10-Apr-2023 by Allison McMillan

Read Time: Approx. 4 minutes

5 ways I used AI for my website refresh

Over the past few months, there has been much hubbub over new and improved AI tools like ChatGPT, Dalle, Midjourney, and more. Are these tools replacing work? Will software engineers still be necessary in a few years? How are folks using these tools in their day-to-day lives? And where is the line? What ways of using these tools are useful vs. what ways are potentially thought to be unethical?

I hadn't had much time previously to play around with these tools. I had used Dalle once or twice to generate images for conference talk slides, but that was mostly it. And then I decided to give my website a refresh to give it some new energy and focus on my engineering leadership consulting services. It gave me the perfect opportunity to really utilize ChatGPT and Midjourney to see what they could do. Here are the top 5 ways I used them:

  1. Color Palette choices: Admittedly, I do not have a great eye for color palettes and knowing which colors work well together. Instead of looking on color palette sites and trying to determine the best path forward, or what made sense for my website, I asked ChatGPT to please provide me with three business-forward color palettes that have a feminine feel, including the hex value for each color and noting which color would be used for a series of elements (for example, a button, a main section background, a highlight/sidebar, etc.).

  2. Explain it to me like I'm 5: Let's just say that it's been a little while since I've dug deeply into my Jekyll website to keep everything updated and in proper working order. There are also amazing tools these days that weren't around when I first launched my website a decade ago... things like Vercel and Netlify, new static website generators, and more. I was so excited to get my hands dirty with these newer approaches but I also wanted to make sure that I wasn't spending too much time in the planning and researching stage before getting to the building stage. ChatGPT was incredibly helpful for a whole series of "please explain this to me like I am 5" questions. I asked things like what is the difference between Astro and 11ty, what are the differences between Vercel and Netlify, how many people are using each, what are the top themes for some of these static site generators, and more. While I dug a little further on my own, being able to ask these questions and even drill down further, gave me a huge shortcut as I got going.

  3. Coding skills clarification or refresh: For my website refresh, I ultimately decided to start from scratch and use an 11ty template (see way 2 on how I made this decision), but it's been a little while since I have coded every day, and syntax like Nunjucks was new to me. When a piece of my code wasn't working, or when I needed to refresh my memory on how to do responsive column layouts, I could quickly and easily paste some code into ChatGPT and ask it to please help me out a little bit or explain how something was working.

  4. Updating my About Me section: This piece was a bit more iterative. First, I took my previous about me and asked ChatGPT to highlight it in a few ways, for example "Please rewrite this bio focusing on my community work" or "Please rewrite this bio highlighting the strategy work I did". Then, I took a few different pieces of writing... a couple of versions of my bio, my resume, and previous about me, and asked to please combine them.

  5. Midjourney for images: I knew I wanted to have some images, especially to go along with my services offerings. Midjourney was so much fun to use and, I think, ended up providing me with some really incredible images that provide a great visual compliment to what the text on my site is saying. I'm gradually finding more and more uses for Midjourney and reaching for it as a tool more than I thought I would, to be honest. I intend to also use it to create images for blogposts (see below).

  6. BONUS: I used ChatGPT to provide me with a one-sentence description of this blogpost to put in the description field.

Overall, for many of the ways I used ChatGPT, I found that I wasn't using it very differently than how I would use google search in the past. Most of the responses ChatGPT generated couldn't be simply copied and pasted without reading it over and making sure it was correct or what I was going for. The main difference between my regular, usual googling for information and utilizing AI tools instead was that I could drill down on specific parts and pieces. It was sort of like having an engineer or friend sitting next to me where I could say "I like this part but not this part, what would be a different option?" or "I didn't quite understand this point, can you please explain it further?" And, of course, the areas where I used ChatGPT to summarize or combine pieces of writing wouldn't be possible otherwise.

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