Having a website is a means of putting roots on the internet, like having an address where people can find more information about you — this isn’t anything new. Like many folks, I have had a site online for many years, with the most recent one in existence for eight years, but as my life continues to move forward with amazing opportunities, I felt that I needed to scale my presence to include all the work that I’ve done in order to provide friends, strangers, and potential employers with enough information about what I can bring to the table.
The key message you can take away from this article is that I’ve launched a new website (yay me!) and I plan on adding more details about my capabilities and services to paint a better picture of who I am.
BUT, I don’t want this to just be a launch post, but a debrief on my experience building this and why, for the first time, I opted to use a build-it-yourself service like Weebly. So get ready for some fun lessons learned…
There’s always a better way
I’ve always been a fan of doing things myself because the hope is that I’ll learn the technology better and it’s a good motivator, at times. All my sites have been developed by hand in HTML, CSS, PHP, and on occasion through a WYSIWYG editor a la Dreamweaver. The same goes for the design (yes, I’m not the greatest artist in the world). But over time, it has started to become a hindrance in my goal of launching an updated website and eventually it got the best of me.
In my search of my next full-time role, one of the goals I’d set out was to undertake this major renovation of my digital life, spruce up my LinkedIn profile, tweak my blog, and put some muscle behind improving the main site to keep it updated with what really matters to people. So I started to design and it took me forever and eventually acquiesced and went with a do-it-yourself service. But deciding on one wasn’t really the easiest solution for me.
The marketplace is currently occupied by several main players: Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly. I’ve given all of them a shot, and ultimately I wound up going with Weebly — and I’ll explain why I made that decision in a bit. Suffice it to say, the two things that eventually won me over was the overall experience on the platform and the templates that were available.
I was definitely reticent in my move to a DIY platform because psychologically it takes away a sense of ownership, that feeling that you’ve done it all yourself and can be proud that you’ve learned some great skills. Perhaps it’s just me, but I held aspirations that I’d find a way to program a responsive website, learn to code better, and parlay those skills into something better for my career.
Ultimately though, going with a DIY seems to be a good thing since it’s now easier to update and I can get my site out there, knowing that as people search for more information about me, be it for a full-time job or freelance, there’s something more presentable and up-to-date.
The three-way platform dance
I first started out with Weebly as my DIY platform of choice because it was at the top of my mind at the time. But before I committed time and resources to the service, I looked at the available templates that the company had. while I could have probably built one from scratch, that would have left me in the same spot as before I considered this route. But I really wanted a template that I could make my own — like having a fixer-upper for a home. Sure, people would choose that same template, but I’d tear it all down to rebuild it in my image.
Having never used Weebly or any similar service before, it took me a bit to get used to the drag-and-drop behavior and also the different capabilities that I was afforded. Eventually I learned that they offered quite a bit of flexibility and customization. But when I was ready to do my first review of the site, I realized that something wasn’t right with Weebly, and I opted to start again, this time with Squarespace.
Squarespace is one of the biggest DIY services out there and I imagined would have a lot more functionality that I was looking for. The templates are different from Weebly and there’s an aura of clean, white, and modern design that you can choose from. That’s probably something you should be looking into if you’re choosing between the three companies — what kind of vibe do you want with your templates?
One of the things I noticed was that Squarespace gives you a free trial for 14 days, which means that after that time, you can file for a seven-day extension or pay to use the service. This happens regardless of whether you’re done prepping your site for launch or not. On the contrary, Weebly doesn’t have that offering and you can go live at any time, but for more advanced features and to eliminate that awful “powered by Weebly” branding, you have to pay $8 per month. Wix is free to use as well. But even though services are free, be aware of the constraints that are imposed, such as storage, file size, and functionality.
Wix wasn’t the best option for me because the experience in editing my site, namely the WYSIWYG editor, didn’t resonate with me. The same went with Squarespace, along with my satisfaction with the template customization. I felt there were too many mouse clicks and tricks that needed to be done to achieve what I wanted. And what was dramatically disappointing for me was the inability to embed an RSS feed without having to install a third-party app. This critique fells all three services because it felt like I had to completely abandon WordPress in favor of my DIY platform of choice, which I wasn’t compelled to do.
Even though I ultimately went with Weebly, it wasn’t intended to be a slight on Squarespace or Wix. These are all great services, but for what I needed at the time, Weebly seemed to be that offering. I think companies should really look into each of these services and find out what they think are the key differentiation points, since it’ll vary by user.
Get to know Ken Yeung
In previous iterations of my site, I’ve often wondered what information should I convey. Should I talk about my marketing background, love of photography, blog, portfolio of work, calendar of events, social channels, or anything else? Based on where I’m at now, I’ve opted to restrict the type of content I’m featuring, showcasing that which aims to potential employers around what I can do best for them.
On my new site, you’ll see numerous case studies that I’ve done while in digital agencies, in-house environments, and as a freelancer. These works are in-depth and vary from website development projects to video animations, email marketing, and content strategy.
The goal is to help you be better acquainted with who I am and how you can reach me. This is definitely the starting part of the conversation and I’m sure that more information will be added in the future.
That being said… hire me!