The first website in human history was published almost 30 years ago, in 1991. But the debate about the importance of having a personal website is still on-going.
To settle the score once and for all, we’ve asked 20 thought leaders and entrepreneurs to share their reasons behind launching a personal website.
Here are their answers.
Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding, which offers team building events.
“My personal website got me a $25,000 contract.”
I paid my way through school as a freelance writer, and having a personal website was critical for this. For example, one of my first marketing projects was interviewing successful writers like best-selling authors and high-profile bloggers. Having a personal site where I could post these interviews gave me access to people who otherwise would have been very difficult to connect with. Some of these connections became my first clients. One contract brought in over $25,000 the first year.
I would highly recommend other entrepreneurs follow this same path. Building a website is a great and important first step, and then you need to find ways to promote and bring people to it. Interviewing people in your target market is a highly impactful and efficient way to do this.
Inna Borshch, a technical translator turned copywriter and content strategist.
“My website is the best way to showcase my authority.”
We’ve all heard this so often: You need a strong personal brand to stand out as an expert online. Take Elon Musk. You buy a Tesla because you believe that Elon is a professional who stands behind his product and guarantees its quality.
Well, it’s the same for creative professionals. In my case, my website is the best way to showcase my authority. As a copywriter, the content on my website is my portfolio. And when I tell my clients to go and check out my website, I stand behind every word there.
People connect to people, and my clients need to know that I’m just as human as they are, with my passions, interests, and flaws. To build my brand and set myself apart from the competitors, I’m giving people a story to connect to. My website tells that story. It demonstrates the values my ideal clients can relate to.
Besides, having my website helps me with my mindset. I’m sure of the work I’m showing there, and it gives me a boost of confidence when closing new clients.
I think that every creative professional should have their own website since it allows them to shape the narrative the way they want. If the website is a genuine representation of who you are, and if you’re consistent with the feeling you give your audience, this will establish trust and build you that rock-solid personal brand.
Lauren Osselton, creative copywriter and storyteller.
“Your website is like opening the door, welcoming customers in with a warm, inviting atmosphere.”
As an online creative entrepreneur, I didn’t even think twice that I would need a website to really compete in the marketplace. As a website copywriter myself, I can tell you with confidence that you really do need a website to show off your gifts to the world!
You see, I like to think of it like this… Your Instagram and other social media channels that you use to promote your business are merely acting as an enticing store window display. You know the kind that gets you to stop in your tracks and peer in to admire the merchandise?
Your website is like opening the door, welcoming them in with a warm, inviting atmosphere. You’re asking them to pull up a chair closer and get to know you and why YOU are uniquely gifted to serve them.
You only have five seconds once they open up that door and land on your website to communicate the true reason WHY you’re the one for the job. So make those five seconds count!
Itamar Blauer, SEO Consultant.
“Personal websites are imperative to stand out from the noise and staple yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field.”
In a digital age where there is extreme saturation within pretty much any industry, having a personal website essentially acts as your dynamic CV that can continuously be updated over time with your progress. It’s incredibly important to have it if you want to stand out in a competitive environment.
My personal website allows prospective clients and digital marketers to see, engage, and learn from my content. People often share my content too, and it’s important to update a personal website so that it becomes a hub of all of the content.
Whilst digital advancements such as social media have made it easier to find and target a niche, there are still thousands of people out there doing exactly the same work as you, which is why personal websites are imperative to stand out from the noise and staple yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field.
Sean Potter, the author behind My Money Wizard, a personal finance blog with 200,000 monthly visitors and thousands of active subscribers. As a 30 year old who saved $400,000+ by age 30, his opinions about money have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and TIME.
“I’ve been surprised to find that just sharing my personal story online has positioned me as a money influencer. Obviously, this does wonders for the personal brand!”
Four years ago, I created a personal blog to share my financial journey. I’d just graduated college with a degree in Economics and Finance, and although those degrees meant I knew a decent amount about money, it also meant I found my day job pretty boring.
