In the '90s, launching a personal website was daunting. Building a website meant knowing how to program—and even for those who had the skills, the sites weren't even close to the amazing experiences they are today. They were chunky, clunky, and often had large amounts of information in condensed spaces with clashing colors.
These days, setting up a personal website is a lot easier. Website-building tools handle much of the design for you—now the hard part is producing standout content for your site.
Luckily, there are copywriting tools to help. In this article, we'll walk you through the entire process of setting up a personal website, so you can start publishing your content in no time.
A memorable domain name is important because it's the first impression many people will have of your brand. Your domain name gets put on everything, from business cards to social media platforms, and most importantly, your website.
You want your domain name to be something memorable—something professional you can be proud to be associated with. Research shows that domain names one word in length and five characters or less perform well because shorter names are easier to remember. But short domain names can get very expensive. A good way around that is to use your own name as the domain.
It’s typically inexpensive to buy a domain name; GoDaddy’s domain names start at $2.99. The hard part is getting the name you want. The more popular the domain name (like those shorter domain names), the more likely you'll have to buy it from someone else, which can get expensive.
The good news is if you're using your own name, you'll have less competition. Unless your name is John Smith, then you might go with something that highlights your brand (such as JohnSmithWrites.com) or choose a less common top-level domain like a .net.
A platform is what you create your website on. When choosing a website builder, consider two essential factors: how much you’re willing to spend on your website and whether you have some programming knowledge.
As an entrepreneur or creator starting your own personal website, you may have limited funds starting out. On the other hand, you may find that putting a little more money into a website builder is something you want to invest in because it’s essentially investing in yourself.
How much programming you need to know in order to get started can vary on different platforms. You might consider these few options for website builders (we don’t list all of the platforms here—the list is way too long).
If you don't have a general idea of what you want your website to look like or don't know anything about programming, Squarespace is a good option. They offer a range of user-friendly templates to suit every personality and brand. Plus, they have a simple drag and drop feature, where you can easily add content to your website.
If you know more about programming or what you want your website to look like, then try Ghost. It costs less than Squarespace, but you'll have to do a little bit more work as a trade-off.
Ghost’s strength isn’t in the front end of a website (like the presentation), so you need to have a bit of developer knowledge to build the structure and visual components. But you can start from a clean and simple provided theme template.
Because you’re doing your own front-end development, you have a lot more control over the little details than you do with template-based sites like Squarespace.
For example, Ghost connects to more applications than Squarespace does. A developer may want a real API (Application Programming Interface) to work with, and Ghost enables users to do that.
Substack is a free platform built for setting up newsletters, and it can easily play the part of a personal website.
Substack makes it easy to find people by their names and look up people based on their work. The tradeoff is you don’t get to choose your own domain. Below is the domain for the Substack profile of book writer and artist Austin Kleon:
Despite Substack being set up like a newsletter, your work is more discoverable because if someone is searching for blogs, a large number of them are found and cataloged on Substack, as opposed to a free website builder like WordPress. The domain name length on Substack is also shorter.
With Wix, there's no coding required, but it gives you the option to use programming with Velo—an add-on for advanced functionality. You can also design your site with one of the hundreds of templates Wix provides.
Wix starts at $14 a month.
Include design elements, such as symmetry, text, color, and font, in the process of making your personal website brand. That way, site visitors can easily recognize your business and know what you stand for. This branding will also help you attract your target customer (assuming you’ve curated your brand image around your audience).
Brand colors can reflect your personality and the mood you want to create on your site. Different color schemes work better for different industries. For example, green is commonly associated with finance.
Photographs can be used to build your image. The best way to use images to represent you and what you stand for is to include images of yourself in a way that reflects your brand. For example, if your brand is "adventurous," include photos of you doing adventurous activities, like hiking or traveling.
Copy is the wording of your website itself. Write in a voice and style that's similar to your past messaging and is likely to resonate with your target audience.
A significant part of how your brand develops is based on your target audience and tweaking your brand to be centered around what they're interested in.
Let’s say you're a children's author. Your website audience will be children and their parents. To understand what type of branding may speak to them, there are a lot of factors to consider. What age bracket are they in? What's their vocabulary level? What are their needs? Remember, a 4-year-old and an 11-year-old will have very different branding strategy requirements.
If you have a general idea of who your audience is, and you want to know more specifically about how to get them interested, you can use the Copy.ai Audience Refiner tool. This tool isn't going to research for you, but it'll help you understand your audience so you can target your messaging specifically to your audience.
