Have you ever considered having a personal website? You know – a place where people can go to read about who you are, what you do, your goals and aspirations, and of course to contact you. Perhaps you don’t feel you need one and find yourself asking the question, “Why would anyone want to contact me?”; or “How would it really benefit me?”. Maybe, you realize it would be a good thing to have, but just feel it’s too much work or that you don’t have the skills to create one. These are all things I told myself for years, but last year I finally was convinced to build my own personal website.
This is the first article of a two-part series where we will explore the benefits of creating a personal website. Today, we’ll cover the common misconceptions that are keeping you from creating an awesome personal website.
Myth 1: What I Do Isn’t Interesting Enough To Have On a Website
You might be thinking, “How is what I do interesting at all to people?” And you’re right – the things that the majority of us do don’t really seem that “interesting”. So why bother then? Well, for a couple reasons.
First: it’s not about being interesting — having a personal website is much more than that.
Second: how you view yourself is different from how others view you — having a personal website is your public persona.
Myth 2: I’m A Private Person and I Don’t Like Being Known About
If this is how you feel, I definitely respect that. Everyone is different. Some people are very outgoing and like to put everything out there, while others are more reserved and like to keep most things to themselves. However, this isn’t about putting out your phone number, family photos, etc. on your website – it’s about providing professional information to people who are looking to find the best candidate for the job.
I, personally, am more outgoing. My Twitter account isn’t private, I have several blogs, and I’m all over the Internet. But I still feel that much of what I have on my website isn’t anything that would sacrifice my privacy. I share my goals and dreams, hobbies, what I’m currently doing and things I’ve done in the past that shaped who I am, and then how to contact me. I keep it professional – but open at the same time. You might feel different, but the important thing is to represent yourself professionally, no matter how you chose to do so – that’s what matters.
Myth 3: I Have No Idea Where to Even Start
Neither do most people! Or at least they think they don’t. But the Internet is a great help. There could be several reasons why you’re feeling like this, but probably the biggest one is that you don’t feel confident in your skills and expertise, and don’t know what your options are.
This was the case as well for my dad. Despite him knowing that having a website is crucial for his business and being fed up with the lack good results from phonebook* ads, he really didn’t push for one because he didn’t have any idea where to start. It wasn’t until I created my own and found out how easy it really is (which I’ll talk about next), that I pushed for creating one. Now we’re working together to create one and he’s feeling much better about it.
*Phonebook: an obsolete “tool” that contains numbers and addresses for people and businesses. (sarcasm)
Here are some suggestions for where to start:
- Search for local web developers on Craigslist or Google listings
- Search online for articles showing you the steps for creating a website
- Contact anyone you know who’s done it before and ask for tips and guidance
- Read the rest of this article
Myth 4: I Don’t Know How To Code – Like, At All
Although coding skills are helpful in creating a website, they most certainly aren’t necessary. It really depends what route you want to go for your website. The most simplest ways to create your own website would be a self-hosted option through WordPress, or through another website that allows you to design your website using their service, such as Weebly. I’ll cover these in more depth later on in the article.
Now, should you learn how to code? I think so – it definitely helps to have a basic understanding of how to do a few things. I personally know very little, but I’ve discovered that anything I want to figure out how to do is just a Google search away.
Here are some of our recent articles articles that might help you learn how to code:
- 8 Tried & True Tips For Learning How To Code
- Learn To Code- 10 Free And Fantastic Online Resources To Hone Your Skills
- If You Never Learnt How To Code, Try Out Mozilla Webmaker For Learning & Fun
- 5 Interesting Ways To Learn To Code
Myth 5: Building A Website Would Take Far Too Much of My Time
Perhaps you have a lot going on and in addition to not knowing much about creating your own website, you also are very short on time – this is probably a situation a lot of us are in. When I built my self-hosted WordPress site, it took one dedicated weekend. But it probably wouldn’t even take many of you that long. In fact,the actual “building” of the site shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
Above is a video by Thomas Frank, the one who inspired me to build my own personal website with his article The Ultimate Guide To Building A Personal Website, which lives up to its name and is a very good resource that I recommend for creating your own self-hosted WordPress site.
Myth 6: Owning A Website Is Way Out Of My Budget
For a long time, I thought making a website would cost hundreds – how could I, as a college student (at the time), afford to have a website if I’m barely able to keep my bank account from going negative?
With the domain purchase and web hosting for one year, you are looking at a cost of under $100. I personally went with Namecheap for my domain and HostGator for hosting, and have been pleased with both. When I renewed my domain just recently it was less than $20 for a year. That was it! Of course, you can save even more by paying for more than just a year. This, of course, requires more capital upfront since you pay it all in full, but in the long run you save more. There are also lots of coupon codes to help you save as well.
The Bottom line: A personal website is not expensive.
Some costs, however, that you might incur would be if you decided to have someone build a website for you. Another cost that you might have is themes. There are tons of free themes, but you can also get premium ones which can range from $50 or less to sometimes hundreds, depending on the theme. That said, sometimes the traditional WordPress theme is the best choice.
If money is tight, I recommend starting out with a free theme, building the website yourself (either through WordPress or a website that helps you easily create and design one, scouring the net for coupon codes, and if you have the capital, pay for more than just one year upfront so you can save more.
So what’s stopping you from creating your own personal website? We’ve looked at the six myths, but perhaps you are still not sold on why you need a personal website. If you still don’t feel like it can really benefit you, I highly recommend you follow up with the second article in this series where we look at how it can add value to your career.
There are also a ton of awesome websites that you can use as inspiration. Thomas Frank, the guy I mentioned earlier who wrote the ultimate personal website guide, put together another article where he featured several of his own readers’ websites. If you’re looking for some inspiration as to what it should look like or have on it, those will definitely be a help.
We’d love to hear from you now – do you have your own personal website? Which myth kept you from building your site and how did you prove them wrong? Share your thoughts (or even relevant questions) in the comments below!
Image Credits: Bored Businesswoman; Woman peeping through hole on paper; Businessman thinking a solution; Businesswoman pointing to programming script; businessman with post-its on his face; Money via Shutterstock