I've been trying to get this blog working correctly for a while now. I do not have extensive knowledge of web development, but I have really enjoyed making this website.
I've always liked personal web pages. As a kid I remember making web pages on Geocities and Homestead. There were some great examples of personal web pages on those sites. Even if the pages on those sites looked terrible, they were almost always charming. There was a lot more room for personal expression than there is on any modern social networking platform. What was lacking in polish was made up for in gravity. This gravity came from the process.
If I remember correctly, these sites had built-in graphical editors to make pages so I never had to mess with the HTML. It still felt like such an accomplishment to me. I wish I still had access to those web pages. The Geocities site may be floating around on one of the various Geocities archives that sprang up after the site's closing, but I haven't found them yet. Shortly after that I made a webcomic and hosted it on Keenspace. I remember needing to adjust some HTML manually to get the site to work the way I wanted it to. That one is still there!
After that period, I went many years without making or even thinking about making websites. My interest was rekindled after I read A Vernacular Web and Rich User Experience, UX and Desktopization of War by Olia Lialina. The first article is an inspiring look at the aesthetics and ethos of the early web. In the latter article she says the following:
I don’t agree that the web of the 1990’s can just be considered as a short period before we got real tools, an exercise in self-publishing before real self-representation. I’d like to believe that 15 years of not making web pages will be classified as a short period in the history of the WWW.
This prompted me to make a site at neocities.org, which was fun. I like the social aspect of the site, where you can view the creations of other people and comment on them. Then I decided to make this site to feature my artwork and function as a personal web page, too. I hand-coded this site (with help from tutorials at w3schools.com. The exception is this blog portion, which was created using Jekyll.
Creating your own website gives you a lot more control over what you are putting into the world. I think that people feel that the content they are putting out there is the most important thing, but that isn't true. The process is always the most important part. Process informs art more than anything else. That is why hand-crafted personal web pages will always feel special.