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Why you should build pointless websites just for fun

By Justin Pot · November 10, 2020
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The internet was more fun when people made websites for the heck of it. I think people should start doing that again.

Around 2009, single user websites were everywhere. You could see if it's Christmas, find out how many people are in space, or get a page that is sometimes red and sometimes blue. It was fun.

These sites make the internet a better place, yes, but building them is also a great way to learn how to make things online.

Learn by doing

I made a pointless website much more recently than 2009. I'd been curious about how to use Zapier's webhooks for quite a while, but I only really figured it out after a friend (I think?) asked me for a big red button that makes me leave.

I actually built that button using Zapier webhooks.

Button that says Make me leave

Anyone who finds this button (which I will not link to) can press it, and I'll get a message in Slack telling me to leave. It hasn't been used yet, but I'm glad it exists. I need to know when to leave.

I learned something and now a stupid thing exists. Everyone wins.

I made this website from scratch in HTML, but you don't even need to do that. The no-code movement means you can make a website without any HTML skills, quickly.

Making pointless websites in Unbounce

Unbounce is a service we use here at Zapier: the landing pages for our webinars and some product launches are built using it. It's a great tool for making focused pages that direct users toward one specific call to action.

But you don't have to use it that way. You could make something just because.

The Unbounce team filled us in on some of the weird stuff people have made on the platform. For example: Unbounce employees use the service to make anniversary cards for their coworkers.

Anniversary card on Unbounce

There's no reason for this to be a website—it could easily be an email or a Slack message or a handwritten note. But that's why it's so wonderful that someone took the time to make a website. The rarity makes it special (as does the '90s aesthetic).

They had some more great examples too.

  • Someone made a startup generator, just because they could.

  • Until recently, people applying to work at Unbounce were asked to build an online resume using the service. (And, honestly, building a website for your resume might make you stand out even if you're not applying there.)

  • At least one person built a scoreboard for their office golf pool. I, for one, didn't realize that golf pools were a thing, or that people watch golf. But this is a thing that exists because someone made it, and I'm in favor of people making things.

  • Some people even use Unbounce for wedding RSVPs.

All of these things are relatively simple to make using the platform, and you'll learn a lot on the way. Sure, at $80 a month, Unbounce probably isn't the most affordable way to build these things. That's not the point. If you're already paying for Unbounce and want to learn the product better, building something like this can help.

And Unbounce isn't the only tool you can use to do this—any of the best landing page builders or CMS platforms could work. If you want to learn how to use a service, building something pointless just might be the best way.

After all, the best way to learn any tool is pushing all of the buttons—and building something pointless gives you a reason to push those buttons. Find something ridiculous you want to build, then build it.

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