Adventures in personal branding: a new website

Using Dreamweaver is like riding a bike: You never really forget how to work it. Unless you drive yourself crazy trying to figure out how to move a div with a Flash presentation in it.

I had plenty of Dreamweaver experiences in J School, but it wasn’t until I had Adobe CS5 for my very own (OK, I got it back in December) and some free time that I decided to finally sit down and make my own personal site. I believe a unique website is something any serious journalist should have, no matter what they do: reporting, editing, photography or design.

I’ve had the WordPress set-up for almost two years. It was meant to be a stop-gap solution until I had long-term access to Adobe again. Essays and schoolwork kept me from doing anything this past spring, but now I have some flexibility. My goal is to transfer my photos, clips and CV to the new site and maintain my WordPress page as a stripped-down, blog-only site.

If you’ve never sat down and built your own website from scratch, I recommend it. It builds character, especially if you’re like me — knowledgeable about the basics of coding but not into anything fancy. It’s kind of fun, picking out colors and typefaces and seeing it come together when you test it in your browser.

One major point that I’m trying to keep in mind is SEO. Namely, I’m making sure that important points are done in searchable text, not just graphics. My navigation so far is graphic-heavy (namely, funky buttons), but I plan to make my CV and portfolio pages as textual as possible. If you’re thinking about making your own site, make sure that your content will show up in search engines.

The work has also given me the chance to reacquaint myself with an old nemesis: Flash. I don’t particularly care for it, but I needed its sweet, sweet slideshow utility. Three hours later I had what I wanted. It looks pretty good. I still don’t like Flash.

So my work continues, and I’m hopeful that within a few weeks I’ll have something that I’m comfortable taking live.

Just please don’t look at the code. I tend to overcompensate with code detail and I prefer my CSS to be listed with everything else, even though it’d be far more logical to just attach a separate stylesheet. I like being able to see everything.

So please, if and when my page goes up, ignore my granny pants.