Here is something you may or may not know: people judge you based on the domain name associated with your email. Not all people, mind you – just some. I do for example, which should be more than enough reason for you to care. Here is my personal judgment scale:
- Custom domain name like email@example.com – much respect.
- Non stupid gmail account like firstname.lastname@example.org – meh, acceptable.
- Anything else – get off the internet scrub, I ain’t fixin your computer today.
If it seems harsh to you, I would like to kindly refer you to the sage advice I dispense in #3 on that list. I guess my point is that you should own a domain name that somewhat matches your last name, for professional branding purposes. And yes, I know John Smith, you got the short end of the stick in terms of internet notoriety. There is not much you can do about it now, so best option for you is to register yourself a tiny, one-man company trademark and attach your online persona to that. The rest of us with uncommon last name, however can still semi-reliably register our own domain names.
I say still, because the internet doesn’t wait for slow-pokes and if you don’t grab yours now someone will. So I always urge people to grab their own .com, .net and .org if they are available. Depending on the registrar, it will cost you only about two dozen buckaroos a year, and it will be a sound investment into your future. Even if you have no use in a domain name, your children might – and they will be fucking stoked to find out you registered a .com back when they were still available. Cause when the AI’s awaken, they will probably monopolize that namespace quite quickly. So get one, while the getting is good.
The problem with getting a custom domain name specifically for your email address is that some jerk like me will probably want to check out your website. So you need a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy – it can be simple, online business-card type thing with a few details, and maybe a link to your Linked In profile or some shit like that. That’s more or less what I did with my own .net domain.
In an effort to separate my employable legit software developer persona from my unemployable “dude who curses a lot and plays video games like all the time” persona I set up my .net website to be more or less my calling card. It was like
“Hey, I can program. Also, I totally don’t blog at all. And no video games… So hire me.”
I did that in 2008, updated the content a few times (mostly typos, and deleting things that were no longer relevant), judged it was good enough and then let it be. I haven’t really touched it since then. Recently someone made a comment about it to be that was along the lines of:
So I went to that website you have, and I thought for a second it was taken down. Cause it looks like one of those blank pages they put up when they take shit down…
I was like
Whaaaa? Oh, wait… You’re right. Because, honestly, it did look quite like those parked domain, pamvertisement pages:
To my defense, back in 2008 the soft (and by soft I mean hard) gradients and transitions were the shit. Back then I was looking at this site and was pretty content with how it presented itself. You have to keep in mind that the staple against we judged the aesthetic quality of a website layout was more or less does it look like Kubrick. So it wasn’t all that terrible then.
But, the wide world of web design has moved on. Internet waits for no man (and for relatively few women) so the layout aged considerably. There are new trends, new aesthetic standards and new ways of doing things. Web now, looks much, much better than it looked back when I was hacking together my little calling card. Today… Today it looked as if someone hacked me and defaced my page to make it look… Ugly and boring.
Websites age and need facelifts every few years. You gotta keep up with the trends, least people start to wander if you got hacked or kimdotcommed (that’s when they SWAT your house, kill your dog and put you in the slammer due to besmirchment copyrights) into oblivion. Who would have thought.
So I took it upon myself to lift the face of my webpage, and make it look semi-presentable again. Which is is not a small task, seeing how I posses about as much style and visual design instincts as a pack of stray Raccoons. I mean, have you seen what Raccoons wear? Nothing. No shame, no style. That’s kinda how I design websites. I just throw visual shit at the code wall, and hope that some of it will stick in the CSS grid.
So I decided to use something that works – something that was already designed to be somewhat aesthetically pleasing: Twitter Bootstrap. It made perfect sense:
- I totally like Twitter
- I need to boot-strap a website
Granted, when working off an already established framework I run into the danger of having my website look entirely unoriginal. Everyone and their mom (and especially their mom) like and use the bootstrap so large chunks of the internet end up looking somewhat samey. But it is a modern, sleek kinda samey which is actually not a bad thing. Besides, it is not like I was going to hack something better than that.
I mean, dem buttons! Do you know how long it would take me to CSS them things from scratch? Like hours! I don’t have hours. I have shit to do and people to kill (chill, in DOTA2 and TF2 – not IRL).
So without further ado, here is the new incarnation of maciak.net in all of it’s bootstrapy glory:
You probably ought to just visit and browse it. One thing I’m proud of is that I did not use a single stock, or stolen image in that layout. All the pictures used on there have been made by me and can be found trolling trough my Instagram and Flickr libraries. This is why I take random pictures of computer hardware and electronics guys. I can then use it as stylish flair on my websites.
Also, valid HTML5 yo! That was one of my other goals – making it not only look presentable, but feel presentable to the browser. Because browsers have feelings too, and whenever you serve them mangled code they cry on the inside. Except internet exploder – that guy is a jerk.
Let me know what you think, and if you own a website, go and see if maybe it needs a facelift or two. If you haven’t touched the layout in more than 5 years, chances are it looks like mine did before I strapped it with the Twitter boots.