The Day I Deleted My Website

And started over. My old site was 400+ hours of code, a month of design, and countless days at the coffee shop building the content. Then, one day, I threw it all away.

Mike Reed  —  Published  01.08.17

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My portfolio, deleted

I deleted my old website about two months ago. It was suppose to be the main driver of my freelance business. Then, in one hit of the keyboard, gone (exaggeration, by the way).

Then I told my wife what I did

When I told my wife that I was ditching my old website, she didn't get angry. She didn't show frustration. All she said was:

 "You know what's going to work. Go for it."

A site I'd spent over 2 months putting together. A site that I'd built from scratch, a custom PHP framework and JavaScript content builder. In one decision, I decided to start over. All she did was support me in this and show confidence in me.

The feedback was...bad

By the time I finished my old site, deep down I knew I didn't like it. It was ok. It did the job. In some ways, I actually looked nice. But, I kept getting feedback about it and the feedback was always polite. Too polite.

"Nice! Sort of old-school."

"Oh, that's where the nav is at."

"It's very gray. But I like gray!"

But the one section I needed to get right, my portfolio, wasn't doing what it was suppose to do. I knew my work was pretty good, but the section made it look like crap.

Failure, learning and starting over

The old site and initial effort wasn't a complete waste. It got something up for people to see and react to. It functioned well in terms of the development, the code was solid, I built a lot of libraries I reused.

But I knew I needed something better than "ok." I needed to put my ego aside.

I took a few days off, then took a hard look at the site. It wasn't visual enough. It was sort of flat, boring. Uninspired. Everyone said the homepage navigation was hard to find. The first time my wife looked at the site on her iPhone, she kept trying to scroll down to find more content. The problem? There was no more content; the entire page fits on the screen.

The next day, I started over.

And the result

40 days later, and a lot of sleepless nights, I'm finally happy with the results. I feel confident about showing my work around. I feel like I finally accomplished what I set out to do.

Don't get me wrong, it really REALLY sucked. 

I hated the idea of throwing all that work away. I detested firing open Sublime Text to see what was going wrong with my templating engine I rebuild for the new site. If my JavaScript files were a punching bag, it would be knocked off the wall by now.

But I had to listen to feedback. And I had to listen to that inner voice in my gut that kept whispering...

"START OVER."