(This post was written for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Blog)
December 1, 2010
Setting up a personal website is a simple power move that will put your personal brand into overdrive (or at least take it out of park).
Yes, “personal branding” seems like an overused, cliché buzzword being exploited in every workshop or conference session. Nevertheless, does personal branding actually matter? Yes. As young professionals, it matters even more. Personal branding defines and sets the pace of your career path early on.
But, I’m not here to convince you that personal branding is important, Rosetta Thurman, a leader in the young nonprofit professional community, already has a bank of information that will do that for me:
- Why personal branding is the most effective career tool for young professionals
- 7 ways to build your personal brand without releasing a sex tape
- How to start a blog and build your personal brand in the nonprofit sector
I’m here to tell you why setting up a personal website is a simple power move that will put your personal brand into overdrive (or at least take it out of park).
1. It makes life easier for your contacts.
The idea of making a personal website might seem a little vain at first. But websites aren’t only for tools! The truth is you probably already have an online personal brand. So why not make life easier for your contacts?
If you can just give them one simple link, yourname.com, not only will you get tech-savvy cool points, but also nothing will fall through the cracks. They’ll have your LinkedIn, email, Twitter, and hopefully a pretty good idea of what you’re all about in one, convenient place.
2. It’s easy and affordable!
Making a nice, clean website is easier than ever.
- Register your domain name (yourname.com). Is your name not available? Get creative and think of something that still evokes your name, like Nicole Harrison did with SocialNicole.com.
- Choose a platform to create your website! Here are three easy options:
While there are many other platforms available, Squarespace is my favorite. It's extremely intuitive, so no worries if you’ve never touched web design before. It has built in hosting, a blogging platform, image galleries, website analytics, great tech support, and much more. You can try it for free, and if you like it, it’s only $12 a month (including hosting).
Don’t be scared. Take a stab at it.
3. It doesn't have to have bells and whistles.
Your website can be simple. I’d recommend for starters, just a few pages: About, Resume, Blog, Connect/Contact. Not ready to commit to the time suck of a blog? Totally understandable—static websites are fine too.
- About: Give your audience a clear vision of who you are. Do you have a personal mission statement yet? If so, it’d go here. No? Go write one.
- Resume: Just upload your resume or provide a simple work history synopsis.
- Connect/Contact: Plop down all of your other online profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc). Also, make sure to provide either an email link or a contact request form.
“I made it, but what the hell do I do with it?” Push your site! Now you only have one link to deal with instead of several, but no one knows that until you promote it. Include a link to your website on everything—email, Twitter bio, business cards, LinkedIn, etc.
A personal website can be simple. Don’t let it scare you. You can always develop it more as time moves on, but just start small for now. Remember, it’s easy for all the aspects of who you are to get lost in the social networking black hole. So simplify. Gather up all those aspects and create a virtual “home” for your personal brand. Your network will thank you and, more importantly, remember you.
Here are some examples of simple, personal websites: