People often associate building a website exclusively with making money online. That is a good reason to have a website, but there are other important things about a website too.
One of most significant reasons for having a website is as your own personal branding. This can increase your chances of getting employed and play a role in your career progression overall.
Despite this, most people don’t even know how to build a personal website, or even that they should have one.
So, what is it about a personal website that makes it so special?
Honestly, there are a lot of different things.
Personally, I think one of the most powerful things about a personal website is that you can share almost any valuable information about you with potential employers. This makes it a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd.
One of the interesting things about a personal website is that there really isn’t anything standard about them. Everyone will make their personal website differently and this really doesn’t matter.
In fact, the way you design your site and the content you put on it provides an illustration of who you are and what you have to offer. One of the strengths of a personal website is that you can really show off your personality and your professional strengths – things that often get hidden within the traditional resume format.
Having a personal website lets you promote yourself as a brand and it is so much more engaging than just handing someone a resume.
When you look at how to build a personal website, it might look like a lot of work.
While creating the site itself isn’t too difficult, getting it to look the way you want it to and getting the right content on it can be considerably more time consuming. Honestly, I think the work involved in making this type of website (or any type of website really) is why people don’t bother.
Getting a job (or a promotion) has never been about what you know, it’s all about who you know. Ultimately, having the right connections can go a long way in your job seeking and you may find out about opportunities that you never even knew existed.
The vast majority of jobs are never advertised. If you want a shot at any of these jobs, then you have to find a way to get noticed, and building your personal brand is a big part of this.
For the most part, people tend to take a pretty passive approach to job searching.
They hand in their resume and hope that it stands out against others.
This is always tricky, because there is only so much information you can put on a resume, and it’s really difficult to sell yourself in a resume.
A website is a much more active approach to job seeking.
For starters, it is something that you can continue to focus on and build, adding to it as you go along. You can also share many different types of media, such as text, images, videos and files.
So, for example, you could use your personal website as a way of showing samples of some of your work whether this is a piece of art, a project, a piece of writing or something else entirely.
What do You Put on It?
Figuring out what to put on a personal website is surprisingly difficult.
One of the first things you want to look at is what you actually want to say and what image you want to portray.
As long as it is professional, you can just about put anything on your website. For example, you might talk about a hobby or something that interests you, or you might share some relevant news.
You can (and should) include a personal bio where you provide important information about who you are and what you are good at. If it is relevant, you should also include samples of your work (but this one really depends on what field you are in).
Now, your personal website doesn’t have to be huge.
Most people don’t try to rank in Google for their personal website, instead, they share it by means of approaches like business cards, their resume, word of mouth and sites like LinkedIn.
Honestly, the only think you would really want to rank on for your website would be your name, and you will probably achieve this anyway unless you have the same name as someone famous (in which case, all the SEO in the world probably won’t help you).
Things to Consider
Technology has become a huge part of society, and its role continues to increase.
It’s already clear that many employers are looking at personal websites as an indication of the skills and suitability of a potential employee and people with a personal website do have an advantage in the job market.
Despite this, most job seekers don’t have a personal website.
Some don’t like the idea of having to promote themselves, particularly as having a personal website really is a form of self-advertisement.
Others think that just because companies don’t ask for a personal website, having such a website isn’t necessary.
Additionally, some people find representing themselves on a personal website to be confusing.
With a personal website, you are trying to represent yourself in a professional manner, making yourself seem like somebody that a company would want to hire.
This means that you don’t post many of the things that you would post on social media, such as photos of a party or comments about how bad you are feeling.
However, the catch is that you do want to inject some of your personality into your personal website. If you don’t, the site ends up being stale and boring and doesn’t really fulfill its purpose.
Finding this balance can be tricky, but it is very possible.
One trick is to ask yourself whether you would want your mom/grandmother/boss to see what you are posting. If you don’t, chances are what you want to post doesn’t belong on a personal website.
When it comes to a personal website, it’s important to realize that this is an ongoing commitment and something you should continue to work on even when you have a secure job. It takes time for your online brand to become strong, and you want to be in the position where people can contact you about your professional qualifications.
Building a personal website is basically building a personal brand.
You have to understand that the brand you build cannot be different than who you actually are. In particular, your brand can’t be contradicted by your other behavior online.
For example, people often think they can have a personal and a professional self on social media by having different accounts, but this doesn’t work.
Anonymity doesn’t really work online, and sooner or later a potential employer is going to find something that you don’t want them to see.
Because of this, one of the most important parts of how to build a personal website involves taking the time to make sure your social media activity is professional.
I know this is a real pain, particularly if you use social media a lot.
However, the more embarrassing things there are about you online, the more likely your potential employers are to find them.
Actually Building the Site
The process of actually building your personal site isn’t that difficult.
There are a lot of services out there that provide free website development, often using template-based approaches. This makes it very easy to set up a website even if you have never done it before.
Personally, I suggest purchasing your own domain and hosting when you are able to, because this makes you look more professional.
One good free tool to get started with is siterubix, which you can find at Wealthy Affiliate.
Now, Wealthy Affiliate is a training site for building websites and making money online. You do need to sign up to use siterubix, but you can sign up for free and you can stay on a free membership the entire time you use Wealthy Affiliate and siterubix if that’s what you want to do.