One of the great things about my role at Workfolio is that I get to hear the stories of how a personal website has benefited people in their careers. I’ve heard stories of personal websites helping people land jobs, secure new clients, get found by the press, impress their bosses, and demonstrate thought leadership. Despite the growing list of success stories about personal websites, many professionals still don’t have their own websites.
Here are the most commons reasons we hear why people still don’t have a personal website:
1. I’ll look like a narcissist.
If you’re like me, you grew up hearing your parents preach the virtues of humility, and it’s true that nobody likes a braggart. In the wrong context, talking about your accomplishments and success can definitely be inappropriate. But when dealing with employers, potential clients, and even teammates, your strong personal brand can give them confidence that they are working with someone who is competent and capable. This will pay dividends (literal and figurative) in your relationships.
Also, keep in mind that context matters. People will find your website either because you gave them the address personally or because they were looking for you online. They came to your site because they wanted more information about you, which makes your list of accomplishments informative rather than boastful.
2. I get all the visibility I need from social networking.
Social media has become an indispensable tool for your career. It is a mistake, however, to think that it is giving you all the exposure you need. Contrary to popular belief, social networks are not available everywhere. According to two recent studies, 26% of U.S. companies and a staggering 59% of companies worldwide block or restrict access to social media sites on computers in their networks.
Even if a potential visitor has access to social media, profiles are extremely cluttered with ads and links to other profiles that compete for visitor attention. If visitors can’t find exactly what they are looking for on your profile quickly, it’s on to the next one. Personal websites tend to be ad-free and devoted to you, which mean longer, deeper looks at your information. We estimate that average visits to personal websites are around three times longer than those to social profiles.
3. I only need a personal website if I’m looking for a job.
Websites can be effective tools to help with your job search, but like health insurance, it’s better to buy it before you think you need it. There are two main reasons for this. First, many search engines take into account the length of time your website has been in when calculating your relative search-worthiness. The sooner you build your website, the better your search rankings will be when you really need it.
Second, building a website while you are employed can open up new opportunities internally. If you keep diligent records of your projects and accomplishments over the course of the year and display them on your website, you can use these as ammunition during annual reviews. Keeping visible records of your accomplishments can also help give you the edge when project teams and committees are being chosen.
Also, if you have a client-facing role or any interaction with external organizations, giving the people with whom you interact an easy, professional way to learn more about you can make you more approachable and likeable, which can be enough to get deals done and smooth the way for better outcomes in discussions you have.
Personal websites are beginning to emerge as useful new tools to advance your career, whether internal or external advancement is your goal. By giving you a dedicated space to list your accomplishments and build your personal brand, websites allow you to become the strongest company of one you can be.
For more information on the changing economy and how a website can help move your career forward, watch The Science of Personal Websites for Career Advancement Webinar.