MelissaSchollaert_HeirloomHome-00451Photo by Melissa Schollaert

I’ve had a website since I was 15 years old, a junior in high school. What was on it? Oh, ramblings, sort of like this blog, funny facts, random photos.

You might be wondering why I decided to have my own site at such an early age. The ability to already own a slice of the internet and use it as my portfolio has always been important for me as a creative, I could design something of my own to fit my personality and talk about whatever I wanted to anyone who would listen! Before blogs existed, I regularly updated my website with what I had been up to lately all through college.

The journey of my personal website has been a constant evolution before it became a business. I wanted to talk about personal branding and the importance of it and how you can get started on yours.

Why you should have a website

Today, I tell all my friends who have a hobby – traveling, fashion, event planning, decorating, anything, “Get a website, and start a blog.” Have an entrepreneur spirit? Get your own personal website! Consider a .ME domain name as it’s a memorable way to represent yourself with all the SEO qualities of other domains.

Even if you’re not sure what to do with a website just yet, use it as a place where you link to all your social media sites. It’s great for when you want to move careers, jobs, or have a hub where potential employers who Google you can find you. By having your own domain you have control of your image, should your name appear elsewhere. I own my full maiden name and current full name in addition to DianaElizabeth.com.

Personal story – my husband Googled me before our first date and found my official website and accidentally slipped some information only listed on the website – it was adorable!

How to get started on a personal brand

I’ve been around many bloggers and some have the cutest names. While my blog is dianaelizabethblog.com and started as a photography blog to showcase my work, it evolved – where I share my creative work and my lifestyle of simplified living. I used to be a little annoyed that my blog seemed so boring but my fellow bloggers reassured me that it’s a great thing to be anything that I choose, it’s me and it doesn’t confine me to one particular area should I have named it “WatchDianaElizabethSew.com” or something like that.

So I’d say secure your name first, and then if you had a cute blog name or business, look into that as well. There is nothing wrong with having a website under your name – it’s not egotistical, it’s smart for your personal branding, it allows you to be you, and carry your name to different career paths if you so choose (like I did). Also if you are starting a new business and you’re trying to come up with a name, check to see if the website is available. Since the internet has been around for so long, it’s possible you won’t find it available so you can always add your state like “AZ” to the end, or the word “the” or “iam” in the front.

Register or search for website .ME domain availabilities on Name.com now.

Designing your website

There are a few ways to get started on a design – for a blog you can install the WordPress into your hosting (typically your registrar offers this) and you can separately purchase a WordPress template from online stores like Etsy or Creative Market.

On Name.com they offer a website builder where you can choose a template, add the content and that’s it! You can even create an e-commerce site (that means you’re selling things from your site). They have an easy store set up as well. You can change the template whenever you want and you can change it as your business grows.

What to put on your website

You need to figure out the framework of your site – this means the organization of your pages, landing page (index.html), about page, maybe services with drop downs of choices.

Here’s a basic start:

  • About page – always have a photo of yourself! I tried to stay anonymous but I was told the first thing people do is go to the about and they want to see your face!
  • Social media buttons – LinkedIn for example, remember you should be professional on these accounts should employers or future blind dates Google you.
  • Portfolio of your work – links to published articles, mentions, or your creative work
  • Contact page – a form or email just in case someone wants to get in touch.

When it comes to writing the copy for your site – you can either write about yourself in the third person, or you can write it yourself in the first person. I lean towards the first person because unless you are Bill Gates or a celebrity, it’s pretty much assumed you are designing, editing, and updating your own site. This is great because you get to share your own personality!

After you write it, send it off to friends and family and ask them to proofread it and give feedback. I sent several bios to my best friend since college to see what was important and she told me, “I know you did all of these amazing career things but I want people to know you, your heart, your journey, there’s more to you than your resume, they can read that on LinkedIn, tell me about why you write, why you blog and what you love.” I completely rewrote my about page and I’m so glad I did! So don’t be afraid to ask those who know you best what they think!

Conclusion

You don’t need a well thought out plan at this very moment to buy a domain. If you’re creative, you might be a freelance artist one day, if you’re a business person, you might want to showcase your portfolio services or be a contracted consultant. If you secure your own space on the Internet I guarantee as time goes by, the ideas of what to put on the site will come to you. Every person has talent and can offer the world something unique and a site can share that.

It’s a place where you have control over your own personal brand and you own your data that’s you put on the website yourself.

Are you ready? Get started on your own personal website today through resources offered by Domain.ME and Name.comThis limited offer will be available for one-month starting on 10/16/15.

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This limited offer will be available for one-month starting on 10/16/15.

This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME, and Name.com, a registrar that provides services like custom website design. They aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own, however.