“Personal branding”, the word itself reveals what it has to say. It’s all about branding your personal business. You might have heard many people buzzing about it. Almost all say that you should develop your personal brand but what does that actually mean?
Firstly, you should understand that there are a lot of different elements that you need to consider when you think about building a successful personal brand. One of those elements today is a personal website.
No doubt, anyone can launch a personal website. However, it offers more benefits to some professionals as compared to others. Today, though we have easy internet accessibility, it’s a harsh fact that, if you don’t manage your online image, it will manage you.
You might have posted embarrassing pictures of you or tweeted something in a ugly manner in your young age. But would you post those pictures now or tweet in the same way when you are looking for a good job or planning to start a business? Not at all. This is because your recruiters, future employers and potential clients first check your social media accounts and so, you start controlling your online image.
Basically, anyone who wants to create an impression online – maybe for a new job or big client, display their portfolio, promote a project or simply connect with the similar-minded netizens –can do that via a personal website.
1. A personal website offers you control when it comes to representing your business personality
Since website building is customizable, most of the hiring managers prefer personal websites instead of any other branding tool for selecting a candidate. In a personal website, your audience expects you to showcase more of your personality and expertise unlike your social media networks such as LinkedIn that requires you to fill out the specific content sections with heading which are non-editable.
2. You become more accessible via a personal website
When you simply put yourself on the web, you give the potential clients, customers and recruiters, a chance to find you.
3. The content on a personal website is owned by you
Situations such as content disappearing or having to deal with any social feed algorithm get changed as you control everything on your personal website.
4. A personal website helps to build your personal brand
A personal website allows the freelancers and business owners can build an audience, place themselves as experts, and start engaging clients. As per the 2017’s study by Upwork, the freelance workforce is rising three times faster as compared to the overall workforce in the United States. By 2027, freelancers are expected to frame the majority of the U.S. workforce.
How to Build a Personal Brand with a Personal Website?
So finally, you’ve decided that you want to build your personal website. What’s the next step? Create an action plan for moving forward.
Check the below steps to build a successful personal website:
- Get your personal domain name.
- Get a professional email address including your domain.
- Select your website builder.
- Create your website content.
- Optimize your content and click on publish.
Usually, you can easily start a website with any platform that you feel comfortable with. But the first thing that you need to do is to buy a personalized domain name as without it you can’t have a personal website.
In case you are just starting, you don’t need to have a planned website design for registering a domain name. In fact, it is better to get plan your website design at first so that after buying a domain name you can just start designing.
If you are building your personal website and still want to get some usage out of your domain name, you can redirect that domain to your Facebook Business or LinkedIn page. As per Verisign there is a steady increase in the number of .com and .net domains that redirect to a social profile.
In case you are new to the process of selecting a domain name for a website, check these basics:
Reasons You Need a Great Domain Name for Your Website Address
In simple words a domain name is the URL that users can type in the web browsers for accessing your website. You can’t remember the IP address (strings of numbers) that the computers you to access websites and so the domains names were developed.
As per 75% of small businesses domain names are important for their business.
Tips to Select Your Personal Domain Name
While building a personal brand, the most common thing to go for is FirstNameLastName.com. Majority of people or businesses select the .com extension as it is considered to be more trustworthy and authoritative and also easy to remember.
But in case this domain name isn’t available for the combination of your first and last name, you can try different variant of your name (yournameblogs.com) or select a different domain extension completely.
Apart from .com, you can select other domain extensions as below:
- .net: This extension is generally treated as trustworthy.
- .me: A .me domain name doesn’t just spell out your company name but speaks what you stand for, as an individual and as a business.
- .location: This extension is specially used for location specific domain names. So if you want to connect it with your first and last name then your domain name will appear as FirstNameLastName.fr (France). With this people will be able to identify you with your name from that particular location.
Registering Your Personal Domain
After selecting a domain for your personal website and ensuring its availability, it’s time to register it.
It’s a general rule to choose a domain registrar that offers 24/7 support and ICANN registration.
ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and it is the organization that manages domain names on the internet. It works on matching domain names with the appropriate IP address numbers, managing IP addresses (in addition to other protocol numbers), and operating part of the DNS.
- Register variations of your domain name: Make sure that your domain name isn’t used by others by using a different domain extension ending. You can also consider using various domain variations to point to different parts of your site. For example, you can use the .bio domain extension to link your About page.
- Add domain privacy: Domain privacy is very important if you’re using personal information during registration. WHOIS keeps a record of all sorts of personal information (including addresses and phone numbers) that anyone can view.
- Keep your domain registration up-to-date: The worse thing is to find out your domain been purchased by someone else after it expired. There are several domain registrars that allow you to auto-renew and you should to secure a potential future issue.
- Verify your domain name value: Domain names that have history and brand authority are valuable. This is the reason people can buy and sell them for an extra price than the normal price. Now you have registered your ideal personalized domain, you’ll want to setup a professional email to match.
Reasons You Need a Professional Email Address
Besides your personal domain, your domain-based business email address makes you appear as a professional to your prospective clients.
Not just that, your business email address also helps in easy recalling, legitimizing business transactions and not advertising other businesses with each message you send. This is because when you use @gmail or @yahoo you share your brand with them.
Use Your Personal Domain to Set Up a Professional Email Account
Since you have purchased a personal domain, setting up your professional email address isn’t much technical.
You can opt for Google’s G Suite for setting up the cloud-based tools required for basic business management along with the professional email. You can also opt for creating a free email with your domain and connect it with Gmail for easy access.
Things to do After Setting Up Your Email Account
After having your professional email set up, ensure you’re following these steps for overall personal branding success:
- Create a professional email signature.
- Check if there are any issues with sending or receiving emails by sending a couple of test emails (and also check if your email signature appears).
