When you’re busy learning how to code and perfecting your craft, you can often forget about all the small projects and interesting software or web development you’ve done over the past while. There’s a common understanding that the developer’s personal website is often the most neglected project, but we think it’s important that you change that. Investing time and skill into your personal website will improve your credibility and even your chances of getting hired. We know it can seem like such a hassle to build your personal site when you have so many other projects on-the-go, so Hover is here to present you with a plan for getting your personal website up and running now.
When you think of your ideal personal website, what is it that you want this website to accomplish? Think of the overall goals of what you’re building and who your target audience is. Some examples are: Do you want to attract potential clients and have them contact you through the website? Do you want to share your expertise and build your thought leadership brand? Do you want to attract potential employers to your resume? Do you want other developers to see your portfolio? How much information do you need to share on your website to obtain your goals?
Based on who you decide your target market is and the goals that you want to accomplish with your website are, you can start building a plan for what will be on it. Make sure you include any recent projects you’ve worked on and that you show your stack through these projects. If you claim to be an expert at VueJS but have no proof that you can use it, whip up a quick user interface project using it to show your skills. Another thing to consider is how well this website is showing off who you are. You’re much more than just your coding skills - what’s your personality like? Try to convey that through imagery, colour use, font types - any design elements that highlight who you are as a person.
Once you’ve determined your plans and goals for the website, draw out how you want the website to look and behave. It can be tempting as a developer to dive right into coding, but it sincerely helps move the process along quicker if you have it drawn out. It also ensures you don’t miss any pieces along the way and that you never forget what the original goal of the website is as you’re creating it. You don’t need to be a talented artist to make some general outlines, title indications, and button shapes. Go the classic pen and paper route and draw everything out! If you think of content or copy (such as titles or small snippets of writing), include them in your drawing so you won’t forget them later.
Now you are ready to move forward with actually coding your website. Now is not the time to rely on a Bootstrap template or website builder for the sake of speed. Use the frameworks or languages you love working with the most and show off your unique skills and capabilities through how you build your website. It may take a bit longer but it’s well worth it. Your website can act as another piece of your portfolio, too.
Choosing a domain name often carries a lot of weight. For a personal or portfolio website, using your name is a memorable choice (and easy to share on social media, job applications, and more), but sometimes your name is popular and is already in-use as a domain name. We often refer developers to the .DEV domain name for their portfolio websites. The .DEV extension has the added benefit of telling the person who is about to land on your website that you’re a developer. This incredibly popular extension was released early 2019. Other popular options can be location-based domain extensions, such as the .UK domain, if you live in the UK. There were originally restrictions on the .UK domain as it was reserved for anyone who already owned a .CO.UK or similar domains, but is now open for public registration. Either of these make an exciting and fresh choice for a domain name!
Now it’s time to find a hosting provider that works best for your needs and go live! Make sure you send your website to friends and family to test their user experience so you can iterate as necessary. As you well know, development is never really complete. There are always aspects to improve, add to, or areas of your portfolio you’ll want to remove as trends change and your stack evolves. Keep putting your new work out there.
We hope these steps for putting out your personal or portfolio developer website are useful and that you feel you can apply them right away. It’s not easy to learn new languages and build new tools that the Internet needs, but your work is much appreciated. Put that awesome work on a personal website to get those new clients, employers, and more. Happy coding!
Get weekly updates to your email