Some people believe that to advance your professional career, your digital footprint should portray your personal and work almost as though they were the same. Everyone knows the benefits of having a business website. These days your business would be at a huge disadvantaged without one. However, for many entrepreneurs and businesspeople, the benefits of having a personal website as well are perhaps harder to justify.
Having a personal website as well as a business website is not just a nice option – it is essential. Everyone, no matter their industry, needs to have a personal hub of information about them online with focused branding. This can lead to greater business success, promotions and networking opportunities. 75% of people admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility if their website design is poor. The same is true for personal websites. If you don’t put in the effort, your credentials as a business person may be called into question.
Create your information hub
Your personal website functions as a digital home for your essential information. This includes your past career history and any significant role you’ve had throughout your employment history. It should also include your achievements, such as if you have won an award for your work. Similarly, it can also include any collaborations or things you’re proud of that would not fit well on your business website.
Many people use websites like LinkedIn for this but upgrading to a fully-fledged personal website can have benefits for both your career and your business. Social media websites like LinkedIn have limitations with the content you can upload.
With your own websites, you can more easily archive news coverage, photographs, articles and videos of yourself. This is especially important if you are an entrepreneur who has received media coverage for their work, delivered keynote speeches or written articles on your particular industry.
Some examples of notable people who have created personal websites like this are the author Rhiannon Navin, who uses her website to promote her book, the lawyer Gopal Subramanium, who has a website for his academic work and even Bill Gates, who has his own blog. Publishing content online is a great way to build this kind of digital hub.
Likewise, a business website allows you to create content specifically tailored to your audience and demonstrate your expertise. Creating a hub of information, either about you or your business, is important because you want people who already search for you to be able to find accurate, up to date content about you.
Find your focus
Having two different websites is important because it allows you to better focus on what you want to be known for. For instance, if you are a fashion entrepreneur, but have varied business interests outside your company then you can use your business website for all fashion content and your personal website to talk about other business ventures you are involved with.
Hone in on what you want to say. For example, do you run a pet care business, but want to move into more general consumer goods? Maybe you are a technology entrepreneur who is interested in management consulting. Perhaps you run an insurance firm, but want to showcase your creative side with your art and design work. Having a personal website as well as a business one allows you to realise these possibilities.
Control your brand
If your company is of any significant size, the chances are that you do not have full creative control over its website. Many CEOs and Managing Directors are at the mercy of the web developers and online content teams at their business, meaning they cannot easily control exactly how they appear on the company website.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you want greater control of your brand then creating a personal website is a great idea, whether you are just starting out in your business career or you are an industry figurehead.
This is helpful for directing your career outside your business. If you don’t want to be pigeonholed into one industry or type of work, then it’s best to keep your options open. Highlighting the different work you are involved in, whether that’s charity work, volunteering within your space or simply operating in different industries and companies, is always a good idea.
One of the most important reasons to have a personal website is for networking. Add a contact page to your website for people who want to partner with you, and you’ll be surprised at how many reach out. Many people will not reach out directly to your company for business enquiries that are unrelated to the company itself, so without a personal website, you are missing out on many potential contacts in different industries.
You will kick yourself when you realise how much you are missing out on. It could even help you land your next role, whether you are at the executive level or not. According to Workfolio, only 7% of job seekers have personal websites, so it really sets you apart. If your only digital presence is on your business’ website, then you simply aren’t doing enough to promote yourself, your philosophy and your personal brand.