A personal website might seem like something for freelancers, photographers, or celebrities. But, in the ever-increasing digital world, personal websites are becoming the key for young professionals.
Creating my personal website is still one of the best investments of time and money I’ve ever done for myself. This platform has opened doors beyond what I could’ve imagined. What shocks me is that only 7% of job applicants use these babies. So let’s dive into what you can use these for, how to make one, and how to use it to leverage your job.
This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
What is a personal website?
A personal website is a website just about you. It’s your resume, portfolio, and cover letter all in one place. It’s not your lifestyle blog, your business website, your travel blog, or your feature somewhere. Traditionally, your first and last name are the domain. It includes your experiences, skills, and accomplishments. It is amazing because you are amazing!
Personal websites matters
Personal websites are becoming so relevant because millennials are multidimensional. Traditionally, resumes are for one career focus. Our talents and accomplishments just don’t work on a resume anymore.
This isn’t because we’re not focused, it’s because we have so much to offer. We likely have skills, experience, and interests in several categories, so putting them on one piece of paper doesn’t make sense.
A website adds those extra dimensions. It can show how your various interests connect. These websites aren’t just ways to show your professional accomplishments, it’s a way to show all your accomplishments and continue to grow as you do and your career does.
How can my personal website help me?
Applying for jobs
Perhaps the most beneficial part of having your personal website will come along when you’re applying for jobs. With the job market more competitive than ever, you need something that will help you stand out. All the employer needs to do is click the link to your website and in 30 seconds they have a sense of who you are.
You can link your social media accounts to your website and the other way around. This way you’re connecting with your peers in a professional light. Your peers are your professional network, and making that connection for them takes those relationships a step further.
If you’re traveling but don’t want to start a travel blog, or do want to blog but want your blog to have more than one focus, you can make your travels just one part of your website. Your entire blog can be just a section. This way, you can still keep friends and family up-to-date, but keep your online presence professional and reflecting more than just that one aspect of your life.
Even if you have no experience freelancing professionally, you still probably have plenty of skills and qualifications people would pay for. But, how they are going to find you unless you put those accomplishments out there?
What do I put on my website?
This is where you get to completely personify your website. Let your creativity and your accomplishments shine through. Here some ideas to put on your personal website.
You’ll want to include your professional experience, but also include your professional goals and aspirations. Here are some examples of professional assets to include. It’s up to you what to display.
- Your resume
- Your major/ background on your education
- What you’re interested in
- What your dream position is
- A “Hire me” page
- Direct link to your LinkedIn
- Your alma matters
- Academic achievements
- Notable research papers/ your thesis paper
- Significant professors that you’ve studied with
- Other languages you speak
- Study abroad
- A short bio about you
- Contact information
- Your volunteer experiences
- Your personal achievements
- Photos of you doing what you love/where you love
Where can I put my website?
1. Social Media
Link your website in the URL option of Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram (though make sure all of your social media is appropriate for the public!). Link it also on your LinkedIn, and link your LinkedIn to your website.
2. Your E-mail
You can edit the signatory block of your e-mail so that it includes your website URL. I would do so directly below my name, even above other contact information in my signature block. This way it catches peoples’ eyes and they are likely to click on it.
3. Your Resume
Just like you’ll do above, stick your website URL under your name at the top of your resume. For this, I would do my website at the bottom of my contact information (below my address, phone number, and e-mail address). This will catch HR representatives’ eyes and give them a chance to quickly get a glimpse of you in a sea of applicants.
4. Your Business Cards
Along with a personal website, I encourage you to have personal business cards. Even if you have professional ones from your current employer, having personal ones allows you to connect with others from a different industry in a more fluid way. Your business cards are excellent real estate for your personal website.
Do you see the power of personal websites? Great! You’re ready to build your very own.
How do I start a website?
Starting your own website isn’t as scary as it sounds. Let’s walk through the steps together and you’ll have your website up and kicking in no time.
1. Choosing/purchasing your domain
Personal website domains aren’t as complicated as naming a company, business, or blog. Most often, your personal website is just your first and last name (as mine is). If you don’t want to be as public, an easy fix is to not use your full name. You can use your middle name, your initials, or get creative. You’ll still put your website on your resume and social media as you like, so only those you give it to will be able to find it.
You can then buy your domain name from whichever domain site you choose. I like hover best because of their great customer service. Something essential for the less tech-savvy (me!).
2. Choosing your host
You’ll now need to decide which company will host your website. There are an ever-increasing amount of web design options (Wix and Squarespace, for example). I recommend using WordPress, however. It is a bit more difficult initially because it’s not as intuitive, but it’s so much more customizable because of that. Most importantly, it’s your website. This is your personal website. You want to have control over it.
So, if you will have a WordPress site as I recommend, you need to find a hosting service. I highly suggest using Bluehost. It starts a whopping $3.50 a month, the customer service is excellent.
You can find my step-by-step tutorial on setting up a website on Bluehost here.
3. A note on style
Once you have your website technically set up, you’ll want to dive right in and create away. Keep that enthusiasm! But, before you start posting and paging away, I recommend taking a couple minutes to define your website’s style. Inconsistent fonts, colors, photos, and tones in texts will make your website look sloppy and fast.
Pick 3-4 colors and 1-2 fonts that you’ll use throughout your website and stick to them. If you want more information on styling a website, this is one of my favorite posts on the topic.
If you follow the steps above, you’re on the right track to making an awesome personal website that is completely your own! Once you set your website up, it’s done and there for all to see. It doesn’t take a lot of maintenance but can provide you with an evergreen platform of your accomplishments. Plus, they’re fun to make!
Your personal website is the step you’re taking up to get serious about your career and your potential. If you have any questions on how to set this up, please ask below. And if you do make your own site, please paste the URL below and let it shine!
Ready to set your personal website up? Do you already have one? Grab my checklist below to make sure your personal website is doing its job!