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Personal Website! But How?

Updated: Nov 16, 2021



In today's world, almost everything in our lives has been transferred to the Internet. Not only businesses but also real people are taking place in this universe. The structure consisting of Internet pages where real people introduce themselves and share various posts about their interests is called a Personal Website. Just like this site you are on right now...


In this article, in addition to semantic topics such as the importance and content; I will also try to address technical concepts such as hosting, development, sustainability and costs of a Personal Website.


Importance of a Pesonal Website

Personal Web Site, in its simplest definition, is your digital expression on the Internet. Although it is difficult for the new generation to comprehend, Personal Web Sites had great importance in the period when social media did not exist yet but the Internet began to enter our daily lives (we can say in the late 1990s, early 2000s). Because they were the only medium where you could freely express yourself on the Internet.


I was also a part of this trend in 1999 (at the age of 13) when I published my first Personal Website

Today, this role is mostly taken on by easy-to-use Social Media platforms that are customized for different types of shares. For example, you can share your photos on Instagram, moments of your life on Facebook, your favorite music on Spotify, and your professional content on LinkedIn. In this respect, we can say that Personal Websites have lost their former importance.


On the other hand, we cannot deny that a personal domain with a .com, .net etc. extension stands out professionally and has a distinct appeal. From this point, Personal Websites still have great importance for those who want to create an individual brand, produce platform-free content or freely introduce themselves to the world.


Contents of a Personal Website

Nowadays, Personal Websites mostly stand out for Self-Marketing. In this regard, we expect to find the following pages in the content of a Personal Website.


Introductory Personal Information

Any information that a person uses to define himself/herself is the scope of this class. Content such as his birth, family, likes and dislikes should be included in this page.


Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The details of the person's professional background may be shared. Information such as the companies he/she worked for, the dates and the duties he/she carried out should be included.


Personal Works

Works of the person finds worth sharing and that will highlight him/her should be presented in this page. From this point of view, visitors will be able to evaluate the experience and competencies of him/her.


Contact Information

Information to direct visitors who want to get in touch with the person should be presented here. It would be appropriate to share details such as Phone, E-mail, Address and Social Media Accounts.


Blog

In addition to the above elements, Personal Websites frequently include pages where the person shares any content in line with his/her interests. For these pages, the term "Blog" (a shortened version of “Weblog”) which can be described as "Internet Journal" is used.


"Blogs" in Personal Webstes are important in terms of bringing together users who are looking for information on the Internet with a real person. In this way, people increase their Personal Website traffic by attracting visitors from the search engine channel.

Website Terms and Definitions

After we get the concept of Personal Website, let's talk about some of the technical terms you'll hear frequently while researching in this field.


Page

We call every content on the Website that can be expressed with a different address as a Page.


Web Site

We define the holistic structure consisting of interrelated Pages as a Website.


Browser

We call the software that allows us to view Websites as Browsers. Software such as Google Chrome, Mircosoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari that you are currently viewing this site are as examples of Browsers.


Domain

In its simplest form, the address we type in the bar of the Browser is callad a Domain. For example, www.turkerturken.net is the Domain of this Website.


Hosting

We call Hosting as the services that store all kinds of digital information (Codes, Contents, Files, etc.) related with the website and make this information accessible on the Internet.


After these definitions, let's start to relate the concepts to each other. To keep it in mind, let's make an analogy:


Browser is our phone, Domain is our phone number, Hosting is our home. Those who want to contact us can reach our house by dialing our number on their phones. It looks easy, doesn't it?


We can simply express the terms I've explained above in this way.

Now let's build the details on this analogy:


We get our phone number from an operator such as AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone. There are companies that provide services in this field for Domain and Hosting. We can give GoDaddy, domain.com, Host Gator, Blue Host as examples. Just like with Phone numbers, we can buy an available number from the provider we want with a plan, and if we don't like the service offered by the provider, we can port the same number to another provider. Similar to the monthly bills we pay for phone service, we make annual payments for Domain and Hosting.


