I’ve maintained some form of personal “dot com” site for the last fifteen years or so. The desire makes sense. My professional work involves tons of research, reading and learning but it’s confined to one primary web technology (SharePoint) and its supporting cast (JS, InfoPath, XSLT, CSS/HTML, etc.) Having a place outside of work to play and experiment on my terms is important.
The problem is, I never know what to do with these sites.
- What types of content am I sharing?
- Who is the audience?
- What do I talk about, anyway?
Other than the time Lauren and I moved across the country and this site morphed into a work portfolio, none of its iterations crystallized into much.
Without a singular focus, I tend to fixate on the platform instead of the content. Unfinished articles and pages pile up. Eventually I grow restless and tear the whole thing down, taking pleasure in rebuilding and avoiding those thorny questions about purpose.
I decided the other night to purchase a new domain, an idea that had been simmering for months. I started with the question:
“What are your passions and interests?”
Excluding things like relationships, family, and friends, my list looks something like:
- Travel and Adventure
- Computers and Technology
- Food and Drink
As you can see, I ended up with categories, not topics. How can I tease out some specifics? I looked for places within those categories where I had:
- Something to say (opinions, advice, news)
- Something to share (resources, knowledge, content)?
That gave me four ideas which actually look like viable concepts for a new site:
- Digital Landscape Photography
- Expedition Canoeing
- Grand Canyon and Little Colorado Gorge Hiking
- Testing the Limits of Personal Sanity with Microsoft SharePoint: Developer Edition
The choice was clear. I don’t canoe much anymore and there’s already plenty of photo expertise around. That’s why I grabbed canyon.guide, a place where I hope to catalog facts, photos and information about the Little Colorado Gorge. There’s no content there yet but the domain registration and namespace config is all done. Now that I have a place to talk about something I expect that it will grow quickly.
I am keeping this website, too. No timetable yet for providing some clarity for its purpose.
I was not joking about the fourth bullet, either. A SharePoint site was runner-up.