So I started putting my personal brand out there by creating a personal finance website. The site focused on what I’d learned about managing money from my career in Finance, mixed with my own personal story of saving and investing my money.
Although my original goal wasn’t to grow my brand, fast forward a few years and I’ve found that my site has opened up all sorts of doors for me. From being featured on podcasts and national radio shows to scoring some lucrative freelance writing assignments about money, I’ve been surprised to find that just sharing my personal story online has positioned me as a money influencer. Obviously, this does wonders for the personal brand! Because of my site, I now have a path to a second career as an influencer, which is one of the reasons I plan to leave my day job soon.
My story just goes to show that sharing your personal brand online is extremely powerful. With a strong personal website, even people who aren’t exactly looking to build their brand inevitably do!
Rob Swystun, freelance content strategist, writer and SEO specialist.
“You are in full control of the knowledge you share, and you reap the rewards from sharing that knowledge.”
Having my own personal website allowed me to start sharing my expertise under my own name and gaining some authority in my field. I do a lot of ghostwriting and website writing, which is either credited to another person or uncredited, so I wanted a place where I could share my knowledge and gain some authority in my field.
This is the main reason I would suggest any solopreneur to get a personal website. You are in full control of the knowledge you share and you reap the rewards from sharing that knowledge.
You need to maintain and update your website, though. That means giving it a redesign every few years and keeping things fresh. There have been a few times when I have gone to check out someone’s website only to see one that looked like it was designed in the ‘90s. This doesn’t look good for your personal brand. So, have a site, but make sure you also look after it accordingly.
AdaPia d’Errico, Principal and VP of Strategy at Alpha Investing.
“I receive consistent inquiries, clients and leads through my personal website.”
Securing my website as a creative entrepreneur has been essential to establishing my credibility and authority as a keynote speaker and author. I receive consistent inquiries, clients and leads through my personal website. While social media sites act as platforms from which to communicate or showcase aspects of my work, my website is the source of ‘truth’ for my personal brand.
With a unique name, it was imperative that I owned the domain for search and ranking purposes. I’ve been able to showcase who I am holistically — from the professional bio to the personal blog posts, as well as showcasing media such as interviews, podcasts, etc., in one contained place, rather than fragmented all over myriad sites.
My personal site is also an effective source for collecting emails and staying in touch with a growing audience, which feels more authentic and personal than collecting leads from a sales funnel.
Designing a website takes time, effort and intention, which helps to crystallize your message, positioning and aesthetic. It’s a worthwhile effort with satisfying results. It’s ‘your site’ that speaks to who you are, what you stand for, your values, and your value proposition— proudly showcasing that to the world at large.
This effort and intention are not lost on people who are looking to get a big picture view of your services and how you can help them. A personal website is the best way to do that.
Andrew Selepak, PhD and a social media professor at the University of Florida.
“My website has helped me get media interviews, and it provides a space for me to promote myself and the work I have done. Anything less than having a professional website would be, well unprofessional.”
I tell all my students that before they graduate, they need to create a portfolio website to promote their personal brand.
A personal website is a content hub and multimedia resume. A personal website allows users to be completely in control of their brand and their brand image by posting their best work and updating it frequently to promote themselves and be more discoverable.
While our online image is represented by our social media, it is also represented by our Google search results. Having a personal website that is updated frequently will become your number one search result. It will be the thing people see when they search for you. On the site, you can also include your contact information and social media channels for others to find out more about you.
I have used a website for personal branding for years. I include the URL on my resume, on Twitter, on my professional Facebook page, and in my email signature.
If you care about your online image, you should do everything you can to be discoverable and to be in control of that image. My website has helped me get media interviews, and it provides a space for me to promote myself and the work I have done. Anything less than having a professional website would be, well unprofessional.
Meisha Bochicchio, Content Marketing Manager at Wistia.
