A professional website is not just essential for businesses; it can be an essential component for individuals too. We are all ’Googled’ whether we are a product, service or potential employee, so we need to be presented as well as possible, digitally.
There are many ways to ’be online’, for example, in addition to a sleek and up-to-date LinkedIn profile with regular updates, you may also sport;
- a digital portfolio of work (5 free tools)
- an active Twitter profile
A LinkedIn profile, for example, is a great start. However, it is not quite enough to stand alone. When employers are looking at candidates during the short listing process, deciding who to invite for interview you want to be found as easily as possible in a quick Google search. If you can’t be found, you simply don’t exist. This may be fine for a Buddhist monk, not so good for the rest of us who need to have a strong profile to compete successfully in the post-digital employment market. Here, I will show you in five simple steps how to make your own professional website in under 60 seconds. Best of all, it’s completely free.
1. Set up an account with WordPress
WordPress is a free blogging tool and website content management system. Register at WordPress for your free blog/website and you are halfway to having your own website. Once you have registered you will be given a free domain name associated with WordPress. The next step is to look even more professional by adapting the name to be individualised for you.
2. Buy a domain name and map your WordPress domain
Purchase a domain name from a hosting company and transfer it to your WordPress account. There are lots out there, some cheaper than others. I always use Wiser Web hosting for domains and they have been very good. Now that you have purchased your domain name, follow these instructions to map an existing domain for the cheapest option. Now your personalised website will be found at yourname.com rather than yourname.wordpress.com.
3. Choose a professional theme
Once you have created your WordPress account, choose a theme. There are many free ones; you don’t need to purchase a paid template. Have a look at the variety of themes here. If you choose one and build your site around it, then later change your mind, no problem. You can easily change the theme and it will reapply to the site that you have already made, and the new pages you add too.
4. Get to know your WordPress dashboard
Go to your WordPress admin and start creating pages. For a personal website you want to have the following three pages at the very minimum:
- About me
- CV, projects or examples of work
- Contact me (with details of your email and an invitation to email you about work).
5. Hello World!
Now you have your three main pages, complete the content for each section and now press publish!
Congratulations! You have your own website in under 60 seconds, and a free one to boot. You will need to spend longer on the content and you will still need to essentially customise the content for each job you are going for.
Don’t forget to update your website and keep it current. Remember, having a profile on social networking sites is all well and good, but you can’t beat your own professional website that you keep updated. It’s the ferrari of the digital profiles.