How to make a personal website in 11 steps

How to make a personal website in 11 steps
Dec 2, 2021

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We know that you want to share unique interests, expertise, and personality with the world.

A personal website is a great opportunity to get your personality and skills out there. We’re going to take a look at what you need to do to create a personal website that’s going to best represent who you are and help you reach your goals. 

How to make a personal website 

Step 1: Know why you want to create a personal website

Consider the theme and purpose of your personal website. You might want a space to blog about your travels or somewhere to publish your creative writing. Or, you may want a platform to promote your burgeoning baking business, a channel to land more clients as a freelance web designer, or a copywriting portfolio that will help you land a new full-time gig. 

Regardless of your reasons for creating a personal website, it’s important to take the time to think about your interests and how you want to present them (and yourself) online. 

If your goal is to get more business, your personal website can play an important function in helping you market your skills and talents and in building your career.

An image of Fabio Formato's site.

For example, this personal website for Fabio Formata clearly communicates his skills as a filmmaker and video designer. It’s a great example of how having a focus makes for a stronger personal website.

When you know what you want to communicate about yourself, you can then inform the type of website you’re going to build. It could be anything from a simple home page that consists of an about me section and contact information, or something more complex like an ecommerce site where you’re selling products that you create.

Step 2: Determine your audience

Most websites are geared towards people with specific interests. Knowing who you are trying to reach is just as important as why you’re making a personal website in the first place. 

 An image of Liucija Vaitukaityte's website.

This personal website — built in Webflow for professional football player Liucija Vaitukaityte — has a focus on videos, statistics, and other content that would appeal to her fans or general enthusiasts.

Like Liucija, when building your website, ask; what’s the story you’d like to tell about yourself? What are the common interests you share with your target audience? If your website is geared towards marketing yourself, what skills are potential clients looking for when they land on your page? Figure out your audience, and decide what information they should gather from your site. 

The content that you write, the images and visuals you include, and how the website is organized should all be crafted to appeal to your target audience.

Step 3: Choose the type of personal website you’d like to create

Now that you have an understanding of what you want to express and who your audience is, let’s touch on the basic categories that personal websites fall into, and which one may be best for you.

One page website

A personal website doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. To stake out your claim on the internet, a basic homepage may be the perfect option. 

An image of Daniela Monroe's portfolio website.

Built in Webflow, this one page website for DJ Daniela Monroe prominently features her Soundcloud tracks, as well as links out to her active social media accounts including Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Single page websites generally consist of a homepage above the fold with additional sections like “about me” and contact information. These types of websites are mainly informational and don’t require complex functionality.

If you have an active social media presence that serves as your main online hub, a one page website may be all that you need for your personal website.

Blog

Creating a blog is relatively simple and is a great choice for your first personal website. It allows visitors to your site to clearly understand your unique point of view, your skills, and most importantly be able to connect with you in a more personal way. 

To get started you need to ask yourself if you enjoy the art and craft of writing. The prospect of coming up with unique blog posts, writing them, and sharing them with your audience should excite you. In order to have a successful blog, you’ll need to maintain a regular posting cadence and consistently engage their target audience. 

An image of Adelaid Perr's about section on her blog.

Adelaide Perr’s blog is a great example. It not only covers cycling, but also talks about overcoming relatable life struggles — making it appealing to a wider audience. 

Blogging is a saturated space. But the best bloggers share an authenticity and love for what they’re writing about. Launch a blog about what matters the most to you.

Portfolio

Portfolios strictly aim to market your skills and talents to others. If you’re in a field like photography, design, writing, or other creative work — a portfolio is essential. Your personal portfolio brings awareness to your expertise, builds your personal brand, and helps your land new clients. 

With an about section, services, featured projects, and a way to get in touch; this website for designer Glenn Catteeuw has everything a portfolio requires — all presented through a modern and eye catching design.

A portfolio has more elements to manage than a simple blog or one page website. But even for web designer beginners, there are easy ways to build one. Webflow has a number of portfolio templates you can use to get your own portfolio up and running in a short amount of time.

Step 4: Prepare your content

We recommend taking a content-first approach to your web design. This way, you know what you want to include and can design your website to cater to that content. You don’t need final drafts of everything to get started, but preparing a rough copy will give you a more accurate representation of what your website will look like when finished. 

Your opening landing page

Think of your opening landing page or homepage as your first impression. To get started, have a strong headline, some accompanying writing that expresses who you are, and a strong visual to start off your homepage. 

The following personal website for actor Gaius Charles begins with big text and dramatic imagery that draws visitors in and makes them want to know more.

An image of Gaius Charles' personal website.

An about me

You want to fill people in on who you are and what you’re all about. Let your visitors get to know a bit about your background. Include information about yourself that works with the greater goals that you have.

This ‘about me’ from the portfolio of author and physicist Chris Ferrie does an excellent job in highlighting key strengths that he has and his past experience.

Chris Ferrie's about me on his personal website.

Your about me page doesn’t have to be too lengthy. Just share relevant information about yourself, your skills, and anything else you’d like site visitors to know about you. 

Photos and other visuals

There’s a fine balance to strike between visuals and text. No one wants to look through unending blocks of writing, nor do they want to see a bunch of photos without any context. 

