Owning a personal website has countless benefits. From growing your brand to expanding your audience, a personal website makes it easy to get what you want. When you have made up your mind to own a personal website - or have built one already - the challenge is usually deciding what content deserves to be featured.
The decision is dicey if you have no experience in the visual field. You may doubt the quantity of content you have, and whether it is enough to make a website. Well, a page is sufficient if it is rich with information, especially your contact details. Bear in mind, some content can annoy your visitors.
Read on for content that should feature on your website, and that which you should avoid.
Things you should put on your personal website
1. Display your best work
A personal website is a portfolio for creative professionals. Hiring managers will always insist on seeing a sample, and a personal website makes the best referral. Photographers, artists or designers who are not already doing this are a few years behind civilization. And the trend is not just for those in the visual field - writers and marketers are encouraged to create a gallery of their best works on the internet. The competition out there is fierce, and you need to show off.
2. Links to different social media
It is ideal to place social media links on your website for many reasons. First, it makes it easy for your audience to share your post with their friends. This is useful for expanding your audience. Secondly, it gives your visitors an insight into the personal life of your business - secrecy is one of the greatest customer turn-offs in this era. It helps your brand to edge towards a lasting relationship with its clients.
3. Don’t ignore testimonials
Testimonials add credibility to your business. They are comments and reviews of customers who are happy with your product. Potential customers are often keen to find out the experience of the previous users. CEO of Internet Marketing Center, Derek Gehl, speaks of the difference between a compelling testimonial and weak one. An excellent testimonial is one that talks about the specific benefits of using the product. “A great product” might sound nice, but it leaves visitors with no clue to how the product can be of benefit to them.
4. Bring together all your contact details on your personal website
People usually have at least one contact on the web these days. Twitter profiles, LinkedIn, Facebook profile and so on, are media through which people can be contacted. A personal website is a great way to bring them all together. Your personal website should link to your professional social profiles, the different pages you have been mentioned on, - and to your repositories, places you have been quoted, and sites you have helped to build.
5. Visualize yourself in your personal blog
Images speak a thousand words. Your personal website should not be crammed with text. Wherever pictures can present your opinion better, don’t hesitate to chip them in. Visualize your accomplishments and your brand - this may include a personal picture or a simple logo.
6. Your navigation bar should be easy to understand
The navigation bar of your website should provide a clear overview. It is synonymous to a contents page of your website. Keep it light and include a “contact” page, and an “about” page. Don’t forget to include all product offers and other relevant topics.
7. The purpose of your website has to be clear
The purpose of your website should not be obscure. It must be apparent to a first time visitor at a glance. You can include a summary of not more than three paragraphs giving a description of you or your business. If a potential customer cannot figure out the purpose of your business from the landing page, you need to reevaluate it.
Things to Avoid at All Costs
1. Separate your website from your life story
If you want to write an autobiography, make a book for it rather than putting it on your personal website. There is a high probability that the majority of people coming to your website will not spend time snooping around. They are there for relevant information, and if it takes ages to get there, they will look elsewhere.
2. Only your best works should feature on your website
Your personal website must be treated like a curated gallery, not a repository. If a hiring manager should visit your website and get overwhelmed by the content, they will simply click on one of them and ignore the rest - and they may not pick your best. By showcasing the best of your craft, you control what a hiring manager sees.
3. Excessive pop-ups in your website
Pop-ups are a smart advertising tool. Having pop-ups intermittently to show off a new product or a new post can be cool. But if it gets too much, it ruins the visitor experience. If you must use pop-ups, it has to be moderate, smartly integrated and there should be a way of tracking its effectiveness.
4. Large blocks of text
A good number of casual visitors will not have the time and patient to go through the entire text of the website. What they usually do is to scan the web page for useful content. Dividing texts into short paragraphs makes it easier to read. Ideally, a paragraph should not be more than four lines. Make the paragraphs more interesting using internal links and text formatting.
5. Choosing too low or too high contrast
Many of your visitors would be those who spend hours staring at the screen. This is bad enough as it makes the eyes ache - and you should not make it worse for them with bad contrast. Contrasts of both extremes can make reading difficult because it can fade the text into the background. Some text colors and background do not go together. A black to gray text on a white background still reigns supreme.
6. Heavy website that takes too long to load
Web users are growing more impatient. A report by KISSmetric showed that 47 percent of consumers expect the web page to load in two seconds or less. 40 percent will abandon the website if it takes too long to load - even by a second. Mobile users find it more frustrating having to stare at their phone for minutes waiting for a page to load. Consumers will blame the website content provider if the page is taking a bit lesser than forever to load instead of their mobile phone - according to a study by Ericsson.
7. Leave out links that are unrelated to you or business
Profiles that add nothing to you or the credibility of your business should be left out. Also, if you have a blog that has been dormant for over two years, it may be a good idea to leave it out. A visitor that sees the last update was two or three years ago will quickly assume that the website is outdated.
There is more to show off on your website than you may have thought - as far as you keep off the red flags. Internet users are increasingly accessing the web using their smartphones. It is very important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
You must have visited many great sites - and a few bad ones. What features attracts you the most and what do you frown at? We would like to hear your view in the comments below.