When potential employers and clients are trying to learn about you, the first thing they'll do is Google your name.
Instead of pulling up a random photo or mention, a personal website features everything you want them to see in one place.
Professionals of any level and in any industry can benefit from having their own site, and if you set it up right and maintain it, you can get it to the top of the search results page.
Why you need it:
"It's your chance to tell people who you are," says Pozin. Social media sites can't accomplish as much as a website.
Your Facebook page is either private, or it's simply a collection of links you and your connections have posted. Your Twitter profile can only offer limited insight into your personality due to the constraints of its format, and LinkedIn — even used to its full potential — only showcases your professional life.
"When I'm considering hiring someone, I want to know where they fit in culturally," says Pozin. A website gives you a chance to highlight the aspects of your professional and personal lives that you want recruiters to see. And if you're in an executive position, a personal website is a great opportunity to position yourself as an expert and a thought leader.
How to set it up:
Pozin thinks that it's an unnecessary expense to get a professional designer for a personal site unless you happen to be a celebrity or a politician. "There are so many places to get a great website that it would just be overkill," he said. Most platforms for self-designed sites allow you to host your site for a reasonable annual fee (WordPress, for example, offers a custom site address for $99 per year).
Avoid getting a generic web template, Pozin recommends, and go for something tailored for your field.
If you're a designer, Behance, Krop, and Coroflot offer clean layouts that accommodate large, high-definition visuals. Writers can get the most from WordPress, which has templates that nicely highlight long blog posts and articles. And if you're looking for a general hub for all of your online content, Squarespace has options that look great on both desktop and mobile.
What to put on it:
No matter who you are, it's important to include your photo, bio, resume, and contact information. You can also use your website to highlight some of your best professional work.
Perhaps most important, says Pozin, is to update your site with a blog post at least once a month and ideally once a week. Since Google prioritizes sites that update frequently, it increases the chance that it will be the first result that appears when people search for your name.
He recommends writing about anything, whether or not it's related to business. Use it as an opportunity to share details of interesting projects you're working on or to share a personal experience, like going skiing for the first time.
Don't worry if you're not a practiced writer, Pozin says. Blog posts keep your site unique and alive.