Website Feedback

The thinking behind the design of my site
September 16, 2021

I built my website using Notion and Super. Here's a site map I made using Miro.

Today I'll cover:

  • The Problem with Niches
  • Embracing Chaos
  • Content Gardens Through Meta-Data
  • My Site Is a "Media-Network" with 30 Channels?
  • Site Tour
  • Feedback I'm Looking For


The Problem with Niches

My first attempts to write and publish online were weighed down by traditional "niche-thinking." You see everybody doing it. You reduce yourself down to a reductive, but clear stereotype. It's a reliable way to cut through market noise. It's a response to the ocean of content and the average person's dwindling attention.

I made a few early attempts to by the "X" guy.

  • The Notion guy
  • Look, the Metaverse is coming
  • The Writing Studio guy

Each time, I felt like it clogged my output. The side-effect of a reductive signal is creative block. Sometimes it can be hard to see the effects that our constraints leave on us.

  • A specific intersection of topics
  • A standard to hit
  • The length of a piece
  • Non-fiction vs. fiction vs. autobiography

Embracing Chaos

My approach now is to create and publish without constraints. This creates a near-delirious range of content. This makes writing a lot of fun. It also results in a website that is a true-representation of myself (instead of a branded facade).

The down side?

It makes it potentially hard for someone to come to my site and know what the hell is going on.

What's the fix?

Well - my site's design is an attempt at solving that.

I'm only half-way towards a solution, and your feedback could help me figure it out.

Content Gardens Through Meta-Data

Even though all my writing goes into a single "Writing Database," I use meta-data to differentiate.

I have a Type parameter, which describes the format of my writing:

Every piece of writing is also linked into a series of Tags, which are topic-based.

For example, "Beeple's Mosaic" contains:

Something exciting happens when all of your writing has meta-data. You can set up curated collections of your work after the fact. There might be around 100 pieces of writing on my site from 2021. Instead of you seeing them chronologically, or showing you the top 3, I can give you specific "gardens" of content, based on what you care about most.

My Site Is a "Media-Network" with 30 Channels?

The overview pages of my site function as a kind of map to a museum. People can find the facet they're most interested in diving into first. Instead of reducing myself to a single signal, my site is like a media network, with 30 channels you can pick between.

This approach is very in-line with the "passion economy" instead of "niches."

My thesis boils down to:

1) You can build a brand through your voice/tools instead of topic/format/personas, and

2) If you're prolific, you can benefit from hosting multiple niches at once.

Site Tour

  • My About page gives more detail around the three areas of my site: Writing, Glossary, Libraries
  • My OS page shows you the back-end Notion databases that all this is built off
  • Below is a site-map built in Miro, and a Loom video looking through it

Feedback I'm Looking For

  • What are your impressions after landing here and looking around for <1 minute?
    • Whoa, this is cool?
    • Intimidated? Decision fatigue?

  • What did you click on first?

  • What did you do?
    • X-out?
    • Bookmark?
    • Go down a rabbit hole?
    • Share?

  • Any thoughts on how to make a clearer first impression? Looking to redo my landing page.
    • Featured writing?
    • Better intro paragraph?
    • Changing terms and language?

  • How would you explain my site to someone else? Do any words come to mind?
    • Digital garden
    • Museum of content
    • Creative cartography
  • I've made zero effort distributing my work. Any thoughts on how my effort here could tie into Twitter or a newsletter?

Thank you!