May 18th 2020
This week I built the website you are on right now: tinyprojects.dev.
It's a slight cop out that the first project happens to be the website that is going to showcase every other project, so I've compromised and decided that this is Week 0.
Yesterday I turned 25, and my goal for year 25 is to complete a tiny project each week. The only rules are the project has to be fun and completable in a week (i.e. tiny). The project doesn't necessarily have to always be coding. It could be a small business, a skill, a routine, or reading a book. Hopefully by the end of the year I will have accumulated a nice list of 52 things, potentially some of which could start making revenue.
Anyway, the bulk of tinyprojects.dev was completed in the days leading up to my 25th birthday, so week 0 sort of makes sense.
I was inspired to start this website after coming across a post by Alex West on Hacker News. He runs a website that documents his journey launching various products and reporting how much monthly recurring revenue (MRR) they make. It's a really great read.
What struck me was his clean, fast website that presented information in an easy to read way. I also admired his writing style. Therefore, I decided to build a tiny website of my own.
Building this website was not too hard, but it turned out to be incredibly rewarding. After years of web development where I heavily relied on frameworks, it felt very refreshing to do everything myself. This website really feels like mine.
The website is built using vanilla HTML, CSS and JS. No frameworks or libraries used (except for analytics), and the whole thing is hosted on Firebase. I tried to build this website to be as cheap as possible. Currently I have up to 10gb/month free data on Firebase, which, with the tiny footprint of this website, should be able to handle >100,000 page views a month.
Building this website and getting it live on the web took less than half an hour. However, creating and structuring my initial content took hours. When I first started trying to create this website I thought it would be a home page and one more page for all the projects. Therefore, I started writing my first post about Tiny Websites.
However, I quickly realised that this first post was three articles in one. It was:
Trying to balance these three things was resulting in a long and unfocused article. Therefore, I changed tactic and decided to write three different types of posts:
This way I can cater to different audiences and see what's popular. Things like guides could also be a great way to get organic traffic from Google and bring users to other parts of the site.
For example, with the Tiny Website project, these are the three articles that were written:
I've not written an essay since school. I quickly realised that writing comprehendable and flowing pieces of text is actually really quite hard. Many times I'd freeze up trying to write a sentence, start going off topic, or just procrastinate and didn't feel the urge to write. Spellchecking and rewording things takes a lot longer than I realised too. I've had to rewrite these first posts about five or six times.
Although this is not a problem yet, I envision discovery will be hard for this tiny website. I plan to post my various articles on sites like Twitter, Reddit and Hacker News to try and grow traffic.
Currently this website is operating at a £10 loss year on year from domain name renewal. This amount could increase if I have to pay for hosting in the future.
Although the goal of this website is not to earn any income, there are several ways it could be done. The most likely would be to create more high quality monetizable guides, incorporate ads into the website, or build a following and go down an influencer style route with sponsorships.
Tiny Projects is live! I learnt a lot during Week 0, and am excited to keep going. Follow my project progress here: Projects