So Easy, Your Grandma Could Do It.
If there is one thing I could push every single person I meet to do it is this; have a personal website.
(Start here Squarespace – use code CSANCHEZ for 10% off).
Why you ask?
The world it is a changing. Can you remember the days when cover letters, hard copy resumes, and handshakes were the only ways people networked? Now LinkedIn has almost evaporated resumes, business cards are turning into twitter handles, and cover letters are absolutely replaced by short, succinct emails. As professionals, this is largely a world most of us haven’t embraced. If you are like me in a highly regulated industry, aka Finance, engaging online can be at best time consuming, and at worst a liability with our compliance offices. However, to not embrace forward progress is a sure way to be forgotten. As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you're finished changing, you're finished.”
Let’s get technical with a few numbers for you quant minded individuals like myself, soak in these statistics:
- 94% of recruiter’s vet candidates on LinkedIn before hiring
- 6.5 million active jobs/contracts posted on LinkedIn
- 82 percent of respondents reported leverage candidates online brand to recruit managers
- 73% of 18-34 year olds found their last client or job online
- Influencer marketing is the fastest growing area of marketing
If we don’t embrace the inevitable shift in how we communicate, how we grow our network, and how ultimately I believe we will monetize, we are leaving a monumental opportunity untouched. The question then becomes how do we do it? How do we build our brand outside of our corporate spheres, or build them both simultaneously? This question is a bit akin to how does one get hired or promoted. The answer is multifaceted and layered and in my post here BUT let’s start with one small step:
Build a Personal Website in 24 Hours.
If you do nothing else but you go out right now, buy your domain name, throw together a pre-made website, and update it with what you want to highlight, you will be the 1%. Things will happen for you, I promise. I’ll break down how I built mine and taught innumerable others to do the same on the quick. It’s simple, I dare you to be one of the few that does instead of the many who talk…
STEP 1: Pick your provider
There are tons of options, Wix, WordPress and hosting sites like HostGator, GoDaddy etc etc. I have a personal mantra which is; What if it was easy?
So that motto led me to Squarespace..
Their motto is – websites, beautifully, simply designed.
It was hands down the easiest, most professional and insanely beautiful websites I could find. I truthfully only ever promote brands I use, and that I love. I was approached by almost all the sites mentioned in this article to promote theres and turned them down.
Why? When I went to Squarespace HQ and heard their CMO (Derek Lee) explain their aesthetic and then sat down with Amory Wooden (their Head of Marketing) I absolutely got it. Between the modern lines, industrial feel, and jaw dropping interior of their building I could see they simply breathed life beautifully simply designed. They walk the talk.
So here’s the skinny.. all in one you can have a website builder, blogging platform, hosting service, and a domain name registrar. As opposed to using multiple providers. The key for me was simplistic. With a site like WordPress you have much more flexibility but it is incredibly more complex. I kind of think of Squarespace like an iPhone, it just works beautifully, easily and without a lot of glitches. I think of WordPress or the other sites a bit like an Android phone, it’s more open architecture so if you are a pro or want to hire someone maybe WordPress is more for you. These two options in my humble opinion are the best ones.
I had my last businesses website on WordPress and what I loved about it was we had a developer/website manager and so he would handle the backend and it was infinitely editable. What I struggled with is that my personal website isn’t that complex to necessitate hiring someone. I wanted easy… aka Squarespace so here’s the how, now that you know the why.
How to create a website with Squarespace:
Step 1: You need a domain
When you find the domain you like, purchase it, and Congrats! It’s Yours! Was that hard?
Already have a domain? Let's move on to the next step.
Step 2: Selecting a template.
Squarespace has more beautiful, professionally designed templates than Kim K has red bottomed shoes in her closet. You can pick from a variety of categories depending on if you want a personal brand site, blog, photography journal, ecommerce site etc. Select the category that tickles your fancy with your type of website, and choose the template that makes you feel like a happy little clam.
After you find the template you like, start creating your website using Squarespace 14-day free trial (register here).
Step 3: Start filling in your website information.