“Having a personal website has absolutely helped me excel in my career.”
I decided to launch a personal website about three years into my marketing career. I quickly realized that having a website was essential to house my resume and work projects, almost like a digital marketing portfolio. It also gave me an outlet to share my opinions and expertise on subjects within my industry and showcase a bit of my personality.
Having a personal website has absolutely helped me excel in my career, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone seeking a place to showcase their own accomplishments and expertise.
Michelle Griffin, a branding and marketing strategist for service providers, experts and consultants. She’s also a StoryBrand Certified Marketing Guide and founder of the branding and marketing agency, MarketingWorks.
“A personal website is a must for thought leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs to build their brand as well as create awareness, professionalism, and credibility.”
These days consumers want and demand a personal connection. Having a personal website is a pivotal way to create trust, share expertise, and build a tribe for personal brands.
One might think an investment in a website should come after a brand grows, but the exact opposite is true.
A personal website is a must for thought leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs to build their brand as well as create awareness, professionalism, and credibility.
Don’t make the mistake of creating your brand on a social platform. Social feeds are fickle and fleeting and are at the mercy of an algorithm or require paid ads to reach and resonate with ideal audiences.
A website allows you to create and customize your visual and brand identity, create and house content, and create organic traffic that builds backlinks and SEO juice.
Think of a website as your welcome mat or welcome center. Then, build, design and decorate accordingly. In time, you’ll be welcome in your tribe.
Carla Diaz, co-founder of Broadband Search.
“If you can put yourself out there and give people a way to really understand you and what your skills are, you’ll be in a good position to advance quickly in your field.”
Having a personal website is a great way to get noticed. It allows you to showcase your work and tell people who you are. If you can incorporate SEO techniques, your chances of being noticed are even higher, and you’ll likely open yourself up to a lot more job opportunities.
The Internet is an amazing place and there are so many people out there who probably want to utilize your skills to improve their business. If you can put yourself out there and give people a way to really understand you and learn what your skills are, you’ll be in a good position to advance quickly in your field.
Jennifer Willy, editor at Etia.
“Your website will not only be helpful in creating brand awareness, but it will also promote your social media handles.”
For any entrepreneur and freelancer, building and creating your personal brand is very important. With easy access to the Internet and social media, the work has become smoother than ever before.
Having a personal website has become a must now. Your website will not only be helpful in creating brand awareness, but it will also promote your social media handles.
Creating a good first impression has become very essential in this fickle world, and a personal website will help you with that. It should be properly optimized according to the latest trends and digital marketing strategies should be properly utilized to increase your online presence in the digital platform.
Stacy Caprio, founder at Her.CEO, a blog for entrepreneurs.
“I’ve had so many people reach out to me saying they resonated with my story… ”
Having my personal website helped to grow my brand because people were able to read about my entrepreneurial journey and connect with my story from my online site. I’ve had so many people reach out to me saying they resonated with my story and thanking me for posting it online. Many have wanted to work with me. I’m sure that wouldn’t have happened had I not started my personal blog.
Sara Abate Rez, founder and brand designer of My Personal Brand.
“In today’s online world, every entrepreneur can benefit from having a personal website as people want to know the person behind the company.”
A personal website is able to powerfully capture the essence of all of you in a beautiful format. It is the space to share your personal story, your why for doing what you do, and your unique strengths and outlook that make you ideally suited to serve your ideal clients.
In today’s online world, every entrepreneur can benefit from having a personal website as people want to know the person behind the company. What better way to showcase who you are than with a purposefully curated personal website.
Dana Hewling, owner and creative director at b.iD LLC, branding specialist
“Your personal website is something that will grow with you no matter how your circumstances may shift.”
Having a personal website lets you claim your part of the web and define what YOUR brand truly is all about. As the owner of a branding and marketing agency, we build websites for other brands regularly. I, however, had to listen to the advice I give so many of our clients and build out my personal website as well. Much of everything I do revolves around my company, but I must remember that we are separate entities, and my company can’t build my brand (nor should it). I have to do that.
