You know the age-old question: If a personal website exists on the internet and no one is around to check it out, does it make an impact?
…or something like that.
In any case, the last thing you want after working to make an incredible new personal website or online portfolio is for it to do nothing for your personal branding. The goal with a personal website is for new people to learn about your past projects, see your thought leadership or side hustles, and understand the ways you could work together. And none of that can happen if you don’t get people there.
To help make that happen, here are some ideas for personal website promotion that will ensure your site is actually shared with the world (instead of just lost on the internet).
Update all of your social profiles and bios
Let’s start with the easy step. Anywhere you already have a presence online, you’ll want to add a link to your personal website.
Social profile bios are a good place to start. Most only allow one link; if you’re already sharing a website in that real estate that you want to keep, there are plenty of free tools that allow you to create a landing page with multiple links (or, you could just ensure your personal website clearly links to all your various projects and use that as your homepage on the internet).
There’s a pro trick for personal website promotion on LinkedIn: While anyone can add a website to the intro section of their LinkedIn, it will be buried under the “contact info” link. A better approach is to turn on creator mode, and then you’ll have the ability to add a more visible link at the top of your profile (you can even customize your CTA to make it extra tempting to click on!).
Finally, if there’s anywhere else people tend to find you online, make sure your personal website is tied to it. Have you contributed articles to publications recently? Reach out and ask if they can update your bio to include your personal website. Been on some popular podcasts? See if they can link your website in the show notes. Have recorded YouTube videos from previous speaking gigs? Ask them to add your website to the description.
A couple of other low-hanging opportunities for personal website promotion are in your email signature and on your business cards (if that’s still something you regularly use!).
Check on your personal website SEO
If people are searching for you (or someone who does the work you do), you ideally want them to land on your website. That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in. While it may feel like overkill to apply this marketing tactic to your own personal branding, it’s a great way to get discovered (and doesn’t have to be all that hard).
Many personal website builders have some basic SEO features built in, so it’s worth poking around the settings and ensuring you’ve taken advantage of every tool available to you. At a minimum, you should update your SEO title and site description to include your name and a brief description of the work you do: These will affect how your website shows up in search results.
If you want to get more sophisticated, you could make sure to add keywords related to your work in headers and subheaders on your website pages, publish regular blog content on your site around topics and keywords related to your work, and ensure all images on your website have alt text with relevant keywords. But the easy basics should be a good foundation.
Just tell people!
There’s no shame in sharing your excitement about this new website you worked so hard on. Life’s short: Go ahead and post about it on your social channels, share it with your newsletter subscribers or podcast listeners, email folks in your network letting them know to check it out.
If you want to make this promotion more impactful, consider going beyond just saying “check out my website!” Maybe you ask people for feedback to get them engaged. Maybe you write a post talking about the process of making it to help others with their own websites. (Or, if you worked with a designer to create it, write about the process of working with them so they’ll want to share it, too.) Maybe you use this as an opportunity to remind people what you do and how they can help you succeed. For instance, you might post or email something like:
I’m so proud of how this website shows off my work in [brief description or bulleted list of the types of work you do or especially impressive projects you’ve shared on your website].
If you know anyone looking for someone who’s great at [general skills highlighted on your personal website], I’d appreciate it if you’d forward my website along!
Build your thought leadership, build your personal brand
Let’s be honest: Very few people (besides your parents) are just going to browse your website for kicks. They’ll check it out because they want to learn more about you—and the best way to make them want to learn more about you is by building your thought leadership.
So get out there as much as you can: write articles around the web, do more speaking gigs or podcast appearances, share your expertise with journalists, and always, always make sure your website is linked somewhere. In each of these moments you’re giving people a teaser of what you have to offer—and they’ll be raring to head to your new personal website to learn even more.