How Should I Build My Site?

As I said in yesterday’s post, I am currently in the Discovery phase of redesigning and redeveloping my personal website. I am jotting down the features I’d like for my site to have, and making notes on what I believe the best ways to implement those features are. The one issue I keep coming back to is this:

How should I build my site?

Clearly, I’m not talking about whether I should develop it myself, or use some prebuilt theme (I’m totally not doing that right now, or anything), or using some third-party drag-and-drop editor like Wix or Weebly. I’m obviously going to be developing the site myself, from scratch. But what technologies should I use to do it?

Whenever I have talked about building out my new website, it was always sort of a given that I would build it out in WordPress, to be a custom theme, built from the ground up, with custom functionality, and plugins. And while this is still probably the best approach, at least from where I’m standing, I can’t help but wonder if I should be doing something different.

I recently worked with an agency called Organic, on some micro sites for Wells Fargo. Those sites heavily utilized the templating language Handlebars (similar to, and derived from Mustache). Working on those projects showed me a new system that I would have never considered previously. I also know people who have built their personal sites using React, or VueJS. Should I be using those instead?

What do I know?

The true is, when it comes to the prospect of building my own website, I’m definitely most comfortable with WordPress. I can throw a custom theme together like a champ, and I am pretty well versed in plugins like Advanced Custom Fields (ACF Pro), which make creating custom post types, with custom functionality a breeze. So while I would like to be able to strut around the office and proclaim “yeah, well I just built my personal site with React!”, what good would that do me, if the site looks like trash, and functions just as bad?

Stick with what you know…

When it comes to a large undertaking, such as building one’s own website, I think it’s best to stick with what you know. If you know React, then go on and build a bitchin React site. If you’re a pro at Vue, by all means, get on with your bad self. But as for me? I know WordPress; and I know it fairly well. So I think for now, instead of trying to overwhelm myself with a load of new technology – when really all I want is to get some fairly decent site live, before I’m dead – I’ll stick with WordPress. And who knows… Maybe in a year or two, when I’m better versed in newer technologies, I’ll want to build out a new version of the site, using something new.

It doesn’t mean I won’t still learn new technology, or that I won’t take on side projects that implement the latest and greatest things our industry has to offer. It just means that for now, for this fairly large project, which I’m taking great pride in, I want to stick with what I feel comfortable with, to provide the best end-result I’m able to, for your viewing pleasure, and my own peace of mind.

What are your thoughts? Should I scrap this WordPress nonsense, and using a newer technology instead? What would you suggest I use? Leave me a comment!

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