If you are serious about your career development, you should consider having your own personal website that you would use as a career marketing tool whether you’re actively seeking another opportunity or just wanting to position yourself effectively for when the time comes to make a change.
This would be in addition to having a fully optimized Linkedin profile which is a must have. If you don’t have time for both, then stick with Linkedin but if you want to really up your game, you can add the personal website.
It’s not that difficult
Setting up a personal website can actually be easy. You don’t have to know how to code or even be strong in website design. Many of the website builders use nice looking templates that you just populate with images, text, links, and video.
You don’t even need a multi-page website. In fact, it’s recommended that the less pages and the simpler the website design, the better since it’s easier to navigate for the reader. Depending on your needs, you might be able to get away with just a few pages or even just one.
Who benefits from having a personal website?
If you are a creative professional or work in digital or media, you would be a great candidate for having a personal website, but you don’t have to be in a creative field to benefit from this.
There are people in academia, life sciences, manufacturing, and other non-creative industries who use a website to showcase publications, articles, awards, research, product development, among other things.
There are different approaches you can take which will vary depending on your field and what you are trying to achieve. If you are in a non-creative industry and you don’t have a lot to actually “show”, you could publish a blog which is good way to grow online influence and credibility.
TOP 3 REASONS TO HAVE PERSONAL WEBSITE
#1: You can control your branding
Branding is the image you want to present to the world – or at least, your target market. Ideally, you will want to come up with a design that identifies and differentiates you from others in your field.
Most personal website platforms will let you customize many things such as fonts, text placement, banner and background images, and other things. The list can be quite extensive depending on which service you go with.
Unlike Linkedin which is a uniform look you can’t customize, a personal website will enable you to create a consistent design and “look” that lets your personality and brand shine through. That way, when someone lands on your website, they will get an instant impression of who you are.
The objective is to keep your branding consistent across your marketing collateral (résumé, cover letter) and other social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc) so that you eventually become instantly recognizable. It also just looks way more impressive and professional when you have that consistent image.
#2: It makes you look technically competent
This is especially important if you are considered an “older” worker.
As you’re probably aware, ageism does exist in the hiring world. Many employers have the impression that older workers are afraid of technology and not willing to learn it, which is obviously not the case, but it can be a common perception.
What better way to bust that myth than to create and manage your own website? Of course, if you’re going to do it, you want to make sure that the finished product looks great and has strong content.
It doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact, the simpler the better. It’s more about looking polished and professional.
In any event, whether you’re 26 or 62, a nicely branded personal website can help you market yourself and your expertise.
#3: It makes a great portfolio
Many people are visual in nature, so the more you can show your accomplishments, the better. It will have much more impact on the viewer.
While you can “show” accomplishments in a résumé by creating strong impact statements that support your claims of greatness, it’s still just words on a page. A personal website kicks this up a notch or two.
For instance, let’s say your résumé states that you built a blog or website sales page. If you have a personal website, you can direct the reader to the blog or sales page which will provide more concrete and compelling evidence as to why your work sets you apart from others.
Your personal website can be your digital portfolio where you show samples of your work, articles you’ve written, activities you’ve engaged in, etc.
I know an engineer who had impressive photos of massive energy equipment that he helped to design, build, and maintain.
If you don’t have a ton of work examples, you could show activities that you’ve participated in such as
- Workshops and conferences
- Trade shows
- Community initiatives and volunteering
- Personal activities provided they are relevant to your target field (e.g. showing you completed a rigorous bike marathon shows you are active, competitive, and like to stay fit which would be desirable traits)
By providing specific examples that illustrate your skills, knowledge, experience, and unique talents, and personal attributes and qualities, you are in effect giving undeniable evidence of your value.
Cheap and cheerful services
There are plenty of services out there where you can create and manage a personal website. Some are free while others charge fees that vary depending on the kind of features and functionality you need.
If you just want to test the waters, you could try one of the free services like About.me and dooid.me. Other services that charge a monthly fee but are still very affordable are: WordPress.com, Weebly, and GoDaddy but there are lots more.
Some sites will let you make sub-pages and add social media feeds. If you just want a stripped down landing page, check out About.me.
Just an FYI – the free services will most likely give you a url that is the website name + your user name. So, my personal website url would look like this:
Creating a custom domain
You can create a custom domain with many services, but you will need to buy a domain name and then you might need to upgrade to a paid service to do this.
So, for instance, a custom domain for me would look like this: dianafoster.ca I actually do have that but haven’t used it.
To get a domain name, you might be able to buy it through whatever service you decide to go with. Or you can check out services like Namecheap or Godaddy, but there are many others.
Expect to pay about $12 to $20 per year for a domain name. It’s typically cheaper when you buy more than one year at a time.
What to include in your website
Now that you’ve got your hosting platform and domain name (optional), you need to build your website. Most of them are super easy to use and typically drag and drop type of scenarios where no code or design expertise is required.
Here’s are the key things you need to include on your website:
#1: Professional-looking headshot which could be the same one as your Linkedin profile or something different
#2: A blub about who you are. You might want to include a mission statement and a longer bio
#3: Links to your professional social media profiles such as Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, your blog
#4: Contact information
#5: Links to other things such as your résumé, the company where you work, and anywhere else you want to send people
Once you’ve got the basic information set up, you can then start adding other things such as a link/button to a scheduler so that people can book an appointment with you. You can included downloadable documents or a call-to-action button that sends the viewer to a sign up page for your blog/newsletter.
There’s a lot you can do with a personal website. It can be a lot of fun to create and can also be immensely beneficial for your career development, particularly if you are positioning yourself to change jobs.
Do you have a personal website? If not, why? I’d love to know!
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.
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