Do I need my own website?
I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that the only people who may need websites are organisations, businesses, or entrepreneurs of some description. The idea seems overkill given that we’re essentially expected to have a presence on at least one social media platform, because “how else are we going to keep up with the rest of the world in this day and age?” And at the end of the day, what is the real difference? Your Facebook page is practically the front page of your slice of the internet right?
Though it doesn’t feel like a necessity with all of these places to connect with people, not to mention that most, if not all of them are free platforms, why would it matter if you didn’t have your own website?
Truthfully, it is much more than businesses, organisations and entrepreneurs that benefit from having a website.
I’m going to go over some of the reasons you should consider creating your own website. You can read about free hosting platforms that you can use to create your own website here.
Reasons you should consider creating your own website
Having a personal website can be beneficial in many ways. And to be clear, I’m not talking about starting a blog and trying to turn it into a career, I’m talking about claiming a slice of the internet for yourself. From a professional perspective, it offers you a space to gather all of your information in one place that is easy to access and distribute as you see fit.
Entrepreneurs benefit from having a website to showcase their business ventures and gain leads, clients and sales. They may have a site that is dedicated to their business under a business name, or using their personal name as a brand. The benefits of having a website when you are trying to build a business are relatively obvious so I won’t get into them here – besides, this post isn’t about using the internet to build a business, so that is far beyond the scope of this post anyway!
To share a digital portfolio
If you are an artist or creative of some description, you should definitely consider getting your own website.
You can use the digital space to collect your portfolio of work to showcase, or as reference when securing work. I personally think that freelancers fall somewhat into the entrepreneur category, but the way that you would build a website to benefit your professional endeavours would – and should – be different.
For example if you are a freelance photographer, you may only have one or two types of images on the site you have for the services you provide i.e. family portraits, accompanied by some testimonials, but you may consider having an additional site to showcases a wider portfolio of work that spans the entirety of your career. Essentially a “master” portfolio site allows you to see the progress you’ve made with your art over time. This would not necessarily be made up of commissioned work, and could serve as a space that you share with prospective clients who want to see everything else you’ve done.
You’re creating a digital record of your life – (traditional diary blogging)
If you’re the kind of person that is interested in record keeping, you may want to create a site that acts like a traditional diary blog. You can essentially create a site that you use as a digital journal.
I know that the idea of this may seem somewhat dated, because who would be interested in the things you say, do, or think aside from you, and possibly your family and friends? Well, if you remove the idea that you need to monetize your existence, or write for a specific audience, then beginning to build a digital record of your thoughts in one space can be quite liberating.
Not to mention really interesting for you to read at a later stage. Journaling, digital or otherwise, has a positive impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. And like almost every other platform on the internet, if you felt so inclined, you could password protect areas that you feel you would like to remain unread by strangers.
One reason why I personally think this is a great reason to create your own website is because reading first-hand accounts of people’s experiences years or decades later is incredibly interesting. The armchair sociologist in me really loves the recordkeeping capacity of the internet. And although I might have a soft spot for using a website as a sounding board, or a place to explore your own mind, it is a great way to immortalise your thoughts and ideas. After all, once something is on the internet, it never truly goes away.
Digital Legacy – creating a family record of some kind
This reason is linked pretty closely to the one above, but instead of your website being a digital diary, you can use the internet as a space to collect, collate and organise information about yourself and your family. A digital family tree if you will.
It’s very rare that you will find somebody that isn’t interested in their personal history in some way shape or form. You can put information about yourself that you would like to share with your family, now and in the future in one place. Also, unlike social media, if you include your family members as contributors to the site, if something was to happen to you, they would still be able to access all of your files and the capital that you produced on the site. As you may be aware, if somebody in your family passes away, their social media pages remain essentially inaccessible unless they have added you as a legacy contact that will allow you to download all of their files and information.
Creating a website to pull together a digital legacy allows you to immortalise the important things that you want to share about yourself and your history.
I’ll be honest, I am beyond surprised that this is not common practice already. I find it wild that we still rely on individual curriculum vitae documents when applying for jobs – especially when interviewers sit with paper copies, only to throw them away and make notes on a digital document elsewhere. Madness.
Creating a website that doubles as a digital CV can be a great professional investment. Like the first reason – creating a space to share your portfolio – you can build a website where you can save digital copies of everything that you need in one space for prospective employers. It also means that you don’t have to print copies of reference letters, or your qualifications for every single job application.
Why do I need to have a website as a CV when I could just use Linked In
My counter to that is: why not both?
You could very easily put all of the necessary information on Linked In, and use the website CV to supplement that. Consider this: how much depth can you go into to explain a project that you worked on in Linked In? Can you include supporting statements and feedback from colleagues and images from that same piece of work you completed all in one space in LinkedIn? Sure, but can you do it without clogging the professional information that you want people to see? Unlikely. LinkedIn still works by a glance. You can put in a link to your website with a digital CV as a way for people to get more in depth information if they are interested about certain aspects of your work. A website CV is simply an investment in yourself as a professional.
So what’s the real difference between creating my own website and becoming a blogger?
Well, as you can see from some of the reasons I’ve mentioned, getting your own website doesn’t have to be an attempt to monetizing your content as a business in its own rite – which is what blogging is for a lot of people who start blogs.
Blogging has its own separate purpose, and even if you do have a blog or are wanting to venture into blogging, it’s still a great idea to get your own website beyond that. A few of the reasons you’d want to keep them separate are
- To create a profitable blog, you would be creating content that fits into a niche, and therefore focusing on particular subject matter. It’s difficult to create a profitable blog by diarizing your life if you’re not already a celebrity or influencer of some sort, and that is because it is unlikely that an audience will be interested in the things that you do in your day. There are a lot of blogs about blogging that talk about creating content within a niche so I won’t expand on that here.
- You don’t have to worry about creating a personal brand unless you are using your own site for business purposes (such as a digital portfolio). You don’t necessarily have to focus on the marketing aspects of a personal website the way you might with a blog. It means you don’t have to be mindful of consistency with aesthetics, the frequency with which you update or add new content, or driving traffic in the same way as you would while building a blog brand.
- Your personal site is for you. A blog is essentially for your audience. Your own website is to serve you, while blogs are essentially places that ‘solve problems’ or answer questions for an audience. For example, blogs about personal finance are not bank statements and income reports of the people who run those blogs – they offer advice and guidance on personal finance.
So when it comes down to it, regardless of what you’d like to use it for, it’s a great idea to get your own website. If you’re a blogger or run a business I’d suggest creating a separate site that’s just for your own personal use, or that becomes a professional hub that acts as a digital CV and portfolio and business contact all-in-one if your blog becomes wildly successful and you in turn become an influencer in your niche.