The first thing that most people do when they are looking to learn more about a person, product or service, is they immediately go to their favorite search engine and plug in the words they seek information on. When someone searches your name, what shows up? Your online presence should include your personal website as the main communication tool with your audience. Your webpages exist to share different information, improve your personal branding and present you in a positive light. Online portfolios and websites are marketing tools that will attract or deter your audience depending on the design, presentation and content. A professional online presence – if developed properly – gives you a competitive advantage over your peers.
When you develop your branding strategy, web pages and sites are able to speak to your talents, skills and qualifications for jobs, internships and other professional opportunities. By creating a website, you are able to offer more than what can be seen on your resume by including a professional biography, a portfolio, recommendations and other examples that showcase your skill set. You can also include accounts of extracurricular activities, leadership positions, international travel and other unique experiences that show that you are well-rounded and possess “soft skills” such as reliability, interpersonal skills and the willingness to learn. You need to be constantly promoting yourself, adding value and clearly communicating what your goals are and what you offer to your target audience.Presentation is an important element of your online presence and your site must be a place that engages your visitors.
In order to take branding to the next level, a blog and social media profiles without an online hub like a website will not cut it. Your personal branding takes shape as you present more of yourself. The more personality and more channels you use to communicate your greatness, the better. You can be the greatest in your industry, but if you fail to package and present yourself and your skills properly, you will be at a disadvantage. A professional and polished approach to branding is more appealing and adds credibility by providing evidence of what you claim to be able to do. You must give yourself permission to be an expert and thought leader on a specific topic and deliberately use your online presence to position yourself as such. Digital tools such as a website and online portfolio allow you to communicate your value and abilities and eliminates the confusion of what your brand is, who you are and what it is that you do. Your personal branding and online presence perpetuates your purpose and passion. (Tweet that!) So get one!
If you want to take a stab at creating your personal website on your own, download our free ebook: Crucial Components for an Effective Personal Website.