Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
Everyone, across industries, needs a website. Below, Jess Catorc, entrepreneur and creator of DIY Website Academy, expounds upon the value of a personal website, then gives advice on how to build your own.
A website gives you control over your image.
“Whether you are applying for a new job or starting a side project, most people will search for your name online,” Catorc points out -- something that most of us know to be true, having done our fair share of name-Googling too.
“Having the control over what information you would like to share (including your achievements) is such a powerful thing,” she says.
Building a reach now can help you later.
“While your website and brand will always evolve, growing your traffic and reach will, over time, give you a huge advantage and possibly change the reach you have with future projects,” says Catorc.
The more extensive your site is, the better impression you’ll make -- and reaching more people means more connections, opportunities, and so forth.
A website allows you to stand out from the competition.
Catorc explains, “Depending on the industry, focus on highlighting your unique strengths and identifying what things make you stand out. If you are applying for a new role, include your past (and relevant) experience, things you have done (such as volunteer work, projects etc.).”
In this way, a website can function similarly to a resume. However, a personal website has the freedom to be much more extensive and engaging, since it allows for the inclusion of photos, work samples, and even testimonials.
Other tips for building a website:
“If you are including photos of yourself on your website, ensure they are high quality. This is critical for the first impression your web visitors (and potential employers or customers) will have of you,” says Catorc.
She continues, “Less is more. Rather than overcrowding your web pages with too much content, think of the key things you would like new web visitors to see. This could include a summary of your CV, short bio and even a list of places you have been featured or companies you have worked for. The key with this step is to only showcase the most relevant content.”
How to get started?
Catorc recommends using the self-hosted version of WordPress, hosting via Bluehost or another reliable company. When it comes to actually building the site, she has a few specific recommendations.
Looking for custom fonts and professional graphics? “Creativemarket.com,” she says. “This will make your site not only stand out but look professional and put together.”
Want help with graphic design? “Canva.com. If you are not experienced using Photoshop, Canva is a great (and free) alternative to creating your own graphics design elements (including image banners, headings etc.).”
Done with your site and want to get feedback? “I would highly recommend Peek User Testing (http://peek.usertesting.com/).
You can submit your website and get a recording of someone's first impressions, thoughts on the layout and navigation of it. It's a great way to hear an unbiased review of your site and potentially give you some new ideas to improve it.”
The best time to start building a website was yesterday, but the second-best time is today. Get your name out there, build a personal brand, and stay competitive.