Now that you’ve signed up. You will find yourself logged into a new site. Yup, two steps to you technically having a site.
On the left, you will see a navigation as below:
Step 4: Design Your Website
Now the fun begins. These navigation are the tools that make up the content of your website. Personally I like to jump around and play with this portion myself. There is very little you can do to screw it up, so I think the best way to learn is to start clicking and playing inside with changes but for you check-listers below is step by step detail.
Let's start by clicking at the ‘Design' button.
Here you can add your Logo and Title for your website.
After setting Logo and Title for your website, you can now set the basic information.
Go to your 'Home', then 'Settings', then choose 'Basic Information'
Here you can choose your type of website, anything from Commerce, Business, Non-Profit, to Personal.
Under the site type, you can enter the description for your website like the picture below.
Step 5: Creating Pages
Your site consists of pages in a navigation menu and additional unlinked pages. Below is how to create new pages and organize content using features like Index Pages and Folders.
For editing and adding Pages, select “Pages" from the Home menu. Click the “+” sign next to the Navigation and to the types of page you would like to create in your site.
My website is focused mainly on my speaking gigs and my blog, therefore, the top three page features we use are 'Page', 'Index', and 'Blog'. When creating a new content, you need to choose the 'Page Title', and the format that you want for your page.
Next, you need to edit your page's settings, which include Navigation Title, Description, and the URL Slug. Clicking the 'Enabled' button means you allow your page to be seen by your audiences, otherwise, you are the only person to see it.
Index Page is a page that organize content from multiple pages into a single location. Every temple's Index Page has its own design and behavior.
Adding an Index Page is like adding a page. Except that you could drag the page down to make it a part of an Index Page, or adding pages under it.
You can then open the 'Page Settings' and choose 'Media' to update a banner image for that page.
Adding as many pages as needed by clicking 'Add Page'.
If you don't want the Index Page to be shown on your home page, simply drag it down to the Second Navigation, where it says 'Not Linked'.
Blog is where I spend most of my time. Adding a Blog is like adding a page. A Blog is a folder where you can add as many blog posts as you would like to and thus have rolling content.
Click here for our guide to creating a blog post.
Step 6: Upgrade Your Website
After designing your site, your trial page will eventually need to be upgraded.
You can upgrade the trial by purchasing Squarespace subscription here and add a custom domain. You can create as many sites as you want with a Squarespace account, however, each site has its own subscription. You can pay for your site every month or on a yearly cycle. You can upgrade your trial at anytime by selecting 'Settings' > 'Billing and Account' > 'Billing'. When you upgrade your site, your trial content will still be there.
If you want multiple people editing your site, you can send them contributor invitation by selecting 'Settings' > 'Permission' > 'Invite Contributor'
To manage your domain, you can select 'Settings' > 'Domain'. Your site has a default squarespace.com domain that was automatically generated from your first and last name when you signed up for a trial. If you want to change what appears before squarespace.com, select the domain and then edit the site ID.
You can also add a custom domain, with this, you will still see your Squarespace domain when log in your website, but your customers will only see your custom domain when you set it up as your primary one.
To set up a custom domain, you have three options:
- If you have an annual plan, you can register a squarespace managed domain, and the first year is free.
- If you don't have an annual plan, you can buy the domain through squarespace as well.
- If you have a domain with a third-party, you can use it as well.
Step 7: Connecting Your Social Accounts and Viewing Analytics
You can increase your online presence with your social accounts.
To do this, Select 'Connected Accounts'
Then, click on “Connected Accounts" and add your social medias account like I did my below. The default icons will then appear in your headers or footers. With my template, it appears at the footers.
Another way to manage your site is through data on traffics. A new site does not have any data yet, but overtime, you can view it through 'Analytics' in your Home menu.
Step 8: Start Promoting this Bad Boy
Remember, your goal is to promote yourself as an expert. You want to build your kingdom so regardless of what happens at your company, in your industry, in life in general you yourself are sought after. That is where the power is.
Let the adventure begin…
(Start here Squarespace – use code CSANCHEZ for 10% off).