Do You Need a Personal Website? 6 Tests to Know for Sure

Do You Need a Personal Website? 6 Tests to Know for Sure

You have a Facebook account, a LinkedIn profile, probably an Instagram and Twitter account too. (You might be anonymous on those last two, but who’s counting.)

Maybe that’s just the start. In any case, you’re pretty well covered online. People know where to find you, and if they don’t, Googling your name turns up the properties you want them to see.

But a “well-covered” web presence isn’t the same thing as a great web presence. Or even a good one. Quantity is important — you want those first few Google results to show properties that actually belong to you, rather than less flattering content — but so is quality. You want your web presence to look good.

That probably means you need a personal website. Not just a prebuilt blog on a site like Medium, although it certainly won’t hurt. An actual old-fashioned website with its own domain name and everything.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. This is why you should be sure that it’s worth the effort. Use these six tests to determine whether you really do need a website of your own.

1. You Want Total Freedom to Present Yourself

Being truly authentic and transparent online is not as easy as it appears. We’re constrained by the platforms we present ourselves on, and while there’s a wide range of possibilities within those constraints, there’s still no substitute for a custom-built website that we fully control.

Your self-presentation goals don’t have to be lofty. This personal website is basically an extended biography, for example. But without word limits or design constraints, it tells a much more nuanced story than a LinkedIn profile or Crunchbase listing.

2. You Have Stories to Tell

Maybe that “story” is a vibe, an essential facet of the identity you want to share with the world. Or maybe you literally have stories to tell and you need a flexible longform medium to tell them.

In the first case, a visually stunning, media-rich website is where you’re headed. In the latter, you’re a blogger, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Either way, you need a medium with as few constraints as possible.

3. You Have Insights to Share

The same logic applies when your primary goal is to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. Thought leadership doesn’t accrue overnight, and like a muscle, it can atrophy without regular use. 

A personal website is a natural place to create thought leadership content without immediately opening yourself up to criticism or judgment. You’ll want scrutiny eventually, and perhaps sooner rather than later, but it’s nice to hone your craft in semi-private first.

4. You Have a Common Name

The Tom Smiths and Barbara Joneses of the world deserve to stand out too. You can create a unique social media presence, of course, but you’ll be sharing space with a lot of your fellow-named. That can create confusion among the people you’re trying to reach.

Far fewer go through the trouble to set up websites of their own, so you’ll have less competition if you do. If you can be the only Tom Smith, Chemical Engineer with a professional-grade web presence, it’s worth the effort.

5. You Want an Identity Separate From Your Employer or Business

Maybe you’d like to establish a personal brand.

Your LinkedIn presence will always overlap with your professional self, even if it has more depth than the CV pasted on your employer or business website. Your personal web presence won’t, or at least it doesn’t have to.

6. You Need a Place to Store (And Present) Your Creative Work

Relatedly, a personal website is an excellent place to publicly store and present your creative work. This is potentially invaluable if your work is closely tied to your employer or to a particular specialty. In the first case, it’ll survive a sudden job change; in the latter, it’s an opportunity to showcase your range. And either way, it increases your chances of getting the notice you deserve.

Make It Personal (But Professional)

If you see yourself in any (or all) of these scenarios, you would benefit from a personal website.

The next step is making sure that website is as good as it possibly can be. This is where the work comes in.

Your personal website should express your personality. But if you’re using it to increase your visibility online and maybe catch employers’ or customers’ eyes, it needs to be professional too. Meaning both safe-for-work and looking like it’s the work of someone who knows how to build a website.

If you can pull it off, it’s well worth the effort.

About the author

Ombir Sharma

Ombir is a SEO Executive at The Next Hint Media, Inc. He is a SEO and writer has 2 years of experience in these respective fields. He loves spending his time in doing research on different topics.

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