A guest post by Artur Meyster.
These days, having a personal website is mandatory if you want to maintain your visibility online.
Whether you want to show your skills or to monetise your content, a website will be beneficial. There are several ways to create a website, so this guide will explore popular methods which you could consider.
Why you need a personal website
Although this wasn’t popular a few years ago, today a website can help boost your career. A Personal website can make you more visible to people in your industry, increasing the possibility of landing a job, because you have highlighted your achievements in your personal online space.
Ask yourself this question: What do you do when you’re looking for a brand or personality? You Google them. What if someone could find your website when they Google your name? Wouldn’t it make it easier for everybody to know about your job and your journey?
Adding a blog to your website allows you to have a diary of activities. Austin Kleon, author of Show Your Work, describes in his book the importance of revealing what you do everyday.
People used to say “magicians never reveal their secrets”, but this isn’t the case in terms of digital marketing. Storytelling always sells more, and is a good way to get an audience’s attention (even if we have to reveal some secrets along the way).
You may think to create a website, you need to have Web Development skills, but we aren’t all coders. However, hiring a web developer will give you the benefits of having an expert to create a functional website for you.
It’s worth considering hiring a freelance web developer and designer. You may be wondering: “Aren’t those the same thing?”, but they’re not.
While a web developer works with programming skills and algorithms, web designers handle the visual aspect like the layouts, fonts, and colours which work best. Both professions complement each other and work towards the same goal: building a functional and presentable website.
According to some WebDX statistics, 94% of your website’s first impressions rely on web design, so this is a crucial aspect of building a personal website.
Once you’ve found suitable people who fit your project, you can discuss the best ways to proceed. Keep in mind which kind of elements should stand out, such as the style you want, and the perspective you want to show.
Using a website builder
Creating a website with builders or no-code platforms is perfect for people without coding knowledge. Although you will still need to learn how to use this no-code method, it’s easier than acquiring programming skills.
First, identify the best website builder: the most common are Wix, Ukit, and IM Creator. Despite their similar approach in website-creation, these platforms can differ from each other. This is what you have to do:
- Register for an account.
- Select a design or template. There will be some templates that are more expensive than others, but there are always some free versions.
- Now you can customise your website. This means selecting the colour palette, layouts and fonts you’d like to use.
- Choose a domain name that represents you. This should be both catchy and professional. Your domain name is the first thing companies see when they find you.
- Upload your content, or otherwise your website won’t get any traffic.
- Create your SEO (search engine optimisation) parameters. SEO is crucial for online visibility, so spend some time selecting keywords which people are searching for.
- Publish your website once you’re ready to go.
How to create a personal website with CMS
CMS means Content Management System, which is another way to build your personal website. You need to decide which CMS platform you’re going to use. The most popular ones are WordPress or Joomla. WordPress is the best option for a personal website. This is what you need to do:
- Buy an integrated hosting for your website. CMS websites need to have external hosts to give you your own internet space.
- Think carefully about your domain name which represents your message before purchasing one.
- Download your CMS platform into your hosted account.
- Install relevant plugins. These enable you to customise your website and create particular functionalities which will help improve your website’s performance.
- Buy and upload a theme and customise your website to give it your personal touch.
- Upload your content with SEO-friendly techniques and adjust the SEO parameters of your website.
- Now you’re ready to publish your website.
Learning web development
Although today we don’t necessarily need to have web development skills to build a website, coding is something that would be very handy for your career.
Without coding skills makes it hard to communicate with developers. Besides, accelerator programs usually prefer to work with startups with founders with coding skills. This will also help you to continue running your business even if you run out of resources and aren’t able to pay developers.
Having coding skills will help you understand the nature of your digital products and so you’ll be able to coordinate better with developers.
It’s easier than you think to become a web developer. Most web development boot camps are shorter than six months. Some of the most popular schools to learn web development are Springboard and Flatiron School. Both give you all the tools you need to master programming skills.
With Springboard, for example, you’ll not only learn about the basic programming languages like HTML or CSS, but you’ll also be able to dominate more complex ones like Python or Django.
About the author
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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