The benefits of having a business website have been outlined time and again, but personal websites have the potential to offer just as much value.
In fact, research from professional branding company Workfolio has found that more than half (56%) of all hiring managers value personal websites more than any other resource job seekers provide.
Workfolio founder and CEO, Charles Pooley, has also outlined on his own website a number of reasons professionals – whether employed, freelance or seeking work – should get their own website set up.
Pooley says that a personal website can improve your chances of being “found” online when people are searching for related services and information, sends a strong professional message and improves your content’s visibility. He says personal websites can also lead to better first impressions and connections with customers by putting a face to the name or brand.
“Good salespeople know how important it is to make personal connections with their clients. Whether it’s a shared hobby, life philosophy, or experience, making some sort of connection with your audience reminds them that you are a real person,” he writes.
“Websites give you a chance to talk about your interests and experiences in a way that is difficult to do on a resume, and gives visitors a number of chances to make those important connections.”
While Pooley puts forward a compelling argument for having a personal website for professional reasons, the drawback is that personal websites – and the perception of personal websites – can vary significantly.
Corporate strategist and blogger Tommy Humphrey’s says the popularity of personal websites means that they can mean “a lot of different things to different people, from a simple blog to a full-fledged interactive experience.”
“It seems like everybody and their dog has a personal website these days, or wants one,” he writes, notably, on his personal website’s blog.
But, the questions remains, who really needs a personal website? And should you buy a domain name for one now anyway?
The answer really depends on whether or not you want to spend the time and money investing in a personal website. Do you think it will be worthwhile in the future? Are you in a profession that values personal websites (such as the creative and freelance industries)?
Humphreys suggests it is also about how much you engage with the online world and what strategies you have for your business or career.
“Carefully executed, a personal brand site is more than just a vanity piece. It is a subtle marketing tool that can help you find new leads and new opportunities, and help you manifest your goals,” he explains.
“It’s also great for search engine optimization: for better or worse, you will dominate search results for your name. So the question is, how much do you value standing out on the Web?”