Personal brand websites require a different approach than corporate websites. While corporate websites typically feature industry jargon and niche-specific content, personal brand websites are most effective when they're lean and direct.
Whether your personal brand website needs a refresh or you're starting from scratch, check out these tips and insights from Flow's Website Developer Sonya Dalrymple on how to build a powerful online portfolio.
1. Have a focused service offering…
The K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) is a cliché because it works. Your personal brand website should have a focused service offering – hiring you to consult, selling your book, booking you to speak, or whatever else you do for your clients.
"Whatever you want people to say 'yes' to should be evident all over your personal brand website," says Dalrymple.
After you define that offering, ensure your clients know what they're missing out on by not working with you. People tend to have a stronger emotional reaction to loss than they do gain. This isn't to say you should fearmonger – but show your audience how you'll guide them to avoid failure and achieve success.
…and an unmistakable call to action.
Whatever service you provide, make sure your call to action (C.T.A.) is obvious throughout your site and above the fold on the home page. The C.T.A. should be simple and straightforward (schedule a call now, sign up here, book me to speak, etc.) and should be worded the same way throughout your site.
"It sounds oversimplified," says Dalrymple, "but clear and consistent messaging will help your audience understand how you help them."
P.S. - we help entrepreneurs craft their service offering messaging with our brand strategy package.
2. Refresh your imagery.
Fresh images and graphics are essential from both an aesthetics and storytelling perspective. Updated headshots are important – especially if you're a speaker or your work is public-facing. Our appearance changes every three to four years, so keep that in mind when scheduling new photos.
The good news is that you don't necessarily need a professional photoshoot to take great pictures for your website. Smartphone cameras take quality photos, so if you can recruit the help of a colleague or friend, you're in business. If your vibe is more casual – make sure the photos reflect that. The goal is to show who you truly are on your personal brand website.
We recently managed a photoshoot for a client that showcased her personality: business-forward yet playful. The final cuts were a mix of traditional headshots and more laid-back photos of her either with a glass of wine or in a coffee shop.
3. Write your “about me” in a first-person perspective.
Third-person bios make sense on corporate websites, but this is your personal brand website – which means you should write in the first person. Use your about me section to share your areas of expertise and what you care about.
"Have a conversation with your audience," says Dalrymple. "These are all points of resonance that people can connect to."
Offering connection to those that visit your website automatically makes you more personable and approachable.
4. Make sure your home page can tell a full story.
What you put on your homepage (and in what order) will determine how long people stay on your site. The top of your homepage should clearly state your service offering and a call to action above the fold.
Using our client Andrea from above as an example, the top of her home page describes who she is and how she helps her clients: she's an entrepreneur and 2x best-selling author helping you discover what business to build.
"Your message should emotionally draw someone in," says Dalrymple. "What is someone struggling with? What is their need? Draw them into what you're offering by addressing those pain points."
After your service offering, show people how to connect with you - you can lay it out in simple steps and even include a freebie or lead capture. Andrea offers a free quiz that gives her audience insight into what type of entrepreneurship they should pursue.
You should also include a blurb about yourself that leads to your about me page and some social proof of your success and expertise. This could be testimonials or logos of clients you've worked with – or a combination of both!
5. Don’t ignore the little details.
The aesthetics of your website are also important, so pick a font and a color scheme that you feel represents you as a brand.
"My biggest piece of advice is to buy your domain and make it your name," says Dalrymple. "If you want to attract high-value clients, you should invest in the overall development side of your site."
Dalrymple recommends hiring help if you're in a position to do so. Updating plugins and maintaining the site is a pain and takes a decent amount of I.T. knowledge.
"Ultimately, it's a time vs. money decision," says Dalrymple.
Your personal brand website allows you to position yourself correctly as an expert in your field. As many entrepreneurs build businesses to sell them, a personal brand website is a piece of real estate that can be tweaked and updated as you grow and evolve throughout your journey.