Given the all too common scenario of outsourcing, off-shoring and a number of other names for staff reductions it is more important than ever to have a “home base” online. Even in the most secure positions, having an online home helps you find and make the most of professional opportunities.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, it is actually super simple to carve out your own little corner of the web for yourself. There are literally thousands of options and many of them can work nicely. The main point is ANY of them is better than having nothing.
Imagine the following scenario…
I’m the founder of the hottest new tech company (or whatever type of company you’d most like to work for) and I’m looking to hire someone just like you for a dream job. But I have no idea that you even exist. Your big break happens when we share a brief chat in line at Starbucks one morning. As I’m about to dash out with my grande latte, I ask you for a single place where I can go to learn about you, your skills and what type of work you do. Where would you point me?
As you take an inventory, let me ask a few more questions.
- How many people in your organization beyond your immediate teammates know about you and your work?
- How many people in your industry (outside your org) know these things?
- Think of people in other organizations who do what you do? Are you connected with these types of people?
If you can’t immediately answer these questions. It is time for action. The time to take this step is now. Before you need it. Before you’re down-sized. Before you’re able to make a run a your “dream job” opportunity.
Building a health personal network is important. Doing that is so much easier when you have an online home.
Here are some great ways to get started.
What do you do when you’re about to meet someone for the first time in a business setting, or maybe you’re interested in learning more about someone you’re considering for an interview? If you’re like most people, you look them up on LinkedIn. Even if you start with a Google search, one of the first results is often LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the most common starting point for someone you don’t know. What do they find on your profile? Are you showcasing your professional successes? Displaying your skills and demonstrating your credibility?
If not or even if you’re not sure, it is time to get your profile is up to speed. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Add a personable, professional looking photo.
- Customize your LinkedIn URL. For example, linkedin.com/in/miketaylor is much better (and infinitely easier to remember) than linkedin.com/in/mike-taylor-6ba33a12
- Spend some time writing a thoughtful summary that will entice people to learn more about you. You do have a summary right?
- Show your accomplishments. People care more about what you’ve actually done that what software you have used etc.
- Even better yet, SHOW them what you’ve done. LinkedIn lets you easily add links, videos and all kinds of multimedia. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words!
Once you’ve spruced up your profile, don’t stop there. Carve a few minutes several times a week to check in with your industry and your network to see what is happening. What are they saying? What new things should you know? Who can help you? Stay active and contribute to help others.
Next, find a place online you can use as a ‘home base’. There are lots of options. Don’t get stuck searching for the perfect one. Check out a few and go with one. Something is better than nothing. You can always change it later. Here are a few options that are great for getting started.
If you need something super quick and easy, you might consider a nameplate site like about. me.
You can be up and running in minutes with sites like about.me. Just register for a free account, add a brief bio along with some contact information, a photo and your social media accounts — BOOM instant online presence.
Strikingly offers a bit more content but is still a quick, easy to use option. Connect it to your LinkedIn profile and much of the work is done for you. It is even responsive so it looks great on mobile too!
If you have some online assets to showcase, like links to courses or anything else that’s already online, you should give Mural a serious look. Mural is an insanely simple way to build portfolios of your best work. What Dribbble is for designers & Github for engineers, Mural aims to be for the rest of us. Just provide a link and mural will try to pull an image and a description from it (you can always customize both as you like)
- Simple URL sharing with automatic rich embeds
- Add captions, credit contributors and update with stats
- Use tags to curate ‘sub-murals’ for different contexts and audiences
Here is a Mural I put together in about 20 minutes. https://muralapp.io/miketaylor
Grab Your Own Domain
Regardless of what you choose for your online home, it is a TOTAL NO BRAINER to get your own personal domain name. You can find details about the how and whys of this all over the internet. Personally, I found the quickest, easiest and least expensive for me was using Google Domains. For $1/month you can point a domain at anything you like (URL forwarding) and get an email address with that same domain name (email forwarding). This is a great way to get started and leaves you with lots of flexibility as you and your online presence evolves over time.
If you’re keen to look even further for more options beyond these, I’ve assembled a collection of links, resources, and examples to help you out.
So…how about it. Do you have an online home-base? What did you use to create it ? Where is it? Would you share it so I can check it out? What is your biggest challenge? Leave a comment about what has or hasn’t worked for you. Ask a question about something you’d like to know.
5 thoughts on “Do You Have an Online Home-base?”
Great article, as always, Mike. I built my site using Weebly. (Applestar.org) I use it for links to my presentations and articles and details about my work. I’ve got a blog on it but haven’t been terribly consistent writing articles for it. I especially like the ability to quickly build from a template, and make changes on the fly using the app
I built something in About Me, but don’t use it.
One of the things I’ve been challenged with for LinkedIn is their ever-changing setup. I feel like I’ve gotten it right, then poof! Next log in they’ve changed something again.
Thanks, Jean! For me, I think the biggest hurdle was getting over the thought that I didn’t have anything worth sharing. The key is you don’t have to be a genius, just be yourself! 😎
This is a great post Mike thanks for sharing your thoughts. As part of the 23 Things open course from the University of Edinburgh, I blogged about my use of about.me and my transition to using my own domain and wordpress for the landing page at https://jrdingwall.ca/blogwall/bonus-thing-a/ (a link to “an interview with my domain” is there as well).
I think I’ve pretty well maxed out what I will put in Linked In. It’s nice because it always lands on the first Google Search page, but I find with so many of the really templated name sites like about.me and linked in, that if everyone used only those we’d all look the same. I think using tools with a bit more flexibility like WordPress or other simple web-tools can go a long way. Something is better than nothing, but for just a little bit more effort you can make something with WP or other than you’re really happy with as a Learning Professional.