Use images that help tell your story and complement the copy. If you want to go above and beyond, hire a graphic designer to create some custom illustrations or craft some hand-drawn lettering to add in a bit of personality.

Featured projects

If your personal website is going to function as a portfolio or resume, it should include examples of your past work. Find projects that communicate the best of what you do, and capture the essence of your skills and talents. 

Recommendations and testimonials 

This is more applicable for a portfolio or a small business website that has a marketing angle.

Get quotes from colleagues and others you’ve worked for. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can pull in the recommendations you’ve gathered there as a starting point. Don’t be shy in hitting up people you’ve worked with who may have good things to say about who you are as a professional.

Write blog posts

If you want to include a blog as a part of your personal website, it’s a good idea to have a few articles lined up before you launch it. Posting regularly will make people want to come back and see what’s new. Using a content management system (CMS) will make it easy to post updates and make edits.

Step 5: Optimize the content for search engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) makes it easier for web crawlers to scan through your content and to determine what it’s about. Good SEO involves both technical behind-the-scenes work on your website as well as strategic use of words and phrases you’d like to rank for in organic search results. It’s always a good idea to do SEO legwork before you start putting content into your web design.

High-quality content is a big part of search engine optimization. Your writing should have some depth to it and important details. By including a blog that you consistently update, you’ll get another stream of content to put in front of web crawlers scanning through your website.

Search engine optimization can be a bit tricky if you’ve never done it before. If you’d like to learn more about it, check out SEO and Webflow: the essential guide

Step 6: Find your inspiration 

Maybe your favorite website uses color combinations that you love. Or perhaps there’s a cool and stylish typeface you’ve seen that would work perfect as a header in your web design. It’s okay to be influenced by other people’s designs, and to take what you like in order to shape your own visual aesthetic. Not sure where to start? Check out these 22 inspiring web design trends.

Step 7: Create your website layout

If you’ve never done web development before, you may feel overwhelmed. But with a little bit of work, even those who have never designed anything can get a personal website up and running. If you use a website builder like Webflow, there are plenty of templates to build your website with, as well as a whole host of tutorials and other educational materials you need to get going. If you have no experience with HTML, CSS, or other coding languages, Webflow gives you the power to design, no-code required. 

When embarking on your journey of web design keep in mind the following basic elements of design:

Color

Color can evoke emotion in ways that we don’t even realize. If you’re going for a more serious and professional website, you may want to make ample use of grey or blue. If your website is going to be a bit more lighthearted and fun you might go for a more playful color palette. Whatever you choose, make sure it communicates your personality and the tone of your website. 

An image of Marina Tureczek’s portfolio website.


Marina Tureczek’s portfolio website projects a sense of professionalism with its light grey background along with touches of purple and blue. 

If you’d like to learn more about choosing colors for your personal website, check out our beginner’s guide to color theory

Typography

Just like your color scheme, typography can evoke emotion. The fonts you use in the bulk of your body text should be easy to read, but for headers and menu items you can use something a bit flashier. 

An image of Al Murphy's bold personal site. Al uses fun typography as part of the theme of his site.

Built with Webflow, the personal website for illustrator Al Murphy uses an eye-catching combination of hand-drawn lettering and more traditional typography.

Like Al, pick out fonts that fit the tone and style of your personal brand. To learn more, check out our typography reading list to learn more about how to use typography on your personal website, as well as this informative video up on Webflow University.

Step 8: Provide a clear layout and user friendly navigation

Someone landing on your website is like someone walking into your living space. If what they see is disorganized and messy, they’re going to exit your site without taking any further steps. 

An image of Rachodoodles's fun personal site.

With fun interactions and a well organized layout, this illustration portfolio for Rachodoodles has a clean design that’s simple to navigate.

Your layout should provide enough negative space so that all of the elements have room to breathe. Additionally, the navigation should be intuitive for site visitors so they can get to the content they care about the most quickly and easily. 

Step 9: Give your visitors a way contact you

Don’t forget to give people a way to get in touch. This can be a simple email link, or have something a bit more advanced, like a submission form. Many personal websites include social media links and contact forms in the footer so that no matter what page people are viewing, they can always find the contact information. 

Step 10: Set up the technical side of running a website

There are a few technical things you’ll have to get out of the way to get your website up and live on the internet.

Purchase a domain name

If you’ve one of the lucky ones, you’ll be able to snag a domain with your name. If someone has already claimed it, you may have to get a bit more creative, or choose a .net or alternative domain for your personal website. Domain name generators are helpful if you need a bit of creative inspiration.

Find a web hosting service

For your website to be available to the public, it will need to be hosted by a company. Find a hosting plan that will work within your budget, and that is easy to scale up as your website gains a bigger audience. There are many web hosting services to choose from, so be sure to do your research before you choose one. 

Step 11: Get the word out

Once your new website is live it’s time to let everyone know about it. Share it widely across social media and add it to your bios. Add a direct link in your email signature. You did all the work to build your personal website — don’t be shy about asking people to check it out. 

A personal website shows the world who you are

Whoever you are and whatever you do, creating a personal website is essential in bringing awareness to all that makes you special. It acts as a beacon, bringing in like-minded people interested in who you are or what you do. It can connect you with people and create opportunities that would otherwise go unrealized.

What makes you unique? What are your talents? And what do you find important? Create a personal website and let us all find out.

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NAKISISA GEORGE

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