If a LinkedIn profile is the amuse-bouche for recruiters or hiring managers in search of the right talent, a personal website is the entree. That's where you can show off your photography portfolio, offer a more comprehensive description of who you are and what you do, and reach an entirely new audience who might not find you otherwise.
Before you even begin creating your site, it's important to think about what you're hoping to achieve with it. While finding a job might be a secondary goal of your site, the primary one could be to develop a following of people who like your work. "Know your website’s mission, your target market, and define your brand identity," advises Hagit Kaufman, VP of Brand and Design at Wix, a website development platform. "What is the voice of your brand, who are you speaking to, and what is the best way to engage with them?"
Thinking through your vision can be a time intensive process, but it's worth it in the long term. Instead of approaching your first website with the idea that you can always scrap it later on, think of it as something you can build on and revise in the years to come.
"When you start a website, it’s your brand, so you really only have one chance to make a great first impression," says Stephanie Abrams Cartin, co-founder of social media marketing agency Socialfly. "Don’t just throw something up to have something up there. Make sure it’s a website you’re proud of and that people are going to want to pay attention to."
While creating a professional-looking website might seem more daunting than assembling a LinkedIn profile, there are various online options that make it easy. Ahead, a look at four of the best ones and how to decide which is right for you.