Using a free website builder such as Weebly, it’s easy to make your own professional website in just a couple of hours. Having a website can help you manage your online presence so that when prospective employers or colleges search for you, they see what you want them to – your resume and portfolio of work, etc.
In this tutorial:
- Register a domain name
- Create a custom email address
- Choose a website builder
- Add content
- Share your site
Register a domain name
Stop right here and go register your domain name. I mean it. If you’re lucky, your full name (i.e. firstnamelastname.com) is still available, but it won’t be for long. Go get it, I’ll wait.
If your full name is not available, consider these alternatives:
- separating your names with dashes, e.g. jennifer-smith.com
- a combination of nicknames, initials, and your last name, e.g. jennyrsmith.com.
- an extension other than.com, e.g. try newer extensions like .bio or .website, or even profession-specific ones like .art.
For a long-lasting domain, avoid:
- extensions meant for companies like .org or country-owned domains like .me (owned by Montenegro).
- location based names, e.g. jennifer-in-texas.com
How to Get a Custom Email Address
Now that you have your own domain, why not get a custom email address at that domain? Google’s GSuite
allows you to use Gmail with your own domain name. It’s easy to set up and you can even get your domain name from them too!
Choose a website builder
There’s no need to mess with code or hire an expensive web designer when you can use free website builders like Weebly
to create a website. Website builders allow you to create professional-looking designs with user-friendly text forms and drag-and-drop interfaces. Just add your text and images, and your website is ready to go.
Check out the gorgeous themes Weebly has to offer in their theme gallery
and pick your favorite to get started with – you can always change it later!
Whether you create a trendy single-page website or use multiple pages, your professional website should at a minimum have the following:
Similar to the summary section of your resume, your professional bio should summarize your education and work experience for potential employers. Because your website is more casual, feel free to add a little more personality than you would on your resume, and include information like interests and activities that you enjoy outside of work.
Photo or life-like avatar
Humans are naturally drawn to faces and are more likely to trust a website with a photo of the writer. If you’re a bit camera shy, consider adding a look-a-like avatar, such as an illustrated caricature that looks like you. The Avatar Maker
is a free tool for making avatars.
Your website is useless without a way for people to follow up with you. Include a page or section dedicated to how people can get a hold of you. At a minimum, include a contact form that will send you your visitor’s message with revealing your contact information. You should also consider including a professional email address. If you’ve registered a domain name, you can use Google’s GSuite
to get a custom email address, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s also a good idea to link to any social networks you use professionally such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
To really stand out, highlight your skills and experience with a portfolio of your work, or at least a resume. However, quality is better than quantity – add only those pieces that are an exemplary example of your work.
Share your site
Once your website is published, go ahead and add it to anywhere you want people to contact to from: your email signature, business card, and all of your social media profiles – especially LinkedIn!