The Growing Popularity of Personal Websites
In recent years, having your own personal website has exploded in popularity. An estimated 60% of small businesses now have websites, and millions of individuals have launched sites to promote their skills, share ideas, and build their personal brand online.
With the rise of intuitive website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Unicorn Platform, creating a professional looking website is now possible for nearly anyone, even without coding skills. For those new to building an online presence, the Reddit community has become a valuable source of tips and best practices.
This article will highlight some of the most useful recommendations from Reddit on how to successfully create and promote personal websites.
Choosing the Right Platform
The starting point for any new website is picking the right platform and tools for your specific needs. Here's an overview of common options discussed on Reddit along with their key pros and cons.
For individuals without coding experience looking for the fastest and easiest way to build a site, Redditors commonly recommend user-friendly website builders like:
- Wix - Very customizable with abundant templates and integrations. But can sometimes feel overly complex.
- Squarespace - Gorgeous modern designs and superb on mobile. But limited free plan.
- Unicorn Platform - Purpose-built features for startups and SaaS. Great blog and forms.
- Webflow - Robust design flexibility with option to add code. But steeper learning curve.
- Glide - Focused on single page sites. Very fast and simple to build.
- Carrd - Similar to Glide. Ideal for personal landing pages.
- Shopify - Best ecommerce features of any site builder. Costs more for non-store sites.
The main benefits of these drag and drop website builders are the premade themes and templates, intuitive editors, and built-in features like blogs, forms, galleries, and ecommerce. This enables launching a custom website incredibly fast compared to coding one from scratch.
Content Management Systems
For those with some web development skills looking for more control and customization, picking a CMS like WordPress or Ghost may be preferable:
- WordPress - Open source CMS with nearly endless plugins and themes. Steep