February 2, 2015
[full piece here.]
I spend most of my life online. My work revolves around my ability to cultivate a strong digital presence and, frankly, I spend a good deal of my leisure time surfing the web as well. So it’s really important that I’m able to direct and manage my digital footprint.
Kelli Marshall nailed this topic in a recent Vitae piece in which she laid out a solid plan for taking charge of your online presence. I want to expand on one part of her plan — not only because I think it’s vital, but also because I happen to think it’s fun. She wrote about the importance of having a website so we can control the primary narrative of our web lives. Building a site with a URL that corresponds with your actual name will almost certainly ensure that Google will display your site first in the search results of those who look you up.
Now if you’re anything like I was five years ago, you don’t have the first clue about how to build your own website. I wanted one but I didn’t even know where to begin. As Kelli mentions in her piece, it’s actually pretty easy to build a basic website these days with a template from a company like WordPress. But even that process can be confusing for someone with no previous knowledge of how the web works. You might know theoretically how to change the oil in your car, but actually crawling under the chassis and loosening the plug from the oil pan is another story.
So without further ado, here is a quick five-step plan that even the least web-savvy can follow to build a site from scratch.
As Kelli mentioned, there are several platforms from which to choose. Some of the best known are WordPress,Blogger,Squarespace,Tumblr, and Weebly. Feel free to explore them all. But my advice: Go with WordPress. The WordPress platform will give you more options than Squarespace and allows you to create a better-looking website than Blogger or Weebly. Tumblr is cool, but not the best option for a professional website.