the whole experience I’ve just described is part of the argument for a site like Medium. That argument goes: No writer should be in the business of making a personal website. They’re hard to find, readers rarely return to them, and besides—let me just contribute this last part myself—they aren’t even fun to make anymore.

Robin Sloan, Medium

So are websites heading the way of cars? Becoming so specialized and complicated that only teams of professionals with specialized knowledge can handle them?

I would argue that they’re differentiated by the virtual nature of their materials. Websites have effectively no upfront cost after the initial cost of a working computer and internet connection, which is getting lower all the time. And their virtual nature allows for easy sharing of materials. This is best seen in the open source movement. To make a website it’s not necessary to write a webserver, because Apache exists. To create a blog, its not necessary to know php or even html. You can use Wordpress, Moveable Type or Octopress. To have a professional design, you can use any of many themes provided by designers across the web for free or cost.

To build a website, you don’t need to know everything, you can build on the foundations laid by others. I’m building this blog on top of octopress, and for now am only contributing content of my own. But its likely that in the future I’ll choose to add more, either with the theming or in plugins. I won’t have to build everything from scratch, but I’ll be able to tinker. It’s a middle ground that doesn’t exist for cars. And it means that the amateur web can continue to move along and reap benefits from the work of professional teams, while history continues as normal.