11 INSPIRING PERSONAL WEBSITES
A few weeks ago (in this blog post) we talked about how you can use a personal website to build your brand and effectively market yourself. Now I’ve put together a short list of inspiring personal websites to help you get started on building your own. A curated website is your calling card to the world; it’s where you can show off the very best of what you have to offer, and also clearly communicate what you are looking for.
Your digital first impression
In this digital age, you’ll likely make your first impression long before you ever meet someone in person, so it should be one of your top priorities to build a purposeful and cohesive online presence. Do you want someone’s first encounter with you to be over some old spring break pictures from your university years or a plethora of cute dog videos (even though I love cute dog videos!)? A personal website will help you make the first impression YOU want to make.
There’s no need to create page after page of content just for the sake of trying to build an impressive site. In fact, some of the most effective (and impressive) sites I’ve visited contain only 1 clear, concise page.
Back in secondary school (that’s high school for any non-Quebecers out there), I had an English teacher (her name was Sister Ginny) who had a great response to the age-old question, “how long does my essay have to be?” She always told us that a great essay was like a great skirt – long enough to cover the subject but short enough to keep it interesting. She was so right, and her advice keeps helping me over 20 years later.
Apply Sister Ginny’s wise words to your website and you can’t go wrong. Keep your goal in mind and remember: your site needs to reflect you and your goal, not someone else’s! Use this incredible platform to highlight the best of yourself and let the world know what you have to offer.
Inspiration for building a great personal website
If you’re like me, you like to gather a little inspiration before starting on a new project. So to help you get started, I’ve pulled together a few of my favourite personal websites to serve as an inspiration to help you build your own amazing website. All the sites have been created by ambitious women (with the exception of one man!); they are entrepreneurs, artists, students, and career climbers.
I’ve also tried to pull together websites that showcase different levels of website-building knowledge, and also women who are at different stages of building their brand – some just at the beginning, some already very advanced. The point is, of course fancy websites are cool, but a clear, simple or even basic site will work just as well.
And to be clear: I am not in any way suggesting you copy these sites! I am presenting them only to help get your creative juices flowing.
Inspiring Personal Websites for Career Climbers
This is a phenomenal example of what a personal website can be: clear, focused, and clean. Callie Schweizer has an impressive bio, but what appeals most to me about her website is how well she’s curated the information she’s presenting. There’s no overload and definitely no superfluous pictures or text.
Anna is a graphic designer currently working as a podcast editor for College Info Geek. Her website is super clear, engaging and concise, but one of the things I love most about it is her ‘HIRE ME’ call to action.
Pascal van Gemert
Pascal is the only man on this list, but I just had to include his website because I think it’s a fantastic example of how you can showcase exactly what you are all about. I love how on-topic Pascal’s site is, and how he has presented his credentials. In addition, he’s peppered his ‘Interactive Resume’ with quotes and plenty of insights into his personality. Who wouldn’t want to work with this guy?!?
Inspiring Personal Websites for Solopreneurs, Freelancers, and Artists
Lisa is a freelance photographer specialized in ‘on location’ shoots; she shoots weddings, families, and home stories. I had the pleasure of working with Lisa earlier this year and her website perfectly mirrors who she is and how she works. The site is clean, easy to navigate despite lots of content, and absolutely authentic to Lisa’s personality and photography style. Her motto – Love. Life. Happiness. – oozes from every single page.
Ilze is an amazing artist that’s basically been drawing since she could hold a pencil. She’s created a streamlined website that puts her passion front and center. I love that the black on white design of the site underscores exactly what she does.
Ilze uses her website to showcase her portfolio, provide information about herself, and of course to provide a means to get in touch with her. The site doesn’t currently contain a shop function, but she is working on building one so she can begin monetizing her passion.
Ellen S. Riley
Ellen is a presentation designer at Airbnb, and she has created an amazing personal website to showcase her talent and offerings. I love that she’s used bold colours and animations to highlight what it is she actually does. She’s also got a clear offer on her ‘about’ page inviting us to connect if we’re interested in what she’s putting out there.
Inge’s a young theatre artist in the Netherlands who also writes and directs. Her website clearly describes what she is about and what her focus is on as an artist; she also shares a curated selection of her work. The navigation is unusual but not difficult, and actually ads to her brand of artist. I love that her site is as colourful and playful as she is.
Inspiring Personal Websites for Entrepreneurs
Reshma is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, which is an American non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and programming industries. Her website is very straightforward (no crazy design elements) and clearly communicates who she is, what she is about, what she is working on, and how you can work with her.
Sigrun is my mentor, but that’s not the reason she landed on my list.
I love how Sigrun’s website is clearly all about her and her business. After all, she IS her business. It’s not always easy to pull off combining your personal brand with your business’s brand, but I think Sigrun does a really good job of it. The site is concise (considering everything she has on offer), and provides information on her credentials and her offers.
Inspiring Personal Websites for Career Rookies
There aren’t many websites (and even fewer good websites) by career rookies. This means you have the chance to jump on the bandwagon now and really stand out!
Kimberly’s site has grabbed more than just my attention. Her site has been featured on a whole plethora of blogs and websites raving about how great of a job she has done in communicating her offering and getting her profile out into the world. The design is simple, she’s got a blog area for creating content, and she’s clearly positioned her resume in the menu as well. Hers is an example to follow.
Gemma’s website presents a portfolio of her work, along with basic information about who she is and what she does. The design of the site isn’t anything to write home about, but she still does a good job of presenting her awesome work and communicating how to contact her.
What your website looks like and communicates depends entirely on you; there’s no right or wrong. The examples we just looked at included super trendy and fancy websites, alongside really streamlined and basic sites. Your website’s main job is presenting focused and curated information about you in a way that best communicates your position. How your website does the job is entirely up to you.
When I help my clients build their websites, I always give them 3 guidelines to follow:
Follow these 3 guidelines and you’ll build a site you’ll be proud to share and network with.
Project Personal Website – Your Action Plan, Part 2
There are so many really solid personal websites out there. Your job now is to start exploring the sites of people that inspire you and start developing a vision for what your site could look like.
Pay special attention to the design of the sites that you spend the most time on and ask yourself why a particular site grabbed your attention. Make a list of factors and be specific.
Was it the information that was presented or the way it was presented?
Was the site easier to navigate than others?
Did you learn anything?
Maybe the author just absolutely fascinated you and pulled you into her story?
Was the topic super clear?
I’ll be putting up a checklist to help you build your own website next week so keep an eye out for it! It’ll be available in the ‘Free Resources’ area so if you’re not signed up yet make sure you sign up here!
What were your favourite sites from the ones I listed above? Or do you have any inspirational personal websites to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!
Your Personal Brand Architect,