Everything is online these days. If you’re like most other professionals, you probably have a polished LinkedIn page. You also might have a friendly Facebook page and maybe you’re even active on Twitter. So many people, however, do not realize how critically important a personal website can be. Let us guide you through a few easy steps to maximize your internet presence and produce an amazing personal website.
Why do you need a personal website?
A personal website will set you apart from the competition in almost every scenario. Internet presence is more important than ever before. When potential employers are interested, the first course of action is often a Google search. A personal website is so important for a few reasons:
Set yourself apart from the competition
Only about 5-15% of professionals and job seekers have personal websites. That is crazy! Think about how much impact it can have! Let’s say a hiring manager has narrowed down a decision and you’re one of the final candidates. One of the candidates has an amazing personal website. The website goes above and beyond a resume. It can show personality and give the employer examples of work you’ve done or blogs you’ve written. There really is no better way of differentiating yourself and sending a complete picture of who you are.
Show your personality
A great resume is incredibly important; it will be the first attention grabber. But even the best resume will fail to accurately depict your epic personality. A personal website opens many doors for expression. You can start writing blogs. You can put up work you’ve done in a “portfolio” page. It’s even a good idea to show and tell about some hobbies you enjoy. Listing your hobbies and interests on your resume is important. They give the employer a better idea of who you are. Just think how much more impactful it is to be able to show and not just tell.
Anyone can claim they are good at something. It’s only when you’re able to demonstrate those skills that you really make an impact. Of course, not all skills can be demonstrated through a web page. However, depending on the skills you are trying to convey, you may be able to use your website to demonstrate them. Here are a few good examples of professions in which skill demonstration is essential:
- Web Developer
- Web Designer / UX Designer
- Fashion Designer
- Barber / Hairdresser
Any skill sets that can be demonstrated through photos or websites are easy to put on the internet. Even if your skill set cannot be demonstrated visually, you’re still fine! Try writing a few blog posts about your experience in the industry.
Even if your skill set cannot be demonstrated visually, you’re still fine! Try writing a few blog posts about your experience in the industry. Detailed writings about your experiences will show passion and experience well beyond what the standard resume can convey.
How to build your personal website
Decide what content you want to include
There are tons of different options for website builders. To choose the best one for you, it’s best to know what sort of content you’re going to be including. Are you going to focus on pictures? Are you going to mainly be writing blog posts? Maybe you just need a portfolio page to link out to different applications you’ve built. Or, perhaps you want to include all three! Anything is possible. It’s important to know your goal going in so you can be informed when choosing a path.
A few things you absolutely must include:
- Your name and a tag line
- Portfolio examples
- About me
- Services you offer
- Contact information
- Links to social media
Choose a design
Your design will depend on the content you want to include and the message you want to send. If you’re an artist or graphic designer, it’s important to have an awesome design that shows the world your skill. If you’re a web developer just showing off programming skills, a beautiful design will not be as important.
In any case, your website needs to be easy to navigate. If a visitor cannot easily find the content you want them to see, it may as well not be there.
Luckily, nearly all website services offer modern templates that will help you tie down the basic design keys.
Build your website
There are two routes you can take here.
- Build your website from scratch
- Choose a service that allows for easy building
Building a personal website from scratch
If you’re going to build a website from scratch, you’re going to need to be able to code. If you already know how to code, this is the best option. It allows you to build a completely original site. Of course, coding is not easy and this option is not a viable one for the vast majority of you. No Worries!
Building a website using a prebuilt service
For most of you, an automatic website builder is the best option. There are many robust tools out there that will allow you to build an awesome website in no time and with no programming skill. Most of these tools are easy-to-use and have comprehensive tutorials. All you’ll need to do is follow along and you’ll have an amazing personal website in no time at all!
Here are some of the website-building services that really stand out to us:
The most widely used service on the internet. WordPress can be a little difficult to install, but, once you have it up and running, the possibilities are endless. Because of its popularity, WordPress has thousands of themes. You will have no problem finding the perfect one for your page. Once you’re all setup, adding new blog posts or content is as easy as a few clicks.
Wix has been quickly gaining popularity lately. It’s perfect for beginners as it’s extremely easy to use. It’s most popular for its comprehensive templates (you can find one for nearly any purpose) in addition to its “drag and drop” capabilities.
Similar to Wix, Site123 has a wide range of templates allowing for code-free beauty of all types. Instead of dragging and dropping, Site123 allows you to upload content into a template with little thought.
With so many site builders out there, your options are nearly endless. We want you to keep in mind this main point: The easier it is to use, the less unique your page will be and vice versa. When deciding which service is best for you, you must weigh the importance of uniqueness against ease-of-use.
Get a domain name
A domain name is what comes before the “.com”. Whether you’ve built your website from scratch or with one of those tools, your website is not going to come with a nice domain name.
Ideally, you want your domain name to be your name. For example, johnsmith.com. Of course, that won’t always be available. In any case, don’t be afraid to play around with the name. Add a middle initial (johnksmith.com), put a reference to your career (johnthecoder.com), or get a little creative (johnthesmith.com).
The main thing you want to avoid is adding numbers or making the domain name sound childish or unprofessional.
A few options for purchasing a domain name
Domain names cost money. Fortunately, it’s usually not very much. You should be able to secure a solid domain name with hosting for about $10 per year.
We recommend using one of the following:
Both these domain services have great reputations and very easy tutorials for getting set up.
Here are some examples of awesome personal branding websites.
There you have it! If you followed through with us, you should be well versed in:
- Why a personal website is so important
- Determining what content to put on your site
- Using easy tools to build a custom personal website
- How to choose and buy a great domain name
Get out there and get building!
For more amazing career tips, check out the rest of the ZipJob blog here.