How to create a personal brand website
A ‘personal brand’ is marketing yourself and what you do as your brand. You, your expertise and your experience is your product (or service).
A personal Brand can be in a range of industries - for example Corporate (coaches and mentors), Creative (from a creative service such as photographer to an author or an actor), Speakers, Direct Marketing or a Business Specialist (Marketing, branding, social media & sales).
In this article about websites for personal brands, I’m not looking at content of the site as there are many articles and advice in this area, I’m exploring website structure, look and feel and personal branding.
With the help of a few experts from my community I have put together a few tips to help you create a personal brand website.
A professional brand image is essential for a personal website – after all you are selling yourself!
Visitors need to buy into you, trust you and engage with you and therefore you should be featured throughout the site and especially on the home page with a ‘hero photo’ - a professional branded photo.
Fi from Fi Mims Photography is a personal brand photographer and suggests:
“ 1 - Know WHO your audience is and the message you want to send through your images. Once you've nailed those 2 key points you'll be in a great position to start planning the shots you need and what they should look like.
2 - Consider WHAT elements should you include in your images. Branding images should complement your ....brand! And as already mentioned above, they need to send a message to your audience, so you need to think about every detail including what you will be wearing, what location will be the best fit for the look and feel you want to have, and what colours or props you could include to help tell your story. You only have a few seconds to make an impact on viewers, so you want to make sure they notice and remember you.
3 - Think about HOW will you be using the images. These days the trend is for websites to use banner shots, so your photographer may need to focus on capturing horizontal images, and you may want to include lots of empty space for overlaying text or logos. If you have a website design in progress then sharing this with your photographer can be super helpful so they know what the key shots are and which spaces they have to fill.”
A few professional personal brand photos by Fi-Mims:
Website Banner Layout
Once you have a set of professional images and have selected your Hero Photo there are a few options in regards to the layout of your home page banner:
/ Minimal banner to take full screen + one line / link to more
/ Background of banner – can be a solid colour or at location
/ Banner with text alongside
/ Banner with video on top
/ Half screen banner (half image and half solid colour) to include more text.
Some options works better on mobile than others, best to consult with your developer first.
See examples (not my designs, examples of sites I found and linked)
Take some time to think about your brand strategy before you start. A brand is not only the logo but the overall feel of your website.
Even if you want to use your name as a word mark it is still important to engage a brand specialist to get it right – the right font, layout and colours that work with your overall image / personal brand.
Clare Blackstock from Blade Creative is a brand specialist and suggests:
“Think about your own personality traits – eg feminine, quirky, professional and then make sure the overall style of your brand or word mark eg. fonts and colours reflect this. Look at other personal brands with similar traits to see how they present themselves for inspiration.
If you sell someone else’s product (for example an independent distributes or a referral partner), consider how your personal brand word mark will fit with the product’s brand and make sure you follow their co-branding guidelines or rules.”
Some personal brand examples from Blade Creative:
Video is one of the best ways you can talk to your visitors directly.
An introduction personal video on a personal brand website will help communicate your message and who you are to your visitors and will create engagement quicker.
This is different than a company intro video or any other videos you will use on social media or a Vlog.
Suzanne Chadwick from The Connection Exchange is a personal branding specialist, and suggests:
“Tip 1: If you're unfamiliar with video then one thing I always say to my clients and community is to film yourself for five days straight. You don't have to post it anywhere you can just film it for yourself, but it's just starting to get used to being on camera.
Tips 2: Get over yourself. (well that was rude wasn't it!) :) What I mean is that if you constantly focus on yourself and not your audience or who you're speaking to then you've forever be worried about how you sound, how you look and whatever else you're thinking. Whether it's with video or speaking in general - it's about them and what you can share, it's not about you.”
You can read more tips from Suzanne here: “HOW TO USE VIDEO MARKETING IN YOUR BUSINESS”
Website copy or the tone of voice on a personal branded website is very important as visitors want to hear you and to get to know you.
If you engage a professional copywriter make sure they write in the way that reflects you and sounds like you as your followers will get to know you on social media channels and need to ‘feel’ that same on your site.
Karen Hollenbach from Think Bespoke is a Story Teller and a LinkedIn specialist, and suggests:
“Website copy must reflect you and tell your story. When visitors read your copy they should have a sense of who you are, why you do what you do and how you can help. Your goal is to build a connection by using the types of phrases you would share when you speak with potential clients. Your aim is to create connection with the ideal clients you wish to work with and so by giving visitors a glimpse into your own purpose and story they will better relate to you.”
This refers to the website map or content to include on your personal brand website.
As there are many articles on this topic I will not go into too much details but a few key points to consider:
Story - it is important to include a ‘my story’ or ‘about me’ page with the story of who you are - let visitors get to know you better as it is a personal website.
Speakers Page - most personal brands will offer a speaking service, it is important to include a speakers page with details, testimonials and a speaker kit to make it easy for potential customer to engage you.
Blog - as visitors want to hear from you and your expertise it is important to set up a blog on your website with tips, articles, and fresh content.
Social Media Integration - Make sure you include links to your active social media channels to make it easy for site visitors to connect with you.
For Instagram - include a live feed to showcase and encourage connections.
For YouTube - embed a few videos
For Pinterest - showcase a few boards
For Twitter - set up a live news feed to show latest news
At Webby Web Design we offer customised Squarespace websites. Squarespace is a great platform for a personal brand website as it is easy to manage and update with your blog, events and connect with customers. Here are some recent examples for clients we helped with personal websites in Melbourne: