Why do I need a personal website?
This is the kind of question that many people asked me lately.
We are living in a social media era where we can create a Facebook Page for our project. We can launch an Instagram profile for our portfolio. We can create a Youtube for our video series. We can publish our podcast on Anchor for our audio shows. We can write our ideas on Medium, and we can answer everything related to our industry on Quora.
So why do we need a personal website?
There are a few reasons why I recommend building a personal website.
I will summarize them all here, and then we can move forward and detail every one of these reasons in the next paragraphs:
- You want to play the long game strategy
- You don’t want to build your brand on rented land
- You control your name and your narrative
- It helps you acquire new skills
- It allows you to have a hub for everything you create
- It’s the little corner of the internet you own
- It gives you a small sense of confidence
- It can play multiple roles: portfolio, blog, connector
- Improves the chances of being found
With your website, you build your audience, your own identity, content, and reputation.
1. You want to play the long term strategy.
I understand the power of social media, and I know the significant impact it can have on your brand if used well. But I also know that a well-designed website with a good content strategy that serves the user’s intent will have a more significant impact.
When you start a personal website, let’s call it a blog, you are playing the long term strategy.
This means that you are building every day on this website.
With every piece of content you create, with every post or page you publish, it plays the long term strategy.
Just think about the big websites that started as a small blog, and today they became an entire media empire. Think about Mashable, MOZ, CXL, Huffington Post, Abduzeedo. They’ve all started as blogs. They built what they are today, one brock at a time, day by day. Today these websites are the leading voices in their industry with hundreds of employees working under one name. One single name that started as a blog, as a personal website.
Playing the long term strategy is not an easy task, but if you are willing to invest time and energy in something you are passionate about, do it, and get the results in time.
2. Don’t build your brand on rented land.
I first heard this statement at the “PNR – This Old Marketing” podcast, where Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose talked about why it is not suitable for your business and why it is not good for the long term strategy to build a brand on platforms that are not yours.
Just think about how much you can control when you publish an article on Medium, a video on Youtube, or a photo on Instagram. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against these social media platforms. However, I want to let you know and understand that you won’t control anything about what you are going to publish over there.
On the other hand, a website will give you control over what you want people to see when they step in on your land. Do you want them to read your blog, or do you want to check out your portfolio? Do you want them to jump in and subscribe to your newsletter or play that last podcast?
Think about your website as your dignity, the land where you can start building your brand.
3. You control your narrative.
With a personal website, I can control my name and my narrative. It’s where I can showcase my work the way I want because it’s giving me full access to showing however I wish to explain to the entire world.
It’s where I can tell my story in the exact way I want, without thinking about which kind of content is performing better on this new algorithm.
If you want to show someone your work, they don’t have to memorize anything – like going on Instagram and searching for a specific username, which may not be the first, the third, or second user. All you need to do is just tell them your URL and voila.
4. It helps you acquire new skills.
For me, my website was a teaching ground. Because I love to experiment with new things and create content, I put myself in a position where I need, and I want to learn to acquire new skills.
That’s why with my website, I learned how to create the kind of content people can engage with or the type of content that, in time, will generate organic traffic. With my blog, I learned how to use Google Analytics and how to manage a WordPress website.
Just think about how much you can learn by working on your website. If you want to learn how to code, start with your website. If you want to learn how to do design a website, start with your website. If you want to learn how to grow a site in traffic and conversions, start with your website.
5. Have a hub for everything you create
I like to think about my website as the hub for everything I’m working on.
If I work on a podcast, check out my website to read about my podcast, see who my guests are, and go on your favorite podcast platform to learn about it.
If I work on a piece of content based on what I have recently learned, I can publish it so that people can find it easily here.
I can publish all I publish on my social media networks here and give them the authority I want in a way I want.
6. It’s the little corner of the internet, you own
No one will tell me what I should do on my website. I can delete the comments. I can do a website with one single page. I can do a more complicated site. I can create experiences to navigate my website so that I can’t imagine it would be possible on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
It’s where I can do whatever I want, and I can talk the way I like to talk just because it’s my own home. My house, my party, my rules.
7. It gives you a little sense of confidence.
Just think about that little sense of confidence you can have while you talk with someone about content, and you tell them that your website is driving x amount of traffic that is converted in e-mails leads or even in partnership with other brands.
It’s the small confidence you can have when you create your e-mail, and you can say firstname.lastname@example.org while they are asking for your e-mail. As simple as that.
8. It can play multiple roles: portfolio, blog, connector.
It depends on what do you want to get out of your website. Do you want to create a portfolio so that people will be able to find you, see your work, and start working with you? Or do you want to create a blog where you publish your content to connect with those who are on the same page with you on a specific topic? Or do you want to be a connector, the glue that holds people together and helps them connect on a single platform?
I believe that a website can play many roles, but everything depends on who is behind it. What’s the real reason why they’ve created it and what they want to accomplish with it.
So think about the “WHY” factor of your blog.
For example, my why is to document my process of being a content marketer. That’s why this website is more like a blog than a portfolio website.
9. Improves the chances of being found
In 2013 I started a personal blog about Instagram. I wrote every day about this topic, connected with content creators, and partnered with a company that provided me the latest data on Instagram in my country. More of it, I organized an event under this website and a workshop. Advertising agencies started using the content from my website to pitch new clients. Brands wanted to show me their work on Instagram to convince me to talk about them on this website.
One day somebody asked me if I wanted to do the same thing I’m doing for my website for their brand. They told me that I could be their brand evangelist, and all I have to do is just to be me for that job. And here I am, after almost six years working for this company and doing what I love to do—talking about something I enjoy every day.
That’s how a website can help you get more credibility and let people learn more about you, check your work, and in the end, convince them to connect and work with you.
Here you go.
Now go and create your own website.