Alan Shoebridge 2.0 and why you might need a 'you 1.0'
Don’t worry. I haven’t uploaded my brain into the Matrix, some other alternate reality or whatever new invention Elon Musk is cooking up in between his Twitter rants. I just completed a pretty simple – yet, long put off – refresh of my personal website. I think the changes look good, but I’m always open to input and I like tinkering with the design and content. So, at some point a version 3.0 is likely around the corner.
Making the changes got me thinking about why I built my site in the first place and why you might want to put one together too if you haven’t already. Now, I realize I’m not unique here and many people do have their own personal website. Yet, the majority of people in my network do not. I think that’s a missed opportunity for anyone in a creative field, especially marketing and communication leaders. Here are a few reasons why.
1. It’s all about you – all in one place
When you Google yourself - and don’t try to tell me you’ve never done it – what do you find? Most likely, you are presented with a lot disconnected parts that don’t go together into a whole story. When you have a website, not only are you likely to see your site come up first in any searches for you, you are also pointing people to the most cohesive narrative and presentation of you. This is important when you are looking for a job, applying for a board position or just sharing more about yourself for an upcoming presentation or article opportunity.
Having a personal website let’s you take control over your personal brand and allows you to establish the story you want to tell. You are in full control of what information you want people to see and how you want to structure it. More importantly, you can do that without having to conform to the limitations of social media sites.
2. You can establish your expertise and perspective
The one piece of advice I give everyone – especially those in leadership roles – is to have a perspective on issues that matter in your industry. That’s what truly makes you different from everyone else. I’m always amazed by how many wonderful professionals never share their perspectives on the issues of the day. Having a website gives you an ideal place to do that if you aren’t comfortable using social media. Ideally, you should do both. Social media is the perfect vehicle to drive traffic to your website’s content.
I originally started my website primarily for the blog feature. I wanted somewhere to house them and drive traffic from my social channels. During my refresh of the site, I added a page to house articles, podcasts, presentations and videos where I’ve been a participant. That’s another way to organize the fractured way those things might show up in Google search and organize them into the things I most want people to see.
People also ask me for advice about writing blogs. I think it's a great approach, but you do need to commit to enough content to make it worthwhile. I think two blog posts a month is a good goal. If you can't do that, it probably is better not to invest a lot of time on setting up a blog or front-loading your site with content that will get really old fast.
So can you really do this?
Yes. It’s surprisingly easy to register your domain name (I used godaddy.com) and design your site using design templates (I used wix.com). When designing your site, I think you want to first establish a high-level goal. For instance, is your website a vehicle to house your blog and other content or is it more of an online resume with links to your work product? The answer to that will help you set your high-level order and showcase the appropriate content.
If you need help, I think this is also a great time to reach out to people in your network who know some graphic designers, writers and others that can build something for you. People need the work!
What I changed on my site - your feedback is welcome
This short video goes over some of my changes with a few pointers about what you might want to think about if you make the leap to building a personal website. I'm also open to feedback and would like to hear from you about what works and what doesn't. If you have suggestions, email me.