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What can a personal website do for you?

Most of us know the benefits of a company website. They’ve become our first port of call for checking out what that organisation offers; we use it to find out what they do and how they do it differently. We compare that business with its competitors and see whether we want to buy from them or not.

From the business’s point of view this is fantastic – not least because their website lets them control the message you’re getting about them. Sure, you can google them and find out reviews and try to track down people who’ve had a positive or negative experience. But if they do it well, give you the right experience and make it easy to buy, they may be able to convince you that they’re the one to go with – then and there.

Guess what, all these same benefits apply to a personal website too. If you’re in the market for a job, if you’re looking to grow your profile, or even if you’re after a promotion or pay rise, a personal website can be gold. After all….

You are not a company

Consider this… the average length of time that someone stays in a job in the United States is now just 4.6 years. In Australia, it’s probably not much different. That means, statistically, you’re unlikely to be with your current employer for that much longer.

So, if you’re hitching your mast to your employer’s, hiding your skills behind their branding and letting their website and positioning in the marketplace sell your skills and expertise, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

If you’re in any kind of services industry – such as real estate, law, financial advice, accounting – that’s probably obvious enough. That’s because you, as the professional, really are what brings value to the business, Everyone already knows that. Without your knowledge, experience and networks the business wouldn’t be able to survive. So the need to position yourself properly if you’re ever going to build a career is obvious.

Another group for whom a personal website is a no-brainer is franchisees. Often the franchisor will only do so much for your marketing and branding. A more personal touch that speaks directly to your clients or customers and speaks to your individual market can work wonders.

But it’s broader than that

Because, while professional services and franchises are the most obvious examples of where this problem lies, I don’t think they’re the only ones who could do with a personal website. No matter what line of work you’re in, a personal website will let you speak to future employers, clients and others in a way that’s just not possible through other means.
In the creative industries, designers, art directors and copywriters have been doing this for years: having their own room to show a portfolio of their work: ad campaigns they’ve worked on or ideas they’ve developed.

When it comes time for a pay rise, when they’re considering moving on, when a business is out there looking to headhunt, this is what they can point to and what states their case.

Why shouldn’t people in other industries take a leaf from our book and build their own online portfolio of work too, in the form of a website?

Isn’t that what LinkedIn is for?

I can hear the response already… I already do that, it’s called LinkedIn.

Well, yes and no.

Sure, Linkedin is great if you want to display what you can offer in a format that’s built around a CV. But really, can a CV show off all your talents and achievements and position you the right way? I don’t think so.

It’s also built around words, and while there’s now the ability to stick up a video to support what your content, even that’s a bit limiting and one-dimensional. There’s not really much scope for story-telling or narrative.

But there’s even more to it than that…

We’re not rational

Like it or not, we don’t always connect with things rationally, and LinkedIn provides little scope to do anything but that. It’s formulaic. There’s little scope to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ and there’s very little room to engage people with anything other than a brief summary of who we are and the projects we’ve worked on.

I think it’s pretty hard to get a full sense of who someone is and what they do just through a LinkedIn profile.

Besides, most of us aren’t solely word-based people. We like visuals, we like colour and we connect with information on many levels. Unlike LinkedIn, a personal website lets you:

  • Use visuals to reinforce your message
  • Give people a three-dimensional experience
  • Show off your projects in a way LinkedIn simply can’t
  • Use SEO keywords to drive people to your site
  • Connect with people emotionally, not just rationally
  • Be as creative as you want to be without having to worry about templates
  • Become a publisher and drive people to your site with high-quality content
  • Emphasise whatever you want and provide whatever experience you want.

You’ve taken time to build your relationships

And it’s often your skills that your business’s clients or customers are benefiting from. A personal website can let you take advantage of that, giving you repository for all your experience that’s transportable, rebrandable and lets you maintain a relationship with your clients regardless of where you end up.

It also lets you position yourself the way you want, not the way a social media platform tells you to. Who could resist that?

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how a personal website can help you.

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Written By: Michael Menzies