If you really want to learn new things, don’t rely on themes, you really have to do it yourself.
For my site, I set pretty high expectations. I wanted a filterable portfolio, Flickr feed, Instagram Feed, Twitter feed, fancy embellishments like Google Maps, and a blog! This meant I’d have to do a WordPress conversion when the design was done, adding another 2 months on to my time line. But I had this time to spare. I wasn’t in a rush.
If you really want to learn new things, don’t rely on themes, you really have to do it yourself.
You learn the latest web technologies
In order to thoroughly learn technologies like HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, and WordPress 4 (all of which I used for alexshaikh.com), you need to use them extensively. This was my way of “forcing” myself to learn.
It’s also a great way to learn new tools. I learned so much withSublime Text 3, Github for Mac, MAMP Pro, and CodeKit. I also found that dploy.io is an awesome way to make your site go live with an FTP client like FileZilla.
You gather design resources
I thoroughly explored websites like Wrapbootstrap and Themeforestand started cataloging all the great design sources I saw. For isntance, a theme might have awesome typogrpahy that I will use for a later project. I also got ideas from Dribbble and Behance.
I took note of the resources by copying their links into a notebook I created in OneNote (just a sidenote, I plan on creating a blog post in the near future on how I catalog design resources).
You’ll be ready for that next job
If you’re a designer looking for employment, a personal website is a must. But scrambling to build one after being laid off is no good. You should always be ready for anything life throws at you. Depending on the amount of time you have, you can just use a well designed theme. It doesn’t have to be as extensive as mine.
I hope I gave you some motivational reason why you should have your own site. I’m really proud of mine, and will be submitting it to Behance, OnePageLove.com,Awwwards.com, BuiltWithBootstrap.com, and trying to get a Dribble invitation on Draft.im.
It will be super assuring to be at a conference, or in a room with other designers and actively give out my web URL. What’s your motivation for creating your site? Let me know in the comments below.