When first starting this website, I had a very clear image in my head of how I wanted it to look. Crisp white spaces and sharp lines, a minimalist aesthetic. I even played with the idea of having it entirely in black and white. But seeing something in your head and translating that image to a computer screen is not an easy feat. In fact, when you have little to no technical skills, it can quickly becoming an overwhelming task. This was probably my biggest challenge in regards to creating my online presence. I don’t know how to write code, customizations were difficult and don’t even get me started on plugins. With this in mind, I quickly realized it would have to be my content that spoke loudest in order to personalize my online presence. And boy was that an adventure.
It took a painful number of hours to look for the perfect theme, keeping in mind that my customizations would be minimal, I knew I needed to find the perfect canvas to showcase myself. From there I decided that colour was going to be required, I wanted my pictures to be a main attraction, bright greens from a forest, crystal clear blues of a glacier pool, these needed to have the added pop of colour to properly convey the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and to contrast against a blank white background. Naturally, I want my website, an extension of myself, to be aesthetically pleasing, but what does that really entail? Aesthetic is a funny thing, denotatively it means a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty (Bradley, 2014), key word being beauty. But what about this instances where aesthetics go too far? According to some, it’s much easier to happen than you think. When not done in moderation, the aesthetic that was meant to delight viewers instead annoys them and drives them away (Bradley, 2014). So not only am I trying to make my publication attractive with the content to back it up, but I am also concerned with excessive, quite the balancing act. And this is before publishing my website to be critiqued by an actual audience.
I wanted my website to be a place for people planning on visiting the area to get ideas on what to do but also to be a place for locals to go and fall in love with their home again. In this sense my audience was quite broad. In reality, according to Google Analytics, I really don’t have too big of a following outside of the Pub 101 class. But that’s not discouraging, as I continue to post I’m hopeful word will spread, I already have double digits in the organic search results so that looks promising. Not many comments yet, but I’m optimistic that will change with the more I post, something I review will eventually strike a chord with someone who is familiar with it and compel them to comment. (Fingers crossed).
Through my posts highlighting all this beautiful area has to offer, I am hoping the people reading them will find ways to fall back in love with this place, whether it’s their home or their home away from home or a strange place they have yet to visit, my goal is for people to read through my publication as a love letter to the city and hopefully stir something up inside themselves for it as well. The value this website will provide is strictly non monetary. I think posting advertisements or doing paid reviews would take away from its genuinity, and that is the last thing I want. My website is a reflection of myself and what I love, I do not want to cheapen it down just to make a couple dollars. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to lose the trust of the few readers I have. If I am being relied on to provide honest feedback and reviews about areas in and around Vancouver, I don’t want there to be a sliver of doubt that I am doing it for any benefit other than for the good of the Pacific Northwest.
At the beginning of this term, I didn’t think too much of my online presence, in fact I barely used social media other than the occasional Instagram post. I saw websites as a marketplace for well established corporate businesses or tech savy individuals. But as best said by Chuck Cohn, “[Everyone] will eventually have to take on the challenge of creating a website, a social media account or another online presence” (Cohn, 2015). At some point, we all have to take our brand online. Your brand is all about who you are but more importantly, what you want to be known for (Muse, 2012). Whether it’s your personal brand or a business brand, what you present about yourself will indicate to others who you are and what you are, you want to make sure that’s a positive inference. You want to have a positive online presence and refraining from all online activity doesn’t send that message. This course not only taught me how to best present myself online but also reiterated the importance of publishing yourself.
Here’s hoping I’ll be talking to someone other than myself as I continue my love letter.
Bradley, S. (2014). What role do aesthetics play in the design of a website?. Vanseo Design.
Cohn, C. (2015). A beginner’s guide to establishing an online presence on a budget. Forbes.
Muse, T. (2012). The first step to building your personal brand. Forbes.