Why I'm rebuilding my website

Written on December 7, 2015

Switching the url for my personal site was honestly a bit weird at first. It’s kind of like switching over from sneakers to a pair of Birkenstocks. For those who have never owned a pair of Birkenstocks or know what they are, they are a footwear brand from Germany. Birkenstocks are usually made with a cork material with rubber soles and leather. They have really good arch support and supposedly has good benefits for those who have feet problem. Oh yeah and they’re pretty ugly.

They feel funny and unfamiliar at first and for a long time you’re wondering if people are looking at you weird because they look weird. Which leads to feeling self-conscious and wondering if you should switch back to wearing sneakers; something you’re used to. But once you take a few weeks to wear them around and break them in, man oh man do they feel nice.

That’s kind of how my last few weeks have been with the new url — michaelsoolee.com. There were days where I wondered if I should go back to my old url — michaellee.co. Which is shorter and I’ve already been using it for a few years. But I decided to jump into the deep end and look forward. I updated all my social media profiles, got me a matching Gmail account and have changed my email signature.

Now a few weeks in and “walking around” the Internet with the new url, I’m enjoying it more and more.

As I’ve reflected on the url change, I wanted to reassess my site’s purpose. I’ve been mulling over this question these past few weeks, “Is my website serving the purpose for why it exists?”.

These are two things that I came up with for why my site exists:

  • To be a delightful medium to share things I’m learning
  • To build a brand

Let me expand on these two points.

To be a delightful medium to share things I’m learning

With the current state of my site, I’m able to continue to share the things I’m learning but I don’t think it is the best experience it could be for those who are consuming what I’m sharing. In the past I’ve made design changes to this site executed in usually a day without giving much thought to the experience for the end user.

I’m changing this. I enjoy writing but I also want the reading experience to be just as enjoyable. To solve this problem, (and I’m actually embarrassed to say this) I’m making design decisions that are intentional. In the past, I would whip together whatever cool idea I had at a moment’s notice but this time around I’ve fired up my design tool of choice, Sketch and I’m trying different font pairings, tweaking and thinking through layouts and removing clutter.

In being intentional with my design decisions, I’m hoping that the site will be a delight to read and learn from.

To build a brand

I’ve been writing on my site for 3 years now. Sharing about projects I’ve built, things I’ve learned to do with software or life lessons I’ve experienced. In doing so I’ve been able to leverage this site as a platform to get jobs, have meaningful conversations with other like minded folks and explore things I have interests in such as running a live webinar, selling a business or growing a community.

I’d like to continue to build on this. On top of sharing and teaching all the things I’m learning, I’ll be creating resources to help serve my audience. This may be in the form of books, digital files or applications.

Topics I’ll be covering in the redesign

Now that I’ve shared about why I’m making the changes to my site, here’s a few topics I plan on writing about during the redesign.

  • Site layout
  • Typography
  • Technology choices

If there are other topics you’d like me to explore feel free to shoot me an email and let me know.

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