For most business owners, having a website seems like common sense. But if you’re a startup founder or a service-based entrepreneur, you might be debating on having your own personal brand website.
So, how do you decide when you need to build a website that focuses on you? It really depends on where you’re at in your journey.
Why Do I Need a Personal Brand Website?
If you’ve just opened up a local boutique, all of your marketing efforts are probably going towards your business. However, once you get to the point when you’re looking to expand locations and pitch investors, you’re going to need a website that’s all about you.
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Why? Because people are going to want to know more about you than they’re going to want to know about how much a two-piece set costs.
The decision to have a personal website comes easier to solopreneurs like real estate agents or business coaches. They’re well aware that their personal brand is a huge selling point for their services. Imagine looking for either of these professionals and finding a website that only highlights their services. You probably wouldn’t hire them because there’s not enough underlying information about them as an agent (or a coach). Those like, know, and trust factors are important because they persuade customers to make a purchase.
Most business owners, at some point, are going to get in a position where they need to prove their expertise. Whether that’s to get clients or investors depends on the initial business model.
When you have a personal brand website, you have your own space to showcase your stuff. On top of client testimonials and social proof, you can display press features, blogs, and a bevy of information that can help get you to that next level.
But what should you have on your personal website? Let’s dig into the details.
The Ultimate Personal Brand Website Checklist
Keep in mind that if you have a product-based business, your personal brand sit is going to be extremely different. From the analytics to the actual content, there’s a fair few differences between the two.
And if you’re brand new to building a website in general, don’t worry because below I have the ultimate personal brand website checklist to help you get started.
10. Your Domain Name
You can purchase a new domain name for under $20 on websites like Go Daddy, Siteground, or Bluehost.
I know people take their time when deciding on a domain name, but I’m going to make it easy for you:
Just use your name.
If you look at this blog’s URL, you’ll see that’s exactly what I did. clairebahn.com, GaryVaynerchuk.Com, AliBrown.Com— we all use our names because we want people to remember them and because it makes Google’s job a lot easier.
Once you have your domain name, you can purchase website hosting through the same company. And although Godaddy offers its own hosting platform, I don’t know of any professional that uses them. Just get the WordPress CMS (content management system) to have unlimited capabilities for your personal brand website.
9. Website Pages
There are going to be four pages that you want on your website. You can have more, but these are the staples you can use to start.
Your about page isn’t just a place for you to dump your past experiences. It’s also shouldn’t look like your resume.
Your about page should be a mixture of personal and professional storytelling. Make sure to include links to your business websites (if you have one) or links to your social media accounts. I recommend linking to the social media account that you’re actually active on. You don’t want to lead people to your YouTube channel if you haven’t uploaded a video in a year.
This can be as simple or complex as you want it. Generally, most people just pop in a Contact Form and call it a day. However, you can also include downloadable documents such as your media kit or pitch deck. Including your business email also makes it easier for people to contact you directly.
If you offer services, this one is a given. Make sure you provide testimonials in these sections as well as detailed information about what each service you offer provides.
Your blog page will be made up of individual blog posts that you write weekly. Blog posts are going to be your best bet for getting onto Google’s front page if you implement SEO keywords strategically.
8. Personal Brand Photography
You only have seconds to impress people with your personal website. If you don’t have an image of you upfront and center, they’re going t subconsciously lose trust immediately.
I can’t say enough about the importance of photography for your personal brand. Not only does it help people get a visual of who’s content their reading, but it’s another way to brand yourself.
It takes 5-7 interactions with a brand before a customer recognizes it. I’m willing to bet it’s a lot easier to remember a face than it is to remember a service or logo.
7. SEO Copywriting
Your SEO copywriting needs to be implemented into your website pages and in your blogs.
Your pages should have 500 words or more to explain your personal brand statement, your services, and your contact pages. Five hundred is the minimum number of words that Google will pick up on for website copy. When you incorporate SEO keywords into that copy, you’ll be even more likely to show up on Google for that keyword (for example, my homepage is search engine optimized for “personal branding strategist”).
