If you're looking to build an online presence and feel your social media profiles aren't doing you justice, the next step for you may be a website and/or blog. It can seem like a daunting (or expensive) task, though, especially if you're already juggling multiple clients. Here are a few tips to help you get your website started:
Map Out Your Idea
Before you start building or designing anything, brainstorm everything -- big or small -- that you want to put onto your website. Once you have it all figured out, start organizing it into a proper site map. Here are some elements independent contractors may want to include on their website:
Experience: This could be a page that looks like your resume, or it may even be a link to download your resume. This is also a great spot to include references, testimonials and samples of past work you've done.
Blog: Blogs are a great way to build a reputation as a thought-leader. A blog entry doesn't always need to be thought-provoking, but can be as simple as your opinions and reviews of new products and best practices in your industry. If you do create a blog, remember to update it regularly.
Online Store: Some independent contractors have developed programs or published books. You can use apps and services like PayPal to easily create and manage an online store.
Personal Side: You probably don't want to publish pictures of what you did last weekend, but nothing says you can't be human. Have a page that shows your personal side so clients, recruiters and colleagues can get to know you better.
Great, you know what your pages will be! What's going to go on them? This is probably the most difficult part of creating a website. When you write each page, remember the focus on that page and stick to it. In other words, avoid going all over the map with your content. Focusing on specific topics also forces you to use the right keywords, which is crucial for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Create the Website
If you're a web developer or you are already familiar with basic HTML, CSS and CMSs, then you already know what to do here. If you're not as familiar, or if you simply don't have time, there are great services such as Weebly, Wix and of course WordPress that help you create websites for free and provide great templates to get you started. These sites will also help you pick out a domain and host it, if that's what you want to do.
Maintain Your Website
Now that your site is up and running, you've told people about it and the address is all over your applications and resumes, make sure you keep it up-to-date. You've probably been to a stale website before -- one that clearly hasn't been updated in 3 years. When a client visits this site, they immediately get a bad impression of you. This includes your blog, if you decide to have one.
Websites aren't just for large organizations but can be great for independent contractors who want more than a resume to give to prospective clients. They create a professional image and shows that you're serious about your business. Do you have a website? Do you think you need one? Would you like more information on this topic? Let us know in the comments below.