I’ll tackle my phases, as one could loosely call them, below.
1. The urge to “just go back.”
This is me almost every week.
“Just go back, Ru!”
I recognize that this feeling comes from not understanding WordPress theming at all, and feeling limited only by my knowledge, not my imagination.
Yet, every time I open up my Eleventy codebase, I want to puke (figuratively). Having gained distance and perspective from the codebase, it now looks less like a personal website and more like software. Even if a lot of it is well-engineered, it feels overblown for what it is supposed to do.
Here, when I say ‘software’, I want to evoke an image of a complex machine with lots of moving but interlinked parts, whereas when I say a ‘personal website’, I want to evoke an image of some relatively simple HTML pages glued together.
Totally get why some folks roll with a super basic/minimal personal site.Mastodon, May 25, 2021, 12:20
I’m not a big fan of software when I’m not being paid to write and maintain it. More focussed sites are great for JAMStack. I feel like let’s-do-everything on JAMStack can be quite complex for one person to maintain in her free time. Take it from me – I know!
2. Trying to embrace WordPress theming.
This hasn’t gone so well. I always knew I was trading my personality and my expressiveness for a bog-standard site. That trade-off felt extremely liberating after the mess I was walking out of.
In the last three months, I have moved from the official Twenty Twenty theme to the (once again) official Twenty Twenty One theme to a GeneratePress theme now. While the free version feels very limited, its premium version does the trick for which Kev Quirk very generously gifted me a license key. 🙂
Each theme felt right at the time, but not-right after a month or so. I hope to stick with the newest one now. It’s very clean, very fast, and sufficiently customizable for me to still be able to express a bit of me, if not as much as I’d like. I’m trying not to think about this too much. Most of my readers do so on their RSS readers, anyway.
I am, as you read this, going through a journey of…
- Why do I want a breath-taking website?
- Does this exercise help me achieve my larger goals, especially once I zoom out?
- Is it worth my energy to maintain a site like that, on a day-to-day scale?
And they’re all great questions, even I say so myself. 😂
The more I think about them, the more I realize that WordPress is fine. It’s a compromise, but it’s fine.
It offers a workflow that lets me write and publish easily, and therefore, frequently; reduces my overall cognitive load, so I can focus elsewhere — side-projects and upskilling and resting and my life goals and a world outside of tech, even.
3. One of many wild ideas, and a treacherous split.
The third and last phase is me wanting to use WordPress strictly as the blog, and migrate all my other pages on to a static site… where it’s game on: my imagination runs free, and I design whatever the heck I want. Almost.
This requires effort in terms of preserving links, making sure they work correctly. Who has the time and energy for that? Not me. The split has split the room on this one!
Anyway, in this limbo, I get tired from even mentally imagining the transition and ultimately decide things are OK the way they are. Maybe someday, but today is not that day. Maybe not at all.
Side note: IndieWeb.
I definitely miss Webmentions and the various types of posts, and having that amazing feeling of watching your personal site come alive and be a part of something bigger… That empowering feeling of knowing you are the owner of your own social interactions online.
Yet, I think it will be awhile before and if at all I choose to return. The community is great, I just don’t have the headspace for the way it all works together at the moment.
All in all, I think I’m happy enough with WordPress. Perfect doesn’t exist!