There’s an overabundant of people in the digital age making a name for themselves. It’s difficult to position yourself and stand out from the crowd.
Having that unique digital social presence is a career hack and a personal website provides that. You may have a social media profile, but they are too easy and do not represent a person’s skills.
How do you stand out from the crowd?
Build A Personal Website
Building a personal website is one of the best things that happened in my career.
A personal website was good to have before, but now it seems that having a website is as important as having a resume. Maybe it’s even more important now.
Here are 5 reasons why building a personal website boosts careers in the digital age.
#1 – It helps you get a job
Companies want to see the digital footprint of applicants. A personal website is a portfolio, body of work, and a better resume. It showcases your skills
This is the breakdown:
Resume = meh
Resume + Social Media Profile = ok
Resume + Social Media Profile + Personal Website = good!
Resume + Social Media Profile + Personal Website + Content = great!
Having a resume when job hunting is the standard, but standing out from a crowd is difficult. Having multiple social media profiles came into the picture because recruiters check candidates on the Internet.
But now, with a personal website, you can attract recruiters and managers more. Even better if that website has content that speaks to your personality.
A personal website showcases not only your current skills but also your potential value. It also serves as your career objectives. It helps you ‘show and tell’ your overall capabilities on what you can bring for the company.
Tech jobs like a digital marketer, web developer, web designer, or a web analyst can showcase their skills through their personal website. If you’re a fresh graduate or someone who is leveling-up skills, building a website can give more valuable experiences.
#2 – It’s close to running a business (that might turn into an actual business)
Building a website is a stepping stone to starting your own business. You can “test the waters” and you learn how to market your services on your own. You can start this as a hobby that turns into a business.
When you create a website, you become an entrepreneur. It’s close to running a business without investing too much capital and you’ll be forced to answer some challenging questions.
You’ll think of product-market fit and value proposition. Question on what type of content, product, and service you can provide.
It’s your voice and brand and you’ll answer questions like, “what makes me different from the others in the market?” You’ll face questions on what makes your voice different even if you’re not selling a business (not yet at least).
You’ll learn search engine optimization. After all, you’ll be exposed to search engine algorithms because you’ll stumble upon how to rank your website.
#3 – Test your writing skills and create a blog
A blog serves as a portfolio, which is related to the first point. Blog posts serve as resources for other people. You can create content that is valuable to your target audience. Content help solve your target audience’s problems.
Writing is the hardest thing, but it can also be the most rewarding. With patience and dedication, there’s a chance to rank on search engines (if you do it well long-term).
Write how-to guides (or any type of content) about your niche. This content serves as the ultimate resource your target audience can go back to.
Expressing your creativity and having fun is a by-product of writing a blog. From technical writing to creative writing, it’s a fruitful past time to let your creative leanings run wild.
Recruiters and hiring managers read your expertise. This is added value in addition to the first point.
#4 – Learn design and coding in the process
Building your website helps you learn to design and code on a technical level. A website challenges you to think “programmatically”. It challenges you to think like a designer and developer.
From color choices to HTML markup required in changing web pages, building a website helps you learn technical skills that are in demand in the digital age.
There are many moving parts and this is a gateway to learning other things. You learn web hosting, domain registration, content management system, plug-ins, URL structuring, web analytics, etc.
Coding is a valuable skill in the digital age. Even though you may not be working on coding all the time, having a basic knowledge of code goes a long way in your career.
#5 – Be an expert and an established authority
This is the culmination of all points above. A personal website where you publish useful content helps you establish authority and thought leadership when you continue to share valuable knowledge with your audience.
Hubspot defines thought leadership as “to become recognized as an expert and used as a go-to resource in your field”. Hubspot also describes it as, “Creating and publishing thought leadership content takes time and is a long-term marketing play.”
Cultivating an audience is the end goal of creating content. Build a newsletter audience! This opportunity leads to bigger things in your career by accident. You are considered a subject matter expert in the long-term.
3 Things To Start Building Your Personal Website
Building your 1st personal website is daunting at first. There’s a learning curve and there’s a lot of work. But it all comes down to 3 main things.
#1 – Web Hosting
Think web hosting as buying land. You lay the foundation to build your house. There are many web hosting that you can start research on. There are many types of web hosting.
The 3 main types are:
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting
All three have their pros and cons. Unfortunately, you need to research on your own since this is a different discussion entirely. Watch videos on YouTube or read articles. There’s an experiment that low-quality shared hosting could be detrimental to SEO. I recommend getting quality hosting from the start.
#2 – Domain Registration
Think domain registration as registering your home address. This process is where you name your domain to whatever you like. Example: mykickassdomainname.com
There’s a difference between domain registration and web hosting. They are bought separately depending on the web hosting provider you go for. You need to research on what’s best for you.
There are web hosting providers that have domain registration options already. You’d probably go for the web hosting + domain registration solution if you’re starting with your 1st website.
#3 – Content Management System
Think content management system as the construction of your house. It’s an application to manage all your web content and digital assets. It’s the “website platform” in layman’s terms.
Once you sign-up and get the CMS up and running, choosing a theme or template is the next step. This is where the fun begins. There’s a lot to cover there so check other online resources.
All CMS have commonalities and that is designing pages and can write blog posts. This is where you upload photos, videos, and other digital assets that you use to design and write content.
I recommend WordPress.org since my experience in SEO and digital marketing leans on WordPress. Please, stay away from Wix! 😂
Some web platforms can run an eCommerce store on top of their systems like WooCommerce for WordPress and Squarespace. Do additional research to compare.
Conclusion – building a personal website is worth it
The fulfilling aspect when building your own “digital asset” is creating and control. You share ideas and someone on the Internet stumbles upon your good ideas.
I’d argue that creating a personal website is more valuable than a resume and social media profile. It’s an investment that yields positive results in the future.
There’s no excuse not to have one in this new digital age. Once you gain enough experience in your industry, it’s a necessity to put your personal brand out there.
Building a personal website leads you to directions you never knew existed and I encourage other people to build their website during this health crisis.