A personal website is a place where you can publish anything and share it with everyone. People can find it on search engines, it can be shared on social media and other websites can link to it. You can make some pages public, others private for you, family and friends, or have sections that people have to pay to access. A personal website offers tremendous scope. But, why should you have one? Well, here are five good reasons.
1. Recruitment boost
Many people use a personal website to give them a boost in the jobs market. They use their skills and experience to write blog posts that help others in their field to solve problems. Doing this positions them as an expert and shows how knowledgeable they are. Organisations looking for solutions search for and find these posts online and can contact you or send your details to their recruitment company should a vacancy arise that they would like you to apply for. For greater reach, you can also share any posts you publish on your website on platforms like LinkedIn or on relevant forums. You can also add your website address to your CV.
People in all fields use a personal website in this way: joiners, chefs, childcare workers, teachers, lawyers, financial advisors and gardeners. If you have skills, can solve problems and are looking for a new or better job, a personal website is a very useful asset.
2. A home for your skills, interests and hobbies
Personal websites are the ideal platform to let people know about your skills, interests and hobbies, whether that’s to showcase the things you produce, talk about the things that interest you or give helpful tips to others. If you search the internet, you’ll find lots of people do this. Travel enthusiasts write about and share images of the places they have been, hen keepers give advice on how to look after chickens and photographers and artists share portfolios of their work.
It doesn’t matter how unusual your hobby, it could be making crazy cakes, recording historical coal-hole covers in London, or spending your time exploring abandoned buildings, there are other people who would be interested in what you do and would enjoy visiting your website and even learning from you.
Of course, a website can be used to let people comment on what you publish and get int touch, so who knows what it could lead to? It got Amir Dotan, the coal hole hobbyist, mentioned above, a slot on the BBC’s The Boring Talks Podcast.
3. A family record
You can create websites where the pages are only viewable by people who log in. These types of website are ideal as a place to keep a record of your family. A mixture of a family diary and photograph album, this can be a central place to store all your family memories, making them accessible to those who you want to see them and hidden from everyone else.
What’s more, you can even allow others in your family to contribute, so if you’re not there for something, someone else can log in and upload a photo or video and write about what happened. And with it being online, the record will always be there as a family history for generations to come and no matter where your family are, they’ll always be able to access it.
Of course, these sites are not always about families going forward, many people use them to tell the stories of their family history. People who use sites like Ancestry often share some of the most interesting stories on their personal websites for the rest of their extended family to see. Some even post publicly about the exciting family history they are researching.
4. Supporting a cause
If you have strong beliefs about a particular cause that you want to raise public awareness of or which you think needs wider public discussion, a personal website can help make your voice heard online.
While social media can be useful for voicing opinions, it doesn’t allow people to discuss things at length. A website does. What’s more, you can post links to your web content on social media so people can visit your site and read what you have to say in full.
If you enable comments on your website, you can also read other people’s opinions or hear their stories and this can be useful in garnering support for your cause. So, whether you’re seeking a change in the law, promoting the work of a charity or aiming to tackle an important issue, a website can be a springboard for change.
5. Take control of your online identity
You can get a website with your name as the domain name (e.g. yourname.com), but only if no-one else has registered it. While someone with the same name might have done this first, it is also possible that someone with more malicious intent has bought the domain to take control of your online identity. There are plenty of fake websites, just as there are fake social media accounts. As everyone Googles everyone, these days, it’s important that what appears online is authentic. Securing that domain name for yourself is the first step to doing so.
The second step is getting the website online. If you have an own-name domain and people search for you on the internet, the chances are that your personal website will rank highly on Google. This means they can read what you have to say, rather than what other people say about you. As having a personal brand becomes increasingly important, especially for those in business or the public sphere, getting your personal website secured and published can be very beneficial.
It has never been cheaper or easier to get a personal website. Domain and hosting prices are very inexpensive and with free, user-friendly software like WordPress, building a site is about as difficult as creating a presentation on PowerPoint. Once set up, you can use your personal website for a wide range of purposes: helping you get a job, showcasing your interests, skills and hobbies, creating a family record, promoting a cause or securing your online identity.
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