- Posted by bsimms
- On March 21, 2016
I used to think personal websites were corny, not to mention unnecessary. Like many, I have more public accounts (i.e. LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) then time to update them. So why would I need the additional headache of a personal website?
Four practical reasons why I now believe personal websites have value:
- Complete control over what media can be hosted
- Proof of the skills you reference in your resume
- Control of your branding or image
- Demonstration of web media skills (if you build the site yourself)
Have you ever tried to link certain media types (i.e. code), hosted on a newer website (i.e. Shinyapps) to your LinkedIn profile? Well, I can tell you that it doesn’t work- LinkedIn won’t let you. There are probably good reasons for this, but as someone trying to demonstrate new skills its frustrating. On a personal website – mine is built using WordPress – you just add the necessary apps to the WordPress frame, and presto, you can host or embed whatever media you like. Also, having your own website allows you to control the quality of the media you host. I had a lot of fun recording/compiling the green-screen video for the “About Me” and “Resume” pages, and did so without the loss of quality which accompanies YouTube hosting. Plus, nothing says “I am pro” like a couple advertisements before your video plays!
The second reason is an extension of the first. Throughout our careers we are constantly having to prove ourselves, but at no time is this more evident than when switching careers. The metrics of your old job no longer mean much and you are pressed to demonstrate your new skills in order to gain employment. A personal website helps with this. For example, in addition to me saying “I can do machine learning in R”, I can link to the code itself and prove my abilities to prospective employers.
Controlling your image. I am certainly under no illusion that my website is the sleekest around, but it is designed in a way which I like. I believe it is catchy, easy to navigate and concise. I despise cluttered drop-down menus and websites with more “clickables” than content- so I built mine simple. I also found it helpful to have a theme before starting construction. For those of you familiar with WordPress, I do not mean a “WordPress theme” (although I did use one), but rather a conceptual theme. Since my goal for this website is to generate business as a Data Analyst consultant I wanted to choose a theme which is central to turning data into information: “Thorough. Creative.” captures the sentiment well, I think.
Finally, if you end up building a website yourself it demonstrates additional skills, as well as, a desire to learn. Of course applications like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace have made constructing a website much easier than in the past, but this does not diminish the fact that you took initiative.
So there you go. A few practical reasons to consider building your own website.
Besides, its cool to see “your name.com” !
Thanks for reading,