Think about the social media platform you use the most right now. You share your ideas, motivate people, share success stories, solve problems for people by sharing your personal approach or view on tasks/issues, write a few short articles, and so on. Yet ownership, control, and security of that content belong to the platform. Let alone your personal data, pictures, etc. Which all can be used by the platform however they please.
The biggest companies in the world right now thrive on how much collective data they have. Hereby making data currency of sorts. Owning your data is the most important step to take at this moment. Social media platforms at this point should be a tool to repurpose content you already own. For instance, if you own a blog, the right approach will be to share snippets of a new blog post on your social media platforms which brings people back to your website to read the full content.
It’s a long term game which is why now is the best time to start planting your foot down in the soil of SEO to build yourself a strong online reputation with your own committed audience.
Advantages of owning your own website
As an individual looking to be part of this digital world, your data and content are at the forefront of this endeavor. However, doing it the right way is also very important. Owning a personal website is one of the first steps to doing it right and there’s no better time to own a personal website than now.
Below, you’ll find steps to take in starting this journey. Yes, it’s a journey. One that doesn’t need to e rushed If you never thought about this but understand how useful this will be for you in the future.
Own your domain name.
Do you know how cool it is for someone to search for your name and www.yourname.com pops up on Google? Even if you have nothing on your website you still feel like the president of a tiny nation 😁.
Yes, this is the first and most important thing to do. Own your domain. Whether you know what to do with yet or not. Look for a hosting company and get your domain. It’s really cheap to own one. Like really really cheap. Cheap like Uber fees (depending on where you’re going to of course). So don’t let that scare you away and it’ll only take a few minutes. Another thing to note is you can move your domain to another host whenever you please. So wherever you register your domain, for now, it’s not permanent.
With that out of the way, you can take a breather. You’ve taken the most important step to owning a personal website.
The next thing to do is make a decision on what you want to accomplish with this website. Do you just want a blog to express your self or share content, is it a portfolio website, do you want just your resumé to open yourself to more career opportunities, is it just for fun? While you can have a website to achieve all these at once, as a newbie to this, it’s very important to choose where to start then expand into other things as time goes by.
Once you know what you want to accomplish with your website, it automatically narrows down your content objectives. For example, if it’s career-driven, you know you need only your resumé, short write up about yourself, accomplishments, and other content that aligns with your career (a good formal photo of yourself is also great).
Now we have a purpose, moving on to…
Regardless of having content or not, my advice is to have a demo page of some sort. It could just be a plain page with a text letting people who might mistakenly stumble upon your page know what the website will be about and have your contact information (either email or phone. Whichever you’re comfortable with sharing in public) and social media channels relevant to the purpose you’ve decided to build your website on. For example, if your website is career-driven, linking your Instagram page where you’re clearly “ballin” in the club might not be a good idea .
Creating your presence also applies to those who are ready to build their full website. During the time you’re working on your new website, having a page that lets people know what to expect is also the right thing to do.
Clearly, this is getting somewhere interesting. After doing this, you can start sharing your website URL in subtle places just to “let them know”. Add it to your personal email signature, add it to the end of a post you wrote, and so on. Start creating little sparks of awareness for your upcoming website. The good thing is when anyone visits, they see your small write up not only claiming space but also building reputation and owning your identity (which helps with SEO. Google is already on the move).
Trust me, having a demo/coming soon page helps. it beats having your hosing company place their ad on your page because you’ve not started building your website.
Depending on what the purpose of your website is, you need to come up with its content.
The best way to go about this is by typing it down somewhere. In no particular order type out everything you think you might need for this website. Whenever an idea comes up, type it down for later.
A good way to jump-start this process is to look for inspiration. Nowadays most people have mentors for everything. Look at your mentors’ website (if your mentor doesn’t have a website, you might need a new mentor). If you don’t have a mentor, look for someone doing what you want to do but is doing it on a high level. If you want to have a food blog, for example, google the best food blogs in the world and go through the top ten. The same applies to anything else. You can use these as benchmarks to structure your content (not copy).
If your website is a blog, you might want to come up with content that can consistently last for a month for starters depending on how frequent you choose to post.
For a portfolio website, if you have 10 works in the tuck, upload 5 at the beginning and spread the others over a period of time for consistency and engagement.
With content out of the way, the next and final step.
Finally, time to start building your website. There are easy tools to help build websites nowadays. WordPress, Google Sites, Wix, and so on. Some already have an idea of how to go through this process. If you don’t it’s really not a big deal you can have a designer use a predesigned template and manage your content yourself.
Hopefully, this has been enough to motivate you to begin the process of having your own personal website. Remember, there’s nothing more important than owning your content, and owning your website is the best way to start.