There are a ton of single-serving sites (SSS) out there that serve a wide range of purposes. Some will tell you helpful information like the weather. Some provide a utility like determining your IP address. And some will be nothing more than a dog licking your screen. Or cats who look like Ron Swanson. You know, important Internet stuff.
Whether practical or a punchline, single-serving sites are one of the many things that make the Internet so great. They’re a great way to quickly turn a random idea that pops into your head into something that anyone in the world can enjoy.
Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to get up and running with your very own SSS. All you need is a great idea, a little determination, and an awesome domain name. Oh, and we can definitely help you out with that last part. How convenient, right?
What Is A Single-Serving Site?
The term “single-serving site” was coined by Jason Kottke in 2008 to describe a growing phenomenon of websites that are “comprised of a single page with a dedicated domain name and do only one thing.” In his essay on single-serving sites – located at isthisyourpaperonsingleservingsites.com, naturally – Ryan Greenberg identifies 6 categories or SSS:
- Status sites (e.g. downforeveryoneorjustme.com)
- Question sites (e.g. isitchristmas.com)
- Pop culture (e.g. barackobamaisyournewbicycle.com)
- Information & instruction (e.g. howtocutapineapple.com)
- Advice & commentary (e.g. f*ckinggoogleit.com)
- Oddball sites beyond categorization (e.g. sometimesredsometimesblue.com)
Greenberg was spot-on with his categorization of single-serving sites, however one of his conclusions is now outdated since the essay’s writing in 2008.
“From a creator’s standpoint, the technical knowledge required to make a SSS is beyond most people’s ken. Consequently, creating a site may be a sign of status within a group, or a signal of membership in a community of like-minded technical individuals.”
Don’t get me wrong, some SSS are very complex and require a lot of expertise to create. Many sites, however, are extremely simple to make, even for those of us that don’t know the first thing about HTML. If you fall into this latter category, then take a look at just how easy it is create an SSS within minutes of thinking of an idea.
Step 1: Think Of An Idea
The first step is often the most difficult, and creating an SSS is no different. Before doing anything else, you’ll first need to know what you’d like to make. The good news here is that when it comes to single-serving sites, nothing is off-limits. Even the dumbest thing you can possibly think of can be an SSS; in fact, these are often the best ones!
Whenever your idea comes to you, don’t put it off for later. As you’ll see in the next steps, it’ll take you barely any time to get it up and running.
Step 2: Set Up Your Website
There are many services out there that will let you easily build a website, with or without coding expertise. This post is all about speed, so I’d recommend using Tumblr. Tumblr is a microblogging platform designed for quick & simple posts – perfect for a single-serving site! After setting up your account, you can select a great-looking theme and then post whatever content you’d like, whether it’s videos, pictures, songs or writings. Best of all, it’s free!
Step 3: Register A Domain Name
Now that you have your website, it’s time to register a great domain name. Unlike most other websites, shorter doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to an SSS’s domain name. Be sure to get something that best describes exactly what your SSS does. To get even more specific, get a top-level domain that is relevant for your site. For example, omg.coffee is an SSS that loads a random GIF about coffee every time you visit the site.
Step 4: Point Your Domain At Your Website
This step will vary depending on where you get your domain name from, but essentially you just need to change the same pieces of information. All you need to do are change the @ and * entries in your A records – which are a part of your DNS settings – to point to your Tumblr page. Don’t worry if that sounds difficult, it’s really easy (here are instructions on how to change these settings with your Hover domain). Then all you’ve got to do is go into your Tumblr account and enter the custom domain that you registered.
You now have a single-serving site that you turned from an idea to reality in less time than it takes to go grab a cup of coffee. If you’ve been inspired to go create an SSS yourself, be sure to share your creation (or any cool ones that you’ve come across) in the comments below!