In the design world, if you don’t stand out, then you won’t get ahead. You need a way to get your name out there and show off your work without sending your portfolio to half the world!
A personal website provides the perfect platform to show clients and potential employers what you can do.
Follow our 5 easy steps and you’ll learn how to create a personal website and stand out from the crowd.
How to Create a Personal Website
Although it appears daunting, if you follow the steps below you will learn the processes required to create a fantastic website to show off your skills:
1 – Select Your Domain Name and Host
You can’t build a brand without a recognizable domain name.
You need something simple and unique. As you are trying to get your name out there, the best choice is always your own name or your trade name.
Double check to make sure that there isn’t a competitor with a similar name. You don’t want to send prospective clients to the competition!
Although it might be tempting to use a subdomain to save some money, the opportunity cost isn’t worth it. Your own personal domain looks much more professional and gives clients confidence in your ability.
Unless you are planning on running your own server, then you will need web hosting.
There is no end of providers out there. Often the same domain registrar you used to secure your domain will offer web hosting as part of the bundle. Make sure to shop around for the very best deal.
Most providers offer different packages. Make sure that you aren’t paying for services that you don’t need. It is important to have the ability to deal with increased traffic for when you get popular.
2 – Platform
You won’t be able to able to show off your abilities if you don’t have the systems in place on your website to back them up.
Unless you are an aspiring web developer, you will most likely want to use a Content Management System (CMS) to help run your website. There are a lot of options on the market, so be sure to look around for the one that best suits your needs.
WordPress is the most well known CMS, and for good reason. You will be surprised at the variety of websites that WordPress is powering.
Most hosting companies have easy to use tools to add a CMS to your website – many can be installed in 5 minutes from a built-in control panel!
As the CMS runs your website in the background, it won’t be a simple process to switch later. Make sure that you are happy with everything your chosen CMS can offer before you commit.
3 – Design
With the back-end of your website up and running, you can work on creating a great looking design. Most CMS systems will have several stock themes to get you started. Pick the one that most matches your vision and tweak it to your heart’s content.
Remember, although your personal website provides the infrastructure to show off your portfolio, it is also part of it!
Make sure that you build a solid foundation upon which to build the rest of your site. 51% of web traffic now comes from mobile devices. Don’t miss out on traffic by failing to support mobile devices.
Once you have put together the design, you can look at what content you will need for the launch of your site.
4 – Content
Some websites consist of nothing more than a personal homepage, but if you want to stand out, you will need to show more.
When adding any copy to your website, make sure that it is well written and easy to read. Bad copy will scare visitors off and prevent them from coming back.
Start with base content that you will not be updating much. Your personal bio and contacts page will form the base of your website, so you want to start there. Once these are looking good, you can move onto your portfolio.
Prospective clients will see your website portfolio as a “greatest hits” for your work. If there isn’t enough to grab their interest, they will move on.
Relevance is key. Don’t pad out your website with everything you have ever done. Choose representative examples that show off what you can do in your target market. Your visitors need to immediately see what you can bring to the table and understand your message.
5 – SEO
So, you have created your website and filled it with your fantastic content. But you aren’t quite done yet. More than 1.5 billion domains have been registered since 1993. If you want any hope of standing out, then you need to make sure that your site looks inviting to search engines.
Search engines rank websites higher if they are full of quality content, so you have already completed the first step. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will bump you up the search results, giving you the traffic that you deserve.
Search engines index the web, following links between websites, looking for keywords. They then assess the relevance of each page against searches. Figure out the keywords your clients will be searching for, and do your best to organically include them in your copy and page names.
This can seem daunting, but there are a host of SEO tools out there to assist you in getting your personal website search engine ready.
Your Website in No Time
So know you know how to create a personal website, and by following those 5 steps, you’ll be up and running in no time.
Once you are all set up, make sure that you keep your website up to date. Trends in design change rapidly, so you need to keep on top of your website to keep your portfolio and the website cutting edge.