Whether you’re working freelance, or as a home-based entrepreneur, there’s really nothing quite like working from home, what with all the freedom you get from corporate rules and cubicles and dress codes (I mean, who doesn’t love working in sweat pants?!).
Of course, it isn’t to say that it’s easy: work-from-home advocates face the same challenges as people working in offices, particularly freelance professionals who choose to work from their home office rather than take their business downtown. However, in recent years, it’s gotten easier for work-from-home professionals to ply their trade online, especially with social media making it easier for potential employers to find us.
But social media presence isn’t the end-all-or-be-all of your digital footprint (although it does help a LOT!); as a professional, you should have more than one tool in your toolbox. Social media presence is a great boon for any work-from-home professional, but it does have the drawback of constraining you from the kind of content you can disseminate. So what’s the solution?
Simple: personal websites. Not only does a personal website allow you to put whatever kind of content you’d like, it also makes a stronger impression on potential employers by creating a unique calling card that your competitors don’t have.
Now, you might think that building an entire website on your own requires you to be an ultra techie or have an advanced degree in coding. I mean, it helps, sure, but it’s not necessary: there are so many website building tools online nowadays, and the most popular is WordPress. I’m sure you’ve heard of this platform before; a majority of bloggers use WordPress because it’s free, customizable, and easy to use.
It’s one of the best blogging tools and blogging platforms for work-from-home professionals because it helps you showcase your talents, your resume, basic coding experience, and your portfolio. Here are some tips to maximize your WordPress experience.
Go to the WordPress website and start an account. That’s it. Yes, it’s that easy. Of course, optimizing and customizing it is another thing, but, technically, you could start building your personal website by now. Of course, it won’t look so good but, if it’s a minimalist chic you’re going for…
Naturally, you’ll want to customize it so you can show off your personality, not to mention optimize it to make it easier for potential employers to find you. The first step is to choose your blog address. It can be whatever you want and will be the first thing people encounter. Free accounts have the “.wordpress.com” domain on their address, but for a small, monthly fee, you can have your own personalized domain name.
Next is choosing a theme. Scroll over to “Appearance” and choose an overarching theme for your blog. WordPress has a fairly extensive and comprehensive collection of free themes, although premium themes are available too. My advice: choose a theme that is minimalistic. This way, you don’t distract readers from your content. In my opinion, a personal website that has both your resume and your professional portfolio doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
Remember: although it’s billed as a “personal” website, you’re using your WordPress account to present yourself as a professional, so make sure you have your best, white-collar foot forward. SEO specialists SEOgine recommends focusing primarily on generating search engine optimized content that incorporates keywords and optimized Meta data to help you rank higher in search results. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little color and flair here and there, something you can do under the “Theme Options” menu. From here, you can edit everything from widgets and sidebars, to links to your social media accounts.
Content is Always King
Remember that old marketing saying, Content is King? Yeah, it’s a cliché for a reason: it’s true and it works. The media may change, trends might come and go, but high-quality and relevant content will always be something that draws entire crowds to you. For your website, treat it the way modern brands market products and focus on incorporating different aspects of technology to your site. If you can find a way to effectively incorporate, say, a VR experience to your website, do so.
What’s important, aside from a wide variety of content, is the quality of content you produce. Always make sure that your content is succinct, relevant, and updated. Everything your potential employers need to know about you and your work should easily be found, keywords that help your site rank should be organic and should sound natural, and any additional content should add value to everything else.
One way to ensure that you’re always at the top of search results is by creating fresh content on a regular basis. This can be done via blog posts. Search engines will always value websites that constantly update, a sure-sign of traffic.
Don’t Forget Social Media
Finally, don’t forget to link your personal website to your social media profiles, and vice-versa. In this way, you’re kind of cross-promoting yourself across different platforms, making it that much easier for you to be found.
Think of your personal website as an online calling card or resume: it should be work-appropriate, professional, and held to the highest standards. Keep it fresh and updated, and make sure it doesn’t distract readers from its content.