A personal website is a great way to develop your personal branding, from creating an online CV, portfolio or blog to share your expertise in an industry. The professional online presence also makes it possible for potential employers and recruiters to find you when they search for you online, and could even improve your chances of bagging that dream job opportunity.
It’s your space online that you can customise exactly as you want, but if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg building your personal website, or you’re looking for some handy WordPress tips, this post is for you.
Secure your own domain name
Before we start talking about designing your website on WordPress, lets highlight that by paying a small amount you can have your own domain name. Although it is possible to create a website for free, it can be the difference between having your own domain like [yourname].co.uk, or a platform specific one like [yourname].wordpress.com.
Investing in your own domain name improves your personal branding and prevents someone else from registering your name, and you will also have the flexibility to move your domain to a new hosting provider in the future if you want to.
Once you’ve secured your domain name and website hosting package (web hosting is a service that allows you to post webpages to the internet and normally comes packaged together with your website and email addresses), you’ll be ready to start building your website. To get the visual appeal and make it easy to update and add content in the future, you should look to use a content management system like WordPress. Many good hosting companies allow you to install it within a few clicks from your hosting panel.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, with thousands of free templates, plugins and DIY tutorials, so it’s no surprise the WordPress community continues to grow. But while it provides a host of templates and build it yourself features it can be overwhelming for new website owners to know what they should be doing. So, I’ve pulled together some tips to help you create your personal website on WordPress.
Choose the right theme
You’ll most likely have a default theme already installed when you access your WordPress login area, but you don’t have to keep this one. There are hundreds of themes out there, with many not costing a penny, but you’ll need to take some time finding one that will work for your website.
Why not start by searching for themes that are tagged for CVs or portfolios? Of course, you can also choose a theme outside of these tagged ones, but it can be a great place to start and could speed up the process of getting your content live and accessible.
It’s very important to think about what you want to display on your website when choosing your theme. Have you got a lot of imagery to showcase? Or perhaps you’d prefer to showcase your expertise in a blog. Make sure you consider your content when choosing your theme and also ensure it matches your personality too.
One great benefit of WordPress is the ability to install useful plugins. If you’ve decided to use a basic theme you could look at a plugin like Resume Builder, that allows you to add a widget to your website to display your key information where you need it.
Another feature that can be really beneficial on your website is a contact form, to allow potential recruiters to easily get in touch with you, and there are many plugins out there that can help you with this. You’ll have the option to include fields that users must fill out and those that can be optional, so think about what potential employers and recruiters would contact you for and work from there.
Expand your website
WordPress easily lets you add new pages to your website, you can simply visit the “Pages” section and create a new page for each section of your website. You could create a ‘About Me’ page, a portfolio page showcasing your work and a ‘Contact Me’ page perhaps.
The great thing is, you don’t necessarily have to do this all in one go, you should always aim to update and add new content onto your website regularly, so expanding pages could be something you plan for the future.
Connect your social platforms
Thanks to widgets on WordPress you can easily add social media icons to your website footer to allow visitors to visit your social platforms and follow you. Potential employers are likely to try and find your social platforms anyway!
Make sure you give your social platforms a once over and check there’s no content on there you wouldn’t want potential employers to see. Make sure you include a link to your LinkedIn profile so recruiters can see your connections and recommendations. And, if you use your Twitter profile to share your knowledge in your industry or participate in great discussions make sure you include a link to this too.
Once you’ve got the right theme and filled your website with great content, images and links to the social profiles you want to highlight, you’re ready to go live! Make sure you also update your social media profiles to include a link through to your website, and I would also recommend referencing it on your CV too. Good luck!