Have you put off building your personal website for way too long?
Or do you have a half-dormant, sort-of website that you’d prefer no one you know lay eyes on?
Either way, the task before you — turning your website into something to which you proudly direct colleagues, prospective employers, and/or potential clients — is more manageable than you might think.
In fact, you can do these six things to improve your website tomorrow. In your spare time. Really. Let’s go!
1. Feature Your Elevator Pitch Above the Fold
Do you have an elevator pitch yet?
If not, get busy. Crafting an elevator pitch is a straightforward process, but it requires some soul-searching — and a degree of decisiveness with which you might not be comfortable.
Once you’ve set out your pitch, include it in written form above your website’s fold: that is, where visitors can see it without scrolling. You can’t miss serial entrepreneur Vivek Rajkumar’s elevator pitch here, for instance. Remember, we’re talking two sentences at most — just the essence of what you stand for.
2. Include a Contact Form
You can certainly include your email address on your contact page, but you’ll lose less-motivated visitors with forced cut-and-pasting. Reduce contact friction with a contact form that routes queries directly to your personal email address — or, if you expect to get a lot of questionable outreach, a specially designated address separate from your main inbox.
3. Add a Portfolio Page and Slider
You’ve done great work. Now, feature it! Add a portfolio page to your nav bars and a visual slider that rotates through the work displayed on your page. Bonus points if your slider elements link out to live offsite URLs of your work.
4. Write a Blog Post (Then Another, and Another, and…)
Start blogging today. Your posts don’t have to be masterworks, nor particularly long (though they should be long enough to get the thumbs up from search engines). They just have to exist. Nothing says “I don’t maintain my website” like a dormant blog. Plus, blog posts are shareable, meaning they’re great external traffic drivers.
5. List Your URL on Social Properties
List your site URL on your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, assuming you’re not intentionally siloing your personal and professional lives. Since social profiles rank well in organic search, prominently displayed personal website URLs can really help drive traffic in the early going.
Perfection Is in the Eye of the Beholder
What is perfection?
The short answer is, it depends. Your vision of the absolute perfect website is likely to vary a great deal from your colleague’s, even if you work in close quarters and do pretty much the same job.
While it’s important to follow best practices like those outlined above, be wary of anyone who tells you there’s a paint-by-numbers solution to building a fantastic personal website. A creative website that truly encapsulates your skills, passions, and character will always win out over a corporatized facsimile that airbrushes away every last trace of your personality — even if the former has a few warts here and there.