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Why developers need a personal website (and how Polywork can help)

Why developers need a personal website (and how Polywork can help)

If you're looking for proof that developers do more than just code, all you'd need to do is head over to the Polywork community. Here, you'd find engineers who certainly do their fair share of development, but also share their passions every day.

Still, there are many engineers who’ve yet to dip their toes into the personal branding waters. Being seen isn’t simply a cosmetic concern — if your multifaceted self is invisible, how can you open yourself up to new side projects, your next co-founder, or an opportunity for upward career trajectory?

A personal brand can be conveyed in many ways, but it’s important to meet audiences where they are — online. At its foundation, a personal brand can shine through a personal website, which can:

  • Help you — as opposed to someone else on the internet — tell your story
  • Give you a way to centralize the personal and professional parts of who you are
  • Make the daunting task of building an easily discoverable digital footprint that much easier

That said, we all know that getting started is the hardest part.

Below, we outline some of the key issues many developers face in building their personal brands, and where portfolio websites (and Polywork) can help.

What are the key components of a developer’s personal brand?

A developer’s personal brand should begin with visibility over virality. So, how can developers — let alone anyone — make themselves feel seen online?

Let’s begin with the building blocks of a personal branding statement, one of the fastest ways to give audiences a comprehensive summary of who you are. This is where a quick brainstorm, coupled with automation, can come in handy.

Start by asking yourself these three questions:

1. How do you want to be known within and outside dev? Moreover, if someone were to search for you online, how would you like to prioritize your mix of personal and professional accomplishments? This will lead you to the best order of personal branding operations.

2. What are you looking to build? Is it an audience, or community, or simply a site to send folks who want to get to know you better? This answer will help you determine the ways you’re identified, and as important, how others can find you outside of or within established communities of developers.

3. What thing(s) does no one know about you that provides a full picture of who you are? If you could proudly wear any number of badges you’d like (more on this below), what would they say?

How to: Use Polywork’s Badges and bio blocks

Standing out online is difficult, which is why you can use Badges on Polywork's personal website builder as unique signifiers you can showcase for all to see. Here's how they work.

Start by creating a new Badge:

  1. Select the Badges block in your editor
  2. Click Add New Badge
  3. Search the term you’d like to add, if it doesn’t show, you can continue to the next step
  4. Click Create it here
  5. Select the color and icon for your new badge
  6. Click Create
  7. The Badge will be added to your profile
Above: Selecting Badges in Polywork's personal website builder

By adding Badges, developers then have the ability to automatically generate headlines and bios via blocks, taking some of the anxiety out of succinctly summarizing all that you are.

How developers can stand out

Getting the attention of new audiences within vast, global developer communities is a major challenge. “Everyone writes,” one developer noted on a recent HackerNews thread.

Hyperbole aside, there’s a valid concern about the return on the personal branding investment when there’s a proliferation of developer content across the web. However, that shouldn’t deter developers from starting to build a presence based on their personal experiences that likely apply to more people than they think. Our recent interview with content creator Ayu Adiati showed that writing-as-you-learn served as a shared experience with so many others.

It’s all a part of creating a portfolio that grows and evolves with you, a key piece of personal branding that can get lost in the permanence (or at least, the feeling of permanence) many personal website builders create for users.

How to: Use Headline and About Me blocks in Polywork

Here’s how you can generate content for your bio and headline:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Navigate to your Editor (left side of the screen)
  3. Select the Bio or Headline block
  4. Click Generate
  5. Edit your bio (optional)
  6. Click Save

Bonus: Choose a premium personal website template in Polywork

Showcasing everything you are and do is a first important step, but standing out visually can also be a huge advantage for developers. In Polywork, you can choose premium templates to better align with your personal brand, and quickly customize layouts and fonts. Here’s how:

In editor mode, you can choose from a number of different layouts that you can preview and apply seamlessly to your page.

  1. In your editor, select Layout in the upper portion of the screen
  2. Click on any of the templates and see how they show in the layout preview on the right portion of the screen
  3. Select Apply to see the changes on your page

Showing off all of your personal and professional successes

As if finding ways to stand out isn’t difficult enough, making sure that your public achievements are equal parts personal and professional is an important way to stand out in an authentic way. Centralizing your personal and professional achievements can make a significant difference.

It starts with maintaining your authenticity across channels, as developer Rob Sutter noted in his interview with us.

“You don’t need to be present in every medium. Each takes time, focus, and energy. Once you find where you’re outperforming, lean into your strengths rather than strengthen weaknesses,” he said.

In Polywork, this can come in the form of your collections and portfolio, which can be quickly curated on your personal website, which we outline below.

How to: Create Portfolio Collections in Polywork

In Polywork, Portfolio Collections exists to help you best showcase yourself through better organizing the content you’re posting on your page. This allows other users to more easily discover your personal and professional highlights. Here's how it works.

Creating Portfolio collections:

  1. Select Portfolio Collections block in your editor
  2. Click Add
  3. Type in your title and description
  4. Click Save

You can add a post to your collection by following the steps below:

  1. Select the Portfolio block in your editor
  2. Click Post
  3. Create your post and click Add to Collection in the upper left corner of the post editor
  4. Select the collection
  5. Click Done
  6. Click Post

Final thoughts: Make your personal brand accessible to anyone

Building a personal brand can seem ambiguous at first, but as its core, starts with an investment in your online presence. By investing in your personal website, you’re able to give your community, prospective employers or side projects, and collaborators a chance to stay tuned on you and your wins (both big and small).

Showing off more of your multihyphenate talents starts here.