Options for Personal Site's Platform

In this post, I will list platforms that can be used to run a personal site. It is not a complete list, rather the one I used to select the platform this site.

I will start with simple ones and will proceed to more complex options. At the end, I’ll provide some advice on how to choose the platform that is right for you.

Portfolio Sites and Social Networks

Portfolio sites and social networks allow you to get everything up and running quickly. The process of adding new information is simple. Great social features help you to reach and communicate with your audience. You don’t pay for hosting as the platform provides all the infrastructure.

The drawback is that you’re stuck to features provided by a platform with no possibilities to customize or extend it.

You can use social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn to represent yourself. Portfolio sites such as Behance, or Dribbble can be used to highlight projects you’ve been working on.

Blogging Platforms

Blogging platforms provide a great experience for running a personal blog. A simple interface allows creating posts without any technical knowledge. To some extent, they supply you with social features making it easier for your audience to find your site. Blogging platforms take care of hosting and maintenance, so you don’t need to spend your time and money on that.

The drawback of blogging platforms is a lack of flexibility. You can modify layouts and specify some HTML bits, but adding JavaScript is restricted for most blogging platforms. They cover blogging features well, but additional components can be hard or impossible to add. For example, an image gallery, a list of documents, or a contact form.

You might want to look at WordPress.com and Medium as examples of great blogging platforms.

Site Builders

You can think of site builders as blogging platforms on steroids. You can choose from one of available site templates and fill it with your information. The list of features, layouts, and components are larger comparing to blogging platforms. For a monthly fee, the platform takes care of hosting and maintenance.

The drawbacks of site builders are similar to drawbacks of blogging platforms—they are flexible, but to an extent. Extending the site beyond possibilities provided by a site template can be complex. And keep in mind monthly fee to run your site.

WordPress.com, Squarespace, Wix.com, and Tilda are all viable options. This is a growing market and new site builders become available regularly.

Static Site Generators

Static site generators are a more advanced option comparing to previous ones. A static site generator produces a set of static files that can be then hosted externally. The main advantage is a high level of flexibility. You control the whole process of the site generation and can change anything you want.

The cost of high flexibility is that you need to take care of everything. You need to know HTML coding to build your site, you need to select hosting, and it requires additional efforts to configure a local environment for a site generator.

There is a great number of various static site generators to choose from.

CMS or Custom Development

The option with a dedicated content management system (CMS) or a custom developed solution may be feasible if you’ve got some specific requirements not covered by other options. The advantage would be a full control over your environment with any customization possible.

The drawbacks are the complexity, maintenance, and additional expenses for hosting your site and additional components.

Which One to Choose?

I would recommend looking at blogging platforms and site builders as the starting point. They provide a good compromise between functionality and complexity.

If it’s too much of a hassle for you, take a look at portfolio sites and social networks.

If you need a high level of flexibility and control over your site, try static site generator or a dedicated CMS.

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