- Florian Bellmann
Why it can take longer than you think
We see it all the time in corporate projects. Estimations are off, things take longer than we thought, and stakeholders need to be told that the release is coming later than expected. Why should this be any different in private projects? As soon as we plan on doing something like a private website or starting a private project, our brains go into ideation mode. At least that's how it is for me. I can spend hours imagining what I want to do and how I will make it look amazing. How I am going to link it to this and that platform etc.
Because with content creation and projects we put ourselves out there, we leave the comfort zone. Whatever we will show, will be evaluated by others. Maybe even judged. This is appealing to the core desire to be liked. What do others think of us? Can I do that? What if they don't like it?
Of course, I think having a professional online presence is good and necessary. There is a tendency though to spend more time on this than necessary.
In addition to that, if we don't set boundaries, our work will be complicated to fill the available time. And in private projects, we usually don't do that.
We have to decide and prioritize. That hurts. We have to cut some things out that we intended to do and might even be super cool. We are finite beings though and need to approach these projects with a business perspective.
- What is necessary to get out there quickly? (Time to market)
- What should be the scope for version 1.0? 1.1? ...
Build that list and commit to it. Momentum will add up.
The approach for this blog
Granted, as a developer I have some advantages when it comes to building a website fast.
Static site generators
For building small portfolio sites and blogs I think static site generators are the best (as of September 2023). You might have heard of tools like Hugo, Jekyll or Gatsby. These don't give you a full-blown content management system but rely on generating web pages from simple text files. Like Markdown. With a little bit of technical affinity, you can get these to run in an hour.
I chose Next.js because it provides a kitchen sink of tools for running websites. It has good community support and lots of free templates available.
After I chose a template that I liked, I deployed my site on Vercel by linking my Github repository to their cloud service.
Minimal effort blogging
Now all it takes for me to create a new post is to write a markdown file in my website repository. When I am happy with the content, I commit my changes and push them. The Vercel deployment automatically triggers and a few minutes later I have the post online.
Again, this is just helping me to make things as easy as possible. In the end, I want to focus on the content and not on the technicalities.
Of course, I don't have a good domain yet and maybe some dead links on my website, but I will manage to improve all of these things along the way. I have a clear scope of my version 1.0 and a first set of posts I committed to, I work on the website along the way.
- Think about how you can build your momentum and build on it.
- Don't overthink your setup.
- Figure out your shortest way to get something running and pick your tools for it.