Against Namespacing Personal Sites
I’m about to rewrite my personal site (for hopefully the last time for a long while - UPDATE: 2022 rewrite blogpost here). I have been paralyzed more than I should be about what I’m calling “URL Architecture”. Because I care about Cool URIs, this is ideally not a reversible decision.
After some agonizing I think I have decided on a URL Architecture I like. In true fashion, I’m blogging about it.
“URL Architecture” (I don’t know the proper word for this, if there is one pls correct me) is how you set up your URLs for each page of your site. For example,
netlify.com has these:
netlify.com: generic landing page
netlify.com/blog: index of blogs
netlify.com/blog/year/month/day/slug: individual posts
- other pages
I call that
/blog a namespace. The reason you do this is simple: it GREATLY reduces the risk of clashing with any other page you could possibly put on your site. It is “future proof”.
Note: There is some debate about whether or not putting year/month/day in the URL impacts SEO. Some think it doesn’t matter, some think it’s a mild negative, some like it because you avoid clashes at the slug level.
Personal sites of frequent speakers often opt for TWO namespaces:
/speaking. My current site (as of Sept 2020) uses this, but I have grown to dislike it: I will often speak about what I write, and write about related things I speak about. Why separate them? It is more effort to make my talks discoverable to my readers and vice versa.
The other thing that bothers me about my current setup is that it makes for ugly URLs. My most popular essay ever regularly gets linked to in Slacks, Discords, YouTube chats, Tweets and presentation slides. It weighs in at 43 characters all told.
If I shortened it to the shortcode that I set up for myself,
swyx.io/LIP, it is only 11 characters. This looks much better.
I’ve noticed that a lot of prolific bloggers don’t namespace:
- CSS Tricks: https://css-tricks.com/how-css-perspective-works/
- Derek Sivers: https://sive.rs/cons
- Paul Graham: http://www.paulgraham.com/good.html
These people have blogged for decades and somehow managed to find their way around possible URL clashes. Why can’t I?