“There’s only one way to eat a whale: ‘one bite at a time’.”
I’ll tell you the secret: I’ve been working on this site and learning from it slowly but surely since around 2005. Things saw an uptick in 2008 when I moved it over to this domain and there was another uptick around 2015ish when I found and joined the IndieWeb community.
Since then I’ve been slowly playing and experimenting to build the home online that I’ve always wanted. Having a community around me like IndieWeb.org has helped me immeasurably. It’s great having others around who come up with interesting ideas, write code I can borrow, provide a sounding board for ideas, can tell me about the pitfalls and traps I’d have never expected.
I started off as many did in the old blogosphere days by looking at what others had on their websites and trying to puzzle together how I could have it for myself. Then I made an ordered list of what sorts of functionalities, design, and layout I wanted to have. Then I did some research on plugins and methods until I could get each part roughly the way I wanted it. Each step along the way I was able to get the help and support I needed from the IndieWeb, Domain of One’s Own, and other communities and friends. Slowly but surely over time, I’ve been able to slowly tweak and refine things so that they work the way I’d like them to.
I was also able to provide my thoughts and feedback both on what worked and didn’t for me personally which I think has helped refine some of the code and plugins I’ve borrowed. I’ve also tried to document how I did many things (both on the IndieWeb wiki and on my own website), so that folks who find intriguing pieces can more easily have it for themselves (or so that I have a chance of fixing it when I inevitably break it). In many years of doing this, nothing warms my cockles more than to see others use the same paths I’ve walked, borrow functionality or documentation, and even—in some cases—completely copy entire pages of text from my website.
I’m far from done, but it’s been an entertaining, engaging, and incredibly fun hobby. Over time it has slowly turned into something. Even better, along the way, I’ve been able to not only save my memories for myself, document how things work, but I’ve made lots of friends and had a great time doing it.
Another not-so-secret, I do a lot of tinkering, and only know enough code to break things, but haven’t really built or written large amounts of code for myself. So if I can do it, I’m sure that with some help others certainly can too. I’ve seen some of the most creative, highly paid, and busy web designers, developers, and engineers on the planet take newcomers aside and show them how to register a domain name and write HTML from scratch. Our collective goal is to allow anyone to be able to do what we’re doing.
Given what it looks like you’ve already got Chris, you’re most of the way there and have a more solid base than when I started out. If you’re game, I’m happy to help and provide other advice about particular pieces based on my experience. My first recommendation is that you, or anyone else for that matter, pop over to chat.indieweb.org and introduce yourself. Then take a look at their Wikifying page, and work your way through it. In particular start thinking about this part: https://indieweb.org/wikifying#Write_down_your_itches. Once you’ve got a list of things you’d like your site to do, start searching the wiki, looking at sites, and asking questions in chat.
You’ll find lots of help because you’re definitely not alone.