Our series of ‘bonus things’ for 2014 provides some extra credit type things that you can do to augment your online presence and the skills in your portfolio. The first bonus thing covers building a personal website.
Why would you need or consider a personal website? You may have a number of good reasons for doing so. A personal website can give access to your various contact details, profiles and provide a good hub for advertising yourself and what you do. It’s great if you have multiple jobs or online ‘personalities’. A writer AND a musician? No worries! Let people know in one place. A personal website is also dynamic; you can update it and change it easily to showcase recent work or alter details.
You don’t need to be able to code in order to create a personal hub page; there are lots of free or low cost and easy ways to do it.
If what you want is simply a landing page that you can use to pull together all your information with style, you won’t need more than an hour or so. There are a number of services that do this quite easily.
- Add a hub page to your WordPress blog, and make it your landing page. Bonus: get a custom domain name for your blog (for a fee).
- About.me: Gives you a landing page with a large and lovely photo and allows you to list your various profiles.
- Flavors.me: Very similar to About.me; offers paid-for premium content such as a custom domain name, video or audio content and multiple pages.
- Strikingly: Advertises itself as great for mobile, and offers analytics.
- Other options: Enthuse.me, Pixelhub
No coding required, but will require more time, skills and possibly money
If you want to invest a bit more time into a more powerful site, there are a number of options. Just a few:
- Squarespace: Not free, but offers an easy-to-use drag and drop interface. For those wanting more functionality.
- Wix and Weebly: Easy to use, and allow lots of customisation. Both offer free plans but may require a paid plan to avoid ads or get a custom domain name.
- WordPress.org: We’ve recommended wordpress.com’s free blogging tools for your 23 Things blog, but WordPress.org offers more powerful solutions. WordPress now accounts for about 60% of the world’s CMS-based websites! You’ll need to pay for hosting and it can take a bit more work to get things set up, but things like one-click installation help make these processes simple. There’s lots of help online.
Straightforward, but will require some html and/or coding skills
If you have some basic html and/or coding skills, your options grow. Some simple ones:
- University of Oxford webspace: Every member of the University has a small amount of space to play with, which saves you paying for an external host. You can see those who have build pages already. Our own web developer’s is a clean and simple example. You can upload whatever you like, within the limits, but you’ll have to create it another tool (such as Dreamweaver, NVU, Notepad/Notepad++, or any other basic text editor) and then upload it (follow these directions). Keep in mind that this space will not be available to you after you leave the University.
- Code Academy has a tutorial on building a basic personal webpage. It assumes some basic knowledge, but you can go through earlier tutorials to learn these skills if you so desire! You’ll still need to consider hosting and domain options.