Are you looking to start your own website? Already have a website that you want to improve? If you fall into one of these categories, you’re already on the right track. Ashley Gallman Williams, Client Relations and Events Manager at Wix.com, shared her advice for why every creative (including you!) needs a website at her Find & Follow Your Passion workshop on Saturday, November 9 at Eugene Lang The New School for Liberal Arts. Ashley’s insight can help anyone who’s looking to enter a creative field, and her tips on using Wix, a free, user-friendly web development platform, are the perfect way to get started.
Take Back Google
In today’s job market, it’s safe to assume that employers will Google you. But don’t let that scare you – you have the power to control what people see when they type your name into a search engine. One of the easiest ways to “take back Google” is to have your own website. A personal website acts as a home for your online presence, increases your search engine optimization (SEO), and summarizes exactly what you want employers and recruiters to know about you. This is especially important if you’re looking to launch your career, get freelance projects or explore to new job opportunities.
Show Your Personality
Prior to starting work on your site, consider what you’d like to include (ideas below!) and what you hope to achieve with it. Websites are great because you have full control of the look and feel, which helps convey your personality to whoever clicks on your link. Another amazing thing is that you can update your site as soon as your goals change or you gain new experiences.
Don’t be afraid to mention your hobbies or feature your Instagram feed – showing people who you are outside of work can be an asset to your professional life.
Optimize Your Job Hunt with a Website
Ashley stresses that human resources departments depend on Google these days so you should be searchable online. When an employer Googles you and sees your website, they will immediately get a good idea about who you are and how you would fit into their company’s culture. Websites have more personality than resumes and hiring managers are more inclined to click on a link to your website than they are to open a resume you attach in an e-mail. A website can (and should) be a hub for all your social media profiles that are relevant to your career (no need to include Facebook if there’s nothing there that pertains to your professional life). That way people can go to your website and see your complete online presence in one place instead of scrolling through pages on Google.
Image from Ashley’s presentation. View the full presentation here.
What to Put on Your Website
Your website should always include contact information, a headshot, a resume or bio, proof that your work is awesome, and links to your social media profiles. Your email address should always be accessible; if someone likes your work, you want to make it easy for him or her to contact you. Ashley also suggests that you have a great headshot that conveys what you want to do or who you are as a brand. If you don’t know what’s acceptable, a great way to figure it out is to look at the people in your industry and see what their headshots look like.
Your resume or bio should show who you are and explain why someone looking at your site should hire you (if that’s your ultimate goal). However, don’t forget to include work samples to reinforce everything you say on your site. You can incorporate your work through photos, downloadable files, links, or all three. For a visual idea of how this is done, check out this presentation slide from Ashley’s workshop.
Get Started on Wix.com
By now, you may already have a vision for your website. If you’re worried about the vision not becoming reality, don’t be. Wix makes it super easy for anyone to create a beautiful intuitive website, with no prior coding or design experience needed. All you need to do is sign up with an email address and you can start building your own HTML5 website and mobile site in no time.
Wix is a web development platform that is built on a freemium business model, much like LinkedIn. You do not have to pay to make a website, but if you later decide you want to add features or link to your own URL, you can upgrade to a paid membership. You can use any template on Wix and manipulate the visuals, change fonts and colors, add or delete pages, insert your own photos and so much more. You also have the option to build a site from scratch.
So what are you waiting for? Start building the creative website you deserve now!
Are you a creative with a Wix website? Share it in the comments below!