Kevin Plattret

How I did my website in one day

One day. That's all it took me to put this website together. It's not a perfect piece of work; it certainly needs to be improved but here we are. It happened and today it's here for you to see. One day is a fair amount of time but the task can be tricky and take longer than we think in the first place. I'll try to explain here how I did this.

Late to the party

It's been quite a few years since I first started to play with code and build things on the internet. However I never had a personal website ‘properly speaking’. I had a blog as a teenager and I put a portfolio together at Uni but none of these two lasted very long or sparked much interest in me at the time.

Now building websites on a daily basis for a living, I have thought about doing my own one many times in the last couple of years. I had a few attempts at initial designs and found myself stuck because of being unable to make decisions on what I wanted it to look like - or unsure of what content to show in there. I am a perfectionist, and although this can be a perk, most of the time it's more of a burden. Or so I feel about it. As far as I'm concerned, perfectionism has stopped me from doing so many things I wanted to do in different domains. I'm trying to change this on a long term basis.

In other words, this site was meant to land on the web months ago, if not years. So now you might wonder how come it's finally up and running. Something happened that made me think a lot about this and the difficulty behind it as well.

Focus, execute and ship

A few months ago I bought a book that became one of the most inspiring I have ever read: Execute. The book was written by Drew Wilson and Josh Long in only eight days. It questions the standards of our work practices - or shall we call it work philosophy - and explains how traditional processes and the corporate environment are, more often than not, counter-productive. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

It doesn't matter if your website, your app or your product is not perfect and complete when you first launch it. What's important is to have something solid and out there to show. We're talking about Executing, Shipping, Results. Often, the best way to get there is to break down the whole project in to small realistic goals that make you more aware of your progress and encourage you to carry on.

Go for a simple design, build only the features that are necessary and get the satisfaction of creating something - rather than nothing at all. Your product will evolve over time, probably constantly. Shrinking the ‘big idea’ into something more achievable generates inspiration and that's precisely when you need to ‘crack on’. If you get as excited as I do and are driven by your inspiration, you will only want to focus on building your product and do nothing else until it's done. This is when you're at your most productive.

The limitations

Now, while this is great when you build for yourself and don't have specific requirements, it might not always be easy to do when working within a team for instance. You need to take clients, unexpected tasks, interruptions and office hours into consideration - amongst other things.

That said, people have become more aware of these issues over time and many companies have already started to change their ways. They tend to adapt their work practices as they realise that inspiration and productivity can't really be forced. Start-ups offer the perfect model of flexible working inspiration and productivity enhancement.

All in all, I'm very happy with the result. I'll now work on the details, improving the design over time and writing blog posts regularly. I'm planning to make it fully responsive in the coming days and then integrate it into a CMS. Watch this space.