However, there’s only so much you can do to change and boost your personal brand website’s page SEO. That’s why SEO blogs are so vital for your website’s discovery. Blogs like this one are also a great indicator that you are actually knowledgeable in the industry you’re known for.
6. Email Opt-In
The reason email opt-ins are so important is because there’s so much competition online. SEO blogs can help if you’re consistent, but getting “discovered” on Google and on social media requires a little bit of luck.
With email opt-ins, people are choosing to come to you for help. You only need to worry about emailing once or twice a week at that point just to follow up with your leads.
And now, you don’t have to fight against the algorithms to be seen.
There are plenty of CRM (customer relationship management) platforms to choose from. You’ve probably heard of the classics like MailChimp and ConvertKit, but some popular growing systems also include Constant Contact, Ontraport, and Flodesk.
Most of these CRMs have a free option. MailChimp, for example, allows you to have 2,000 subscribers before you have to pay.
5. A Freebie
The best way to get people to agree to sign up for your email opt-in is by offering them something for free.
I personally offer a Personal Brand Rating Quiz that requires testers to input their email information in order to get the results. This tells me which people are actually interested in improving their personal brand, and it gives me an indicator of where people are actually in their personal brand journey.
Whether you eventually want to sell people your course or you want them to download your app, they’re more willing to trust what you’re selling when you’ve given them something valuable for free.
Here are some examples of freebie offers:
- An eBook
- PDF with industry statistics
- How-To Guide
- Free Consultation
- A Daily To-Do List
4. Social Media Icons
Despite all the benefits of having your own personal brand website, people will be more likely to keep up with you daily on social media. Your blog might be visited once a month, and you may get a response from your email a couple of times a month.
But social media allows you to remind people of your brand daily.
That being said, make sure your social media icons are easy to find. WordPress typically prompts you to include these at the top of your website near the menu bar.
I also recommend having these on your Contact and About pages just as a reminder for them to follow you. I’ll occasionally encourage my blog readers to follow me on places like LinkedIn as well (see what I did there).
3. Press Features
These are vital to the overall validity of your website.
If you don’t have any yet— don’t worry. Even small mentions in blogs or podcasts can say a lot about you as a business owner.
You can have this as it’s own separate page like I do, or you can include your press features in your About or Contact page sections. I also highly recommend displaying the logos where you were featured on your website’s homepage. You can see how I formatted mine here.
I’ve written about this in previous blogs, but you can get press features by submitting your expertise to websites like HARO. You can also simply obtain the help of a Public Relations firm to get the word out about your brand for you.
Keep in mind that press is the number one factor that enables people to get that nice little blue (verified) checkmark on social media.
Plugins aren’t available on all CMS platforms (such as Squarespace), which is why I always recommend WordPress.
Plugins are for those of us who don’t truly know the complexity of coding that websites generally require. You can install free plugins to make your website more interesting and to help it run smoothly. Here are just a few I recommend:
This SEO plugin helps guide you if you’re new to search engine keyword implementation. It will give you suggestions on how to make your blog content more readable, and it will tell you if you’ve done enough to optimize your blog for Google.
Google Analytics is going to tell you everything you need to know about your personal brand website ROI. It will allow you to determine which content people read the most, how long they stay on the page, and your visitor’s demographics.
You’ll need to sign up for Google Analytics separately and then install the plugin, but trust me, this is one you’ll want to pay attention to.
Social Media Plugins
Remember how I said to make your social media blatantly visible on your website? These plugins help you do just that. You can have them appear anywhere on your website, even in your blogs. I personally use Social Media Widget by Acurax, but there are plenty out there for you to choose from.
1. Landing Page for Social Media
And lastly, the one I never see people mention:
A landing page for all of your links.
You’ve probably seen services like Link in bio tools for your social media accounts (Linktree and Campsite are two popular choices). These allow social media follows to easily find your blog, Youtube channel, email signup, or other social platforms.
But the best solution to this problem is to create your own “Link in bio” landing page directly on your website. Here’s what mine looks like. This not only increases your website’s monthly visitors, but it can lead them right where you want them to end up anyway— your personal brand website.