On the Internet, we can become the Owner or Tenant of the House, similar to real life. Since our main topic is Personal Websites, I leave the concept of Being a Web Host and move on to Rental.


For a house, we can talk about details such as the size of the house, the number of rooms and the transportation network nearby. Similarly, Hosting services that we associated with Rental, also have some features.

Hosting Type

Hosting services are divided into different types at the first level. Although this distinction is not a detail that will make a difference for Personal level Web Sites, I would like to mention it in order to draw the outline.


Shared Hosting

Hosting many Web Sites on the same shared server is called Shared Hosting. It would be fair to say that Shared Hosting is the most cost-effective and widely used type. We can liken this type to renting an apartment.


VPS - Virtual Private Server Hosting

Hosting the Website on a Virtual Server independent from other Websites is called VPS Hosting. It is generally preferred by those who want to have high control over the server hosting the Web Site. We can compare this type to renting a seperate house within the site.


Dedicated Hosting

Hosting the Website on a completely independent physical machine specific to the customer is called Dedicated Hosting. It is preferred by corporations and those who want absolute control over the server. We can compare this type to renting a seperate house built on its own land.


Cloud Hosting

Hosting the Website on different servers configured in the Cloud is called Cloud Hosting. Its popularity is rapidly increasing thanks to its flexibility, reliability and accessibility advantages. We can liken this type to renting a hotel room at any convenient location at any time.


Reseller Hosting

Reseller Hosting, which is a business model rather than a Hosting type; offers individuals the opportunity to sell their Hosting service. As you can imagine, we can compare this to real estate.


After mentioning the types, let's move on to other details that will come up when reviewing Hosting services.


Operating System

The next big distinction that we will encounter will be the operating system of the servers that will provide hosting services. An operating system is a set of software that runs on the server, manages hardware resources, and provides services for various applications. Windows Family and Linux-based operating systems will form the options in this area. Our preference for Personal Website (unless we have a particular reason to choose Windows) will be a Linux based operating system. In this respect, we can assume that a Hosting package without operating system details is Linux-based.


Number of Sites / Addon Domains

This feature refers to how many different Domains we can connect the content under the auspices of a Hosting service. So, for this detail, we can say "How many different phone numbers can that house have". If we are talking about a single Personal Website, then 1 will suffice for us. If you are a few people who don't mind living in the same house, and you want to split the cost, you can also choose a single Hosting package that allows multiple Domains to make roommates. Let's also note that some Hosting packages include free Domain for the first year.


Allowed Traffic / Bandwidth

Our visitors will gain access to our Website under Hosting service. Each access means a data-exchange and this concept is expressed as Traffic/Bandwidth. Some Hosting plans restrict the amount of monthly traffic, and terminate the access to your site when the defined data amount is exceeded. You can think of it as the Minutes assigned to your Phone number. The only difference is that it is spent when you are called. Traffic for Personal Websites will generally be low. However, for the right choice, it will be necessary to consider the target audience and the amount of content on the Website.


Disk Space / Storage

All kinds of pages, codes, documents, images, etc. that presents your Website will have a space. Hosting services also offer a variety of storage plans where you can host this content. You can think of it as the size of the house. If you don't need it, you can choose a cheaper tiny house instead of a huge house. The space needed for a typical single Personal Website will be in Gigabyte-level. In this respect, there is no need to bear the cost of a Terabyte-level plan.


A widget in the management module of the Hosting service I'm using that displays basic statistics of my plan.

Uptime

We can define the term Uptime as the percentage of the time the Website is accessible over the Internet. Uptime, which was very important in Hosting plans, has become negligible with new technologies. Today, Hosting providers offer an Uptime guarantee of over 99% (99.9%, 99.99% or even 100%) and these are more than sufficient for Personal Websites.