- Revise your business cards and other security with your new email address.
Now, you have built your personal website. The real work starts when it comes to building your personal website into the final product.
The good news?
You can create a professional website using many free and affordable tools for which you don’t require web development experience. This ultimately means that you don’t have any reasons for getting the website ready.
But prior to planning on your website’s look and feel, first consider the elements for a great user experience, and direction for selecting the right website builder for your project.
Important Website Features
Your website design should comprise of the following:
- Responsive design: Internet is accessed by more than half of the world’s population via their mobile phones. For getting the attention of this majority share of the market, you have to ensure that your site design is responsive on both desktop and mobile.
- Fast page load speed: You should optimize for page speed because users leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Since page speed also contributes to a good user experience, it is also one of the search ranking factors of Google.
- Intuitive navigation: Generally, people rely on navigation than search when finding something on a website because it is easier and faster. Therefore, making your website easy to use and content easy to find has a positive effect on the website traffic you get from search engines. As per the three-click rule it shouldn’t take more than three clicks to complete a preferred task.
Simply speaking, while evaluating design options think as per the user’s point of view.
Selecting a Website Builder
There are several website builder tools available but selecting the right one for you can include multiple factors right from how comfortable you are with it, your specific needs and the size of your website to the current resources you have with you for making further updates. Prepare a checklist of questions to ask yourself when selecting a website builder.
You can select from several website builders such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, about.me, Mobirise, etc. to build your personal website.
Hire a Professional Web Developer
If you don’t want to use the website builder tool for your website, you can hire a professional to take the complete responsibility of building your website.
After your website structure gets ready, you should now add some content to your website.
Below are some of the top basic pages and pieces to add to your website:
An elevator pitch means a brief, succinct statement of your website niche. Simply speaking, it’s a brief statement of what you do. May it be that you’re selling goods or services, or just telling the world who you are, a concise, carefully crafted elevator pitch should appear in the front and center on your home page.
It is not compulsory to have a tagline, but if you include one on your website, it can increase recall and can make you memorable. If a tagline is place in front and center on your website’s header, it helps people know what your website is about regardless of what page they land on.
About Us Page
This is the second most-viewed page on a website. New visitors are the first one to check of the About page to learn more about you, if they like your website.
Remember a good About page can open doors for you.
Here you can even add your story, display your best skills and mention how you stand different from others.
Don’t write a complete history of your life on the About page. Instead you can just mention the pointers:
- Your Identity
- Your Passion
- Your Objective
- Your skills and experience
- Your service
Portfolio of Your Work
Your personal website is a chance to display your best work then may you be a photographer, writer, web designer, graphic designer, web developer, artist, or even an actor. Include examples of projects you’ve completed, client work by you, or articles you’ve published.
You will severl portfolio plugin options to choose from in WordPress, as well as specialized themes made for portfolios.
You can also showcase your good existing client testimonials to add credibility and serve as a proof that you are the best.
If you haven’t yet asked for client testimonial make sure you ask your happy customers to share their views about your service or blog.
Contact Us Page
Make sure you add all the mediums of contacting you on the contact us page. Include your business email address, phone number, social media handles, etc. so that visitors can contact you.
Add a blog section to your website if you want to, but I would recommend adding it compulsorily as it can help immensely to improve your SEO and also build thought leadership.
Optimize the blog for search so that the target audience can easily reach your blog, if they are searching for some information.
This is because when you constantly create high quality content for your site, Google selects the one that is more comfortable and recommends your site in relevant search results.
Adding content frequently also helps in earning Google’s trust as visitors start spending longer time on your website.
If you are not getting the time to write the blog posts yourself, you can hire a freelance content writer to write for you.
Now that your website content is planned, it is important to know the process of optimization of it for search engines prior to hitting publish.
Optimizing for search engines helps users to find your website and great content keeps them engaged on your website. Additionally, it also increases your organic traffic. This can mean that you don’t have to opt for paid ads.
Creating search-optimized content also allows you to build your brand by establishing credibility and authority, helping you to stay ahead of your competitors.
For your information, the top result gets 20.5% of the total clicks while the rest of the pages have to fight for the remaining 50%.
Why On-Page SEO is Important?
SEO can be classified in terms of three major categories: technical, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO.
In on-page SEO, each and every page on your website is optimized. It deals with both technical SEO (in terms of URLs, optimizing page titles, and meta descriptions) and website content.
In simple terms, on-page SEO ensures that search engine crawlers understand the meaning and context of your pages.
Share Your Content
Share your content on social media to get more views for your website. Below are some important guidelines to follow for content sharing:
- Share the content you find helpful from your website as well as other websites.
- Include social sharing buttons so that the visitors that find your content relevant can share it.
- Create visuals along with your logo or brand name to create your identity. So, when people view the social media posts, they will immediately think of you.
- Repurposing blog posts in the form of posts on social media also helps in improving your visibility.
For off-page SEO (building backlinks), do guest blogging for other websites in the same niche. Apart from SEO, these efforts can help you boost industry authority and can flash a mutually beneficial long-term business relationship.
Introduction to Structured Data
Search engines are machines that rely on algorithms to crawl websites. In this process a set of binary data is read.
Therefore, there is a need for structured data (or schema).
Structured data allows search engines to process content more like humans than like robots. It helps to display the summary of your page on search engine results pages in a more accurate format. For example, this might include product information, business addresses, or ratings and reviews.
Though you aren’t a web developer, you can integrate structured data into your personal website. For WordPress users, you can start by using the Genesis Framework, the Yoast plugin, or even the Schema WordPress plugin.
So, finally you have learned to build your personal brand with a personal website. The pointers mentioned about will surely help you in building your personal website. Remember your personal brand will help you to build a professional business in future. All the Best!