With professional speaking goals and publishing a book in my sights, I need to market myself the way I want and the way I need to in order to achieve my goals. My company is only one aspect, and what I have to offer is more significant than that. Having a personal website helps you highlight that.
Plus, a website is something that will grow with you no matter how your circumstances may shift. This is something I can’t stress enough. It is key for both entrepreneurs and those who work a day job.
Sarah Ohanesian, Productivity Coach at SO Productive.
“I 100% believe in having your personal stories and personal website as a part of your personal brand.”
My brand and myself are totally intertwined — on purpose! One, because I am a solopreneur, but also because customers care about WHO they are working with. They can buy services from anyone, but understanding more about the person behind a brand is critical.
I also use photos and videos of myself to share that I’m a real person that they can relate to and connect with. I’ve been where they are and have empathy. As a coach, I find it vital. Working with a coach is such a personal experience. People want to get to know me and make sure they like me before they decide to work with me.
Carenda Deonne, a female entrepreneur, motivational speaker and marketing consultant.
“Simply put, having a website is not optional.”
I personally believe that your website is one connector that bridges the gap between your message and your audience. Not only is it necessary to have a website to set yourself apart from the competition, but it also connects you with others.
When you express your mission, brand, product and/or service with the world, it is a connection that people look for. It tells others who you are and why they should care about what you do. Having a website also allows you to leverage other digital advantages, such as video, audio and social media.
As a motivational speaker, author and marketing consultant, having a personal website has been the growth of my brand. My brand is when life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade — instead, TAKE AIM! I cannot effectively brand my products and services if I do not have a website.
Your website is also your new virtual business card and a way to network with others. Simply put, having a website is not optional. Again, in order to bridge the gap between your message and audience, you must have a professional website.
Brett Downes, founder and SEO specialist at HaroHelpers.
“[Your website] will give you control over the narration of your story and allow you to craft the content that suits the brand you’re building.”
Everything is online now, and if you don’t have a website, you may as well be invisible. It will have the same effect.
Even if your brand doesn’t need a website to function, make sales, earn revenue — if you tell people you don’t have a website, then you’d be automatically labelled a dinosaur and a relic. Meanwhile, people are interested in contemporary things.
Lecture over. Now some tips on how to build it and why it matters. Your website URL should include your name in it as it will rank #1 when people Google your name. This will give you control over the narration of your story and allow you to craft the content that suits the brand you’re building.
If you don’t claim the top spot, news articles or other people who share your name may top the rankings. Search rankings are like digital real estate.
A personal website allows you to list your skills, achievements and work in the way you want to present yourself. You’re not confined as in a one-page resume or a succinct LinkedIn profile.
Skyler Reeves, President and CEO at Ardent Growth.
A personal website builds your credibility even more. But this doesn’t mean that it can serve well the purpose of generating leads as much as your company website.
Think of it as another way to boost your credentials, visibility and accessibility. It’s what most authors and brand strategists are doing these days. Use it to your advantage, but never forget about the value of optimizing it too to get the results that you want and redirect users to your business website.
Bradley Keys, Marketing Director at PatchMD
“Creating a personal website helps you to build and control your branding, and it serves as an online portfolio.”
A personal website lets you customize everything that can be seen in it to show your personality and brand. It also represents you, so people who visit your website can instantly visualize who you are. You can put your work samples, outputs, articles that you have written, and all your expertise — it can be your digital portfolio and identity.
Benefits of Having a Website
It seems we’ve established that having a personal website is a must in today’s online-first world. Let’s recap some of the reasons:
- It allows you to control your narrative and build exactly the brand you want.
- It helps you create a single hub for all your content and achievements.
- It lets you build your authority.
- It helps you generate leads.
- It aids you in getting media exposure.
Do you know any other reasons? Please share them with us!