Database

Database is an organized collection of structured information or data stored digitally in a computer system. We will need a database to host the contents of the Personal Website. The database service is included by default in almost all Hosting plans. We can assume that there will be Microsoft SQL (MSSQL) on servers using Windows operating system, and MySQL database infrastructure on Linux ones. The only critical detail here is the Database count. If you are planning to Host multiple sites, you should also consider the count of Databases offered in the plan.


E-Mail Hosting

To use a special e-mail address with our domain extension, we need to have E-Mail Hosting service. Most Hosting providers offer this service on demand, which is obviously independent from the core Hosting functionality. Therefore, if we want to use a unique e-mail address such as bilgi@turkerturken.com , we need to get this service as well. Let's not forget that this detail will have additional cost if it is not included in the Hosting plan we have chosen.


Website Builder / Content Management System

With some Hosting plans, specialized software to build a Website can be offered. The relatively simple ones are called Website Builder, and the more complex/advanced ones are called CMS (Content Management System). These software, which can be used on the browser, are widely used in Personal Web Sites, as they meet general needs and can be used without coding.


As well as hosting services that include Website Builder, you can often come across services that offer Website Builder software as the main product and Domain / Hosting as sub-components. Likewise, completely independent CMSs that can be installed on any Hosting are also among the options.

We may update our diagram according to these details

Construction and Sustainability of Personal Website

After sharing the technical details, let's come to the construction of the Personal Website. If you are planning to code the software that will create your Personal Web Site entirely by yourself, you already have a good grasp of all the topics I have shared here. Therefore, I want to leave this possibility aside and focus on the Website Builder / CMS option.


The structures we call Website Builder are software that are mostly developed specifically for the hosting company and automatically connects to the resources of the relevant service. So if you work with this type of service provider, you will be doing your development with the corresponding Website Builder software.


We can cite Wix and GoDaddy as leading service providers in this field. These two service providers both provide Domain rental and Website Builder software services. With a plan from these providers, you can quickly build a Personal Website without getting bogged down in the technical details associated with the Hosting we mentioned above.


A view from Wix Website Builder

CMS structures, on the other hand, are software developed independently of the companies providing Hosting/Domain services and can be installed on suitable Hosting environments. If you decide to move forward with this type of software, you should make sure that the Hosting service you choose is suitable for the installation of this CMS software.


We can give Wordpress and Joomla as examples of leading software in the field of CMS. Both of these software have been developed with PHP programming language as open source code and use MySQL database. The flexible structures of CMSs have enabled them to increase their popularity and reach the masses. In fact, as of October 2021, approximately 43% of all websites on the Internet (65% of those using CMS) were built with Wordpress.


A view from Wordpress CMS admin panel

As such, hosting companies started to offer installation shortcuts to users in order to easily host the relevant CMS software.


Wordpress and Joomla installation scripts offered by the Hosting service I use

Apart from the cores of CMS or Website Builder structures, we can mention two basic elements that enable us to customize them according to our needs. These are Themes/Templates and Add-ons/Plugins/Extensions.


Templates are designs that present the website content to the end-users. Thanks to the templates, we can obtain sites that look different without changing the software and content infrastructure. The templates we can use for Website Builder structures will be limited to what the relevant company offers us. However, if our structure is CMS, we can step into the world of templates developed by 3rd parties. In addition to the communities providing services in this field, we can give examples of Envato Market (Formerly CodeCanyon) and Template Monster.


Plugins are pieces of software that allow us to add features to our Website other than the main functions offered by Website Builder / CMS. For example, a photo gallery, social media content viewer, visitor analytics tool, fillable forms, etc. Similar to templates, there are channels that offer services for Add-ons. While these channels are under the auspices of the relevant company for Website Builder structures (such as Wix App Market), they are very diverse for CMS structures. In addition to Wordpress and Joomla communities' own plugin channels, Envato Market (Formerly CodeCanyon) and Template Monster also stand out in this area. In addition to these, many qualified plug-ins offer their software on their own Website. We can find dozens of examples such as WP Bakery, Elementor, Divi, DJ-Extensions, Elf Sight.


