Some argue that the personal website is outdated, done in by the socials. And a few even say the same for the professional website too. The thinking is that LinkedIn has made it obsolete.
Is this thinking about personal and professional branding correct, or does it deserve to be reexamined?
Definitely the latter. No matter what you do for a living, a personal or professional website (or both) still has an important place in your branding lineup.
But that website has to stand out. Here’s how to make that happen today.
1. Use a Mobile-Responsive Template That Looks Great on Any Screen
With each passing month, the temptation to go “full mobile” grows. If your website remains unbuilt, you’re no doubt wondering whether it needs to read well on a larger-screened device at all.
It does. Many visitors to your website will arrive via laptops or desktop machines. Perhaps a slim majority, depending on the types you attract.
Of course, your website also needs to look good on a mobile device. So address both needs with a mobile-responsive design.
2. Link Out to Positive Press Mentions
Your website won’t be the most-visited node in your digital footprint, at least not to start. But it’s probably the best place to curate positive press mentions featuring you and your organization. The professional website for Steve Streit, the founder and former CEO of Green Dot Corporation and current founder and lead partner of SWS Venture Capital, shows just how effective a relatively simple, well-maintained listing of press mentions can be. One glance at Streit’s website and it’s clear that he’s a professional.
3. A Strong, Concise Personal Statement (Or Value Statement)
This statement should read much like your CV’s personal statement or cover letter. It shouldn’t simply restate their content, of course, unless you’d like prospective employers or investors to assume you’re not particularly creative. Make it short, sweet, compelling, and original above all.
4. Recent Examples of Your Work or Achievements
If you work in a creative field, this is the place to show off your best, most recent work. If your work product doesn’t translate as well to portfolio format (say, because you’re in the business of making deals) or is too confidential or proprietary to share, showcase your achievements in concise written briefs or videos, or link out to press mentions where applicable.
5. Positive Client or Colleague Testimonials
Positive client or colleague testimonials – endorsements, really – are especially important if you’re actively hiring yourself out. Even if you’re ensconced in a full-time role or have all the consulting work you can handle, take the opportunity to burnish your public image. You never know when a new opportunity will arise.
6. A Blog That You Actually Update
Your website should have a blog that’s clearly associated with it, whether as a page within the site’s top domain, a semi-independent subdomain, or an entirely different domain linked out from your main website. This is critical both for content marketing purposes (over time, a well-done blog attracts organic links) and for personal branding purposes (a well-done blog establishes thought leadership).
Who knows? Your blog might take on a life of its own, like serial entrepreneur and current Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s, leading to potential partnership (and income) opportunities you can scarcely conceive of right now.
Don’t Wait to Tell Your Story
Your personal or professional website won’t build itself. To create a web presence that really stands out while also complementing your existing social media presence, you’ll need to put in real work.
It’s absolutely worth it. A great website tells your story better than even the best LinkedIn or Facebook profile can. While you’ll do most of your digital engagement on platforms like those, it’ll serve as an operations center for your digital life.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to tell your story – today, not tomorrow.