Getting Personal Online With Your Own Site

February 3 2018, 9:04pm

I've had this website since 2007. I was building out this site mostly because I thought it would be novel of me to have a website. Since then, times have changed and having a a presence on the web means, more or less, that you exist in the world. From job application to dating and everything in between, having a personal presence online is one of the most efficient and effective ways to up your game.

building an online presence

Why Do I Want One?

With 7.6 billion people in the world and growing, it's becoming harder to stand out naturally. If you have a unique name and someone searches for you, it can be easy for prospective employers, clients, dates, etc. to find you and understand who you are. For individuals with more common names though, having a personalized landing page can be that leg up that makes you stand out against a see of people not doing anything.

Controlling online presence can be the difference between someone thinking a convict with the same name is you, and them understanding you for who you want to be. In a world of quick assumptions and short attention spans, its important, more than ever, to be in charge of the conversation as it relates to you and how you want to be perceived.

How to Develop a Presence Online

Developing a persona online can be as involved as one would like it to be. Previously, I had gone into ways to quickly manage your presence online. These services can be a quick and easy way to start developing out a persona online. Where they fall short, however, is in the amount of depth that you can go. Sure you can write up a huge bio and add social media accounts, but you largely can't do much customization beyond the confines of various templates they have.

Such a page is just that, a page.

Personalized websites can contain various pages of content on a given person, while landing page services are drips in a larger bucket of potential searches. Such a page will only rise to the top if your name is relatively uncommon.

If your goal is to stand out even more, or if your name is more common, creating your own personal website can be a great alternative.

DIY or Not, That is the Question

Doing anything yourself, especially if the process is new, can be a time consuming endeavor. That said, there are a bunch of platforms out there with the goal of making building your own personal website easier.

Services like, Wordpress, (Weebly)[], and (Squarespace)[] all fit in the category of website builders. These are services specifically designed to require little to no coding. They often feature the ability to choose templates that can be manipulated with text and images to portray what you want to show off.

Though these sites maybe easier to use, they often only serve up to a certain point. Should your site require more customization, especially on the backend; or you want to have more control over performance, you'll find these services lacking. Because of the nature in which they make developing a website easier for the DIYer, they remove much of the ability to fully customize beyond the point of what an average consumer would need.

If you have the resources to have someone create your own website, paying for development is probably the easiest and most customizable way to get your online persona off of the ground. Perhaps the hardest part of development, in this manner, is figuring out exactly what you want the website to look like and using specs to create a plan. Even if you don't really have an idea, a website can still be developed (but note that typically more back and forth results in higher costs).

I tend to recommend others sketch out the way they want the website to look, to use a simple program like Powerpoint, or even hire a web designer to have a starting point for development. Any developer or designer out there should be able to answer questions you have related to developing out your own personal website, so don't hesitate to ask the questions that need to be asked.

Are you online? Do you have an online persona?