Elementor is a Wordpress CMS plugin where you can design your pages with drag-and-drop tools.

Whether you use Website Builder or install your own CMS, the next step is the most important, "Creating Content". For this topic, Contents of a Personal Website will be a guide for you.


After completing the construction, the sustainability process awaits us. I would like to address sustainability for Personal Web Sites under two main headings as Technical and Content.

Technically, our site will need to be updated over time according to developing technologies and security vulnerabilities. If we used Website Builder, we can assume that the appropriate updates and patches will be automatically applied to our Site. Because we will not have a chance to interfere with these software, which is not open source and under the auspices of the provider. But if our site is built on a CMS infrastructure, then we have to deal with it. Because we need to regularly check the update of both the CMS core software and the add-ons, then take the necessary action. Because over time, vulnerabilities originating from the CMS core or various add-ons can be detected and these points are frequently targeted by cyber attackers.


In addition, we need to ensure the sustainability of our site in terms of content. It is important for us to process our time-changing personal information (such as where we work, the projects we carry out) and to ensure visitor activity by adding up-to-date content in order to preserve the vitality of the Personal Web Site.


Cost of a Personal Website

You may ask "Fine, but how much will it cost?" So let's talk about this. First of all, as you can guess from the details I shared above, there is no single answer to this question. Therefore, I will try to calculate the appropriate cost for a common scenario.


All estimated costs are given as of October 2021.

First we need to decide whether we want a custom Domain or not. In other words, we are talking about an address such as www.turkerturken.net. If our answer is "No, not for now" we can meet our need with free Website Services. These solutions will give you limited flexibility and capability, but will also allow you to take your first step on the Internet for free. Wordpress, Wix, Site123 and Weebly are the ones I can give as examples in this area.


Let's discuss the paid part... If we want a private Domain, we must first bear the cost of this Domain. We assume that the relevant Domain is available for use (not owned by anyone else). Because if we want to buy a Domain that belongs to someone else, we have no choice but to negotiate with him.


An unloccated .com Domain costs around $15 per year

We got our domain. Now it's time to find a house to snuggle in. Here we fall into a world of a wide variety of options. Let's choose a Hosting plan that can host a single Personal Website and install Wordpress CMS on it. We can choose GoDaddy's basic package. (1 Domain, Unlimited Traffic, 30GB Storage, 1 Database)


Hosting cost for a Personal Website suitable plan is around $25 per year

Let's add an e-mail service that use our domain. Now we can use this instead of @gmail.com.


Email address with our domain extension costs around $12 per year

First of all, we decide to purchase the Elementor Page Builder plugin so that we can easily design our Website. In this way, we will be able to customize what the Template we choose offers us with the drag-and-drop method.


Wordpress Elementor plugin costs $49 per year

Let's also buy a nice looking Template for our site. I chose BreezyCV from Envato Martket for you.

BreezyCV for Wordpress is suitable for all the pages we need on a personal website.

BreezyCV Template for Wordpress costs $29 one time payement

If we make small tweaks on the template and create all the content we will present ourselves, we do not have any other expenses. So let's sum up:


Domain : $15 per year Hosting : $25 per year CMS : Free Plugin : $49 per year * Template : $29 One Time * Total : $118 first year, $89 following years * If we exclude Plugin and Template and get the base price Total : $40 per year

Of course, this will vary depending on the service provider, plan and additional features you choose, but I think it will still give you a general idea.


I should note that no consultancy services are included in this estimate. If you ask someone else to run the process for you and build a Website using the relevant configuration, you must add the person's man/hour rate to this estimate.


So, What Now?

Now you have the general information you need for a Personal Website. However, this is only the beginning... Because there are many Websites to visit and many things to learn on the vast Internet. Now it's time to roll up and hit the road!


If you lose your way in this process, you can contact me through any of the channels on the Contact page.

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