Today’s job market is as competitive as ever - with the influx of multi-talented individuals from having grown up with the internet as a resource, the advice to creating a personal website is as ubiquitous as creating a resume (although having both is always better than simply having one or the other).
A personal website is more than a CV and a calling card. It can be an incredibly powerful tool to fully communicate what you can do as a creator or as an expert in your field, and when done right, can become your primary space of engagement to find work rather you having to seek out clients in many job search platforms. The short of it includes your contact details and work history - maybe even an eye-catching portfolio, but there are many ways you can make your personal pages your own and make it stand out.
If you’re still unsure, you can read an in-depth reasoning of why building a personal website is important here.
What can personal websites do?
Essentially, personal websites can:
- Work as a digital resume
As a digital resume, a personal website can simply be a place for you to house your work and education history while opening a channel for contact. This is a basic building block for those whose work and skill set does not necessarily translate visually in the same way photographers and artists do and still be able to give themselves an edge in both the traditional and gig economies.
One of many personal website examples of this is Gary Sheng’s - a developer and co-founder of a social enterprise of civic entrepreneurship called Civics Unplugged. His personal website is designed as a resume in reverse chronological order - starting with a photo of himself and then a long scroll down into his current work and then outlines the journey it took for him to find his calling. He has a cheeky invitation to “dive deeper into his brain” to get to know his work philosophies and links to his own think pieces before finally leaving you with the ways you can contact him.
- Include a blog
To have a blog embedded in your website has both a personal and professional benefit. Depending on your line of work, having a blog can boost your credibility in your field, or allow your audience to engage with who you are outside of your main calling. Today, blogs are a living and changing account of the milestones and lessons in your life that you want to share like a personal newsreel. These posts could include insights in your field of work, practical advice, and other value-oriented content that work to make you both professional and likeable.
Take Michael Seibel, who’s a co-founder and CEO of both Justin.tv (now Twitch) and Socialcam, before selling both entities to Autodesk Inc and Amazon respectively. He’s a recognized authority on advice on starting a startup and a personal investor and advisor on various companies and funds. Like the previous example, his work isn’t necessarily visual in nature but he generates and receives value from outlining advice through essays and videos that you can find right on his personal page.
- Be a portfolio
If your work is that of a visual medium, then a personal portfolio website is key to establishing yourself as an asset and potential hire or casting choice for actors. A website can be a venture into a new canvas - to find a way to make your space your own through showcasing your personal, professional, and collaborative outputs.
For digital artists, you can take inspiration from Emilio Rios who does brand work through designing various assets and animating logos. His website greets you with an animation of his logo, and then takes you down into a featured album of his client and personal work.
Cynthia Blair’s personal website is a great example for those who work as a professional artist in the traditional medium. Though she also works as a web designer, her space brings her paintings and traditional art to the forefront.
Read more about more out of the box web designs for specific niches like makeup artists here.
Whatever medium you choose, you can create your own impressive online portfolio with the right tools and take inspiration from other templated personal website designs available anywhere.
- Act as a calling card
Specifically, a calling card with a world-wide reach! Back in the day, calling cards were a way to exchange information quickly with the people you wish to network whether it be for traditional artists, makeup artists or actors, or industrial designers. While that’s still an excellent way to do it - especially in certain social situations, having a website allows you to do that digitally while also allowing new viewers to see exactly the kind of work you could do for them. With the right domain name, new clients can easily look you up and contact you while only remembering your name. Plus, it makes it easier for your previous clients to recommend you to other potential clients as well.
- Bonus: House your event details
Did you know that you can make personal pages for your events? A popular trend is to create eye-catching event websites for dedicated functions which include concerts, weddings, or professional conferences. If you’re working with a organizing team, an event website can be an excellent hub to share organized information for attendees that include RSVPs, schedules, and highlights. Professional plans even allow you to change a website’s privacy settings from public to password-only to suit your needs. Besides visual artists, a personal website can also be a calling card for Professional Gamers and Gaming Clans.
Whatever the need, a personal website is a malleable thing that you can make your own to suit your personal needs. Interested? Then you’re at a great starting point.
How can I make a personal website?
Here are the key steps:
- Choose a website maker - most website makers can start you off with a free trial for you to experiment with. This is a key first step for those who want to foray into building their website for the first time, but don’t know where or how to begin. These platforms also typically have free templates for you to use for a faster learning curve in figuring out your style. Here’s a guide on what makes a great website template for your reference - we don’t want you to get lost in a sea of options!
- Design your site - after experimenting with templates and color palettes, you can start making the space your own by adding your personal assets - these could be photos, art pieces, essays, or other key items you want to add to your personal website designs.
Write an About Page - describe yourself professionally in 1-2 paragraphs for a dedicated page about who you are as a career person, and create an elevator pitch (3-5 sentences) version for your homepage. Your personal pages are a reflection of who you are professionally, and an about page works as you pre-answering basic interview questions. This gives way to more direct inquiries and discussions of your work since potential clients will have reviewed your website and make the first step into working with you when they know what to expect of you.
Additionally, if yours is a career that involves personal development or a career in constant learning, you can create a newsletter to be in constant engagement with your potential audience and introduce it on your About Page too.
- Showcase your work - as previously mentioned, this could be in the form (or combination) of a comprehensive blog or visual portfolio that will inform your potential clients of the exact kind of work you do. Having both personal and professional outputs on display allows your clients to evaluate how you can provide the unique solution and make the decision to hire you based on what they want and what you’ve provided for others. Check out great ways other people have showcased their skills and outputs with their portfolios to give you an idea how you can show off yours.
- Share your professional contact information - depending on your personal preference, you can create a dedicated page for contact but also pepper in your contact channels in various pages in your website. The key ones to include are your email and phone numbers, but social channels are also important for client engagement. Some website hosting platforms even offer a personalized professional email that comes with getting your own domain, immediately upgrading yourself from firstname.lastname@example.org to a email@example.com at yourdomain.com. Learn more about owning your domain and other considerations you need to know before checking out your cart.
No matter what field or niche you fall into, or no matter how expansive your skill set is, anyone who wants to set themselves apart should have a personal website. As a new skill, building personal pages is a great jumping off point and can domino into a knowledge of what good design looks like. When you curate your own professional profile portfolio, it’s a declaration of your commitment to your career and beliefs and can make you more memorable in the eyes of recruiters and popular among your desired audience.
In a personal website, you are the brand. Create yours now!