Let’s play a game: name one successful company that’s in business today but that doesn’t have a website.
I personally can’t think of any, because no credible business today can afford not to be in charge of their online presence. And really, the same goes for you.
In my opinion, it really doesn’t matter what your ultimate goal is; a personal website will help you stand out in a crowd and give you the platform you need to position yourself for success. It’s really the easiest way for you to inform the world about who you are and what you do, to build credibility, and to position yourself as the expert in your field.
So what exactly is a personal website and who needs one?
A personal website is exactly that: a website that contains information about a person (you!) as opposed to a company or organization. And in my opinion, anyone looking to advance start a business, advance their career, start a side-gig, become a blogger or influencer, public figure or artists needs to get themselves their own website ASAP. When you build your own website, you gain full control over your communication; you get to decide how the world sees you.
And let me add that in a best-case scenario you have your own domain and URL. That means you’re running your own show and are not reliant on any 3rd party platforms. But more on that a bit further down. First, let’s talk about WHY.
This is hands down the most important reason why you need your own website: you need to make it as easy as possible for people to find you and get in touch with you.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, career climber, artist, or something else, your website will allow potential clients, employers, or anyone looking for your brand of special sauce to find out more about you and contact you about potential opportunities.
In my over 17-year long career, I cannot even tell you how many times my clients, colleagues or even I got a big break simply because we were the only visible option!
There is no better place to exhibit what you do best than on your own website. Use your site to show the world your unique talent, whether you’re an solopreneur, scientist, artist, cook, accountant, good listener or problem solver… you name it! There is an audience for your talent and someone out there is just waiting to be inspired by you.
Having your own website will allow you to build an audience that is interested in exactly whatever it is you do best.
3. Position yourself as the expert in your field
I want you to use your website to build an association between your name and your unique talent. You absolutely do not have to wait to get ‘discovered’ or promoted, or published in order to start influencing your reputation as an expert at what you offer. Sure, those things all help. But think of any publicity you get as the icing on your cake (and your website is part of the cake!).
4. Build your thought Leadership
Your website is the perfect platform for you to start building your thought leadership. By that I mean publicizing your ideas, your framework, your specific approach to whatever it is you do.
Start conversations about issues that matter to you
Tell your story
Invite your audience into your world.
5. Control your brand
I always say that your brand is where your story, your strategy, and your style combine. Having your own website makes sure you are in complete control of each of these factors.
You need to be the one defining and telling your story;
Your website needs to be customized to your needs and support your strategy;
Your website needs to showcase your unique style and highlight what makes you unforgettable.
And all that publicity you’re now getting? You need to make sure it’s in-line with your brand. You can influence what is shared about you by providing appropriate media and information on your site.
6. Elevate yourself above your competition
There are a lot of aspects to this point, but let’s start with social media:
Sure, Linked-in, Facebook, and co. are important places to present yourself, but I want you to see social media platforms for what they truly are: opportunities to socialize and build networks. They should absolutely not be your main business card. Why not? Well for one, you aren’t fully in control of what is going on. You will never have 100% knowledge about how your information is being used, and you have to squeeze yourself into a mould that millions of other users have squeezed themselves into as well. Also, are you the only one with your name on Linked-in? Facebook? Twitter? Probably not.
Not exactly the best way to elevate yourself above your competition, right? So please, think of social media like a meeting where you are just one of many participants.
Professionalism: nothing says ‘I’m ambitious, confident and professional’ better than your own curated website. A well-structured and well thought out site will put you miles ahead of your competition and help build trust in who you are as a person.
And for all you career rookies and career climbers out there: a great personal website can be a real game changer in your next career move or application process.
7. Own it
Have you read all the fine-print for each platform you’re on? I know I haven’t. But I do know that anything and everything you’re sharing on social media can live on with or without you for pretty much eternity.
That said, I also have no idea what the state of social media will be in 5, 10, or 15 years down the road from now. So I make sure that whatever I share is secure on my own site and system. If you’re putting in the time and effort into curating your personal brand, creating content or sharing photography, you need to make sure you have secured all your material and that you maintain ownership of it!
8. Think ahead
Has anyone ever told you to dress for the job you want, not for the job you have? That’s what I want you to do with your website as well. Think of the life of your dreams, and what goals you want to accomplish. Building a great website takes time, gaining visibility in search engines takes time, building a reputation takes time. Get started now and build a site that supports whatever dream you are dreaming and moves you closer to achieving your goals.
Project Personal Website – Your Action Plan
So what now? You know I’m all about action plans, so here’s what I want you to take care of over the next couple of days to get Project Personal Website rolling.
1. Reserve your domain
Do this even if you aren’t planning on building your own website (yet). The monthly cost is a minimal investment compared to the benefit.
Secure your name as a domain (ex: firstnamelastname.com). You don’t absolutely need a .com address, you can use your country extension as well, or try adding a ‘-‘ between your first and last name.
You can do this through various providers. I personally recommend 1&1 Ionos because you can purchase as much or as little from them as you need. When it’s time to build your site you can use one of their click & build systems, use WordPress or even build an online shop. And they have awesome customer service.
Of course, your website will grow with you. As long as you’ve secured your domain name, you can now take the time to build a site that you are proud of and that really reflects who you are and where you want to go in life.
Next time I’ll be sharing my favourite personal websites with you so you can gain inspiration for your own site.