I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn, isn’t that good enough?
Even if you do not own a small business or do not sell things online, there are plenty of reasons why you, as an individual, should have your very own website. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus are all great ways to spread your social media presence and increase your personal branding, but the problem with all of these social networks is that your content only lives on that particular outlet, to be consumed only by your followers that exist on that social network. The world is bigger than what exists on social media, and if you go to your profiles on each of these channels, there is likely to be some variance in the personality that you bring to each different network. Some venues, such as Instagram, if you read the terms of service, indicate that once content is posted it becomes part of their property to do whatever they wish.
Imagine your own content in a central worldwide location
Another reason you should not be posting all of your content exclusively to facebook is that facebook curates and chooses who gets to see your content, regardless of whether you are friends. Posting to multiple outlets will help, but where does all of your content that you created live? Across multiple sites. So, if you google yourself, what do you see? A mismatch of social media accounts but no single place where people can really get the essence of you. When you have you own website with your chosen domain name, all of your content can live in one place, open to the entire world. You can still post everything to social networks but with one online repository of all of your content that lives on your website.
How to start your new website
So how do you go about getting a website? There is a small investment; you will need to buy your own unique domain name which will run you approximately $15 a year to retain. This should be your first step, a lot of research should be going into picking your domain name. If you do not have your full name as a domain name and it is available, you should purchase it even if you do not plan on having a website just yet, as this is important to your overall branding. You can use the domain name for email even without a website. So instead of using a free hotmail, yahoo, or gmail account, you can have an email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, which is what I have. Purchasing your domain name will also save anyone else from creating a website with that particular domain name. I highly recommend Google domains to search for and purchase your domain name, as it is very easy to setup a website and they protect your private personal information for no extra charge.
Where will your website live?
After you purchase your domain, the next step is to get a website web hosting service. The easiest and cheapest way to get one setup is to sign-up for a low cost personal WordPress.com account for $2.99 a month, which also include the cost of the domain name. While you may not have complete control over the functionality and look of the site, there is very little knowledge and no upkeep to keeping everything up-to-date and working. You can start publishing new content right away without worrying about the look too much at first. Also, you can always migrate your WordPress.com website to a full WordPress.org website later on. This will allow more control, but also some knowledge and routine maintenance will be required, as well as a legit web hosting company. I use and recommend SiteGround web hosting which is very reliable as well as affordable, and their customer service is excellent should you run into any issues with your website.
You got this, let’s build your own website!
I hope you can see now that it is very easy to start and maintain your website, even if you don’t know anything about programming or web servers. If you can write an email with an attachment or if you can write post to facebook, you definitely have the skills required to start with your very own website. There is an abundance of self-help available online for those creating their own websites, and if you get stuck, there are plenty of people at local WordPress meetups that would be willing to help, sometimes for no charge. You may also feel free to post comments below with your questions and I will be happy to answer anything that was unclear.
Have fun and make a great website for yourself!