Copy.ai will ask you to describe your audience. You may describe it as, "Four-year-old child age bracket and their parents who are looking for books to read that will be interesting to both of them." It'll generate a few examples, like the one below:
The generated example should help you think more deeply about your audience and what their concerns may be. In this case, Copy.ai suggests puzzles, questions, and drawings. From these suggestions, we know that in order to interest both the child and their parents, you’ll need interaction to keep them entertained. Therefore, it’s a good idea for your website to be interactive, like having surveys about what kinds of morals these parents would like to teach their children. They can see the survey results when they participate. Another option is to have downloadable coloring pages.
Copy.ai is meant to get those wheels turning and thinking in a fresh new way, so you can take these things into consideration when building your brand.
Now that you know your audience better, you can figure out what brand voice will speak to them the best.
Copy.ai Brand Voice tool helps you come up with what type of tone/voice you’ll want to use to speak to your audience. For example, if you’re a blog writer, you’ll put a brief description of what you write about into Copy.ai, and it’ll generate a list of voices or tones you can work in, which will best resonate with your target audience.
You can use the generated tones as inspiration to set the mood for your brand. Try to get in the mindset of your audience as you write your content.
When it comes to your personal website, navigation is key. After reviewing some of the top-performing websites on Ghost, we found that the most popular websites had a clean structure and were easy to navigate. There are a few areas you can't skip if you want a personal website that attracts visitors.
The About page is your chance to tell your audience who you are.
Your bio page is your chance to share your story. Tell your audience about how you got started, where the idea for your product originated from, and why you're passionate about your business.
Check out this example about page from Zuby, a rapper, author, podcaster, and coach. He uses effective copywriting techniques in his bio. He is basically taking his resume and walking his readers through it as if he were telling his story to them. This technique makes his bio approachable and allows him to talk to his audience on a more personal level. He even gets into why he feels his work is important and is making a difference.
A personal website acts like a resume, where people can learn more about you and what you do. Naturally, like any resume, you're going to want to give the people who visit your site your contact information.
At a bare minimum, you need your name and either a contact form or an email address on your contact page. Other information is optional and should be tailored to fit your business and audience. You can include your social media, such as your Facebook, your LinkedIn, and your Instagram. These connections should be relevant—if you're a children's store, for example, you likely won't need a LinkedIn page.
A blog page features all of your writing content in one place and sets you up as an expert, making your website more reputable.
A blog page is optional, and it's recommended. There are quite a few benefits of having a blog page on your personal website, and one of the most lucrative is blogs will increase traffic on your site. Ali Abdaal, for example, is a doctor, Youtuber, podcaster, and blogger. His personal website offers a wide array of articles, helping to set him up as an expert and build credibility.
Copy.ai has numerous blog tools that can help you write a blog fast. You can use tools like Blog Outline to develop a draft, and then you can take those bullet points from the outline and turn them into paragraphs with the Bullet Point to Blog Section tool.
Copy.ai can also be a big help when you get writer's block. It will keep those creative juices flowing.
Initially, it can be difficult to attract followers because you don't have a lot of content. Creating great content comes with time and experience. For this reason, you're want to focus on producing new content weekly. Even if you don't think it's the best work, you won't get better if you don't try.
“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.” ―Margaret Atwood
Producing new content weekly gets you in the habit of writing. It shows you’re dedicated to your work. You’re more invested, so people are more likely to take you seriously and come back for more. This is also the only way to get repeat traffic. Your audience won't come back to your page if there isn’t new content.
If you’re having trouble producing content weekly, come up with a list of blog ideas and work from that list. Copy.ai has a Blog Idea generator, which can help you with your first few ideas.
In addition to having a well-structured personal website, some of the top-performing websites on Ghost used many of the same marketing tactics.
They had several ways to generate “buzz” about their sites, like podcasts, blogs, newsletters, courses, website merchandise, etc. In other words, they focus on growing their online presence.
You can drive traffic to your website by creating marketing content and promoting yourself through multiple channels, such as:
You have all sorts of ways to promote your site, so get creative.
Building a personal website doesn’t have to be hard. Website design is easy. Picking a platform is easy. Promoting your site is easy. Copywriting can get difficult, and with that, so can marketing, especially if you don’t have a lot of writing experience. Elements like sentence structure, interesting titles, outlines, and great copywriting don’t need to be difficult or time-consuming thanks to powerful tools like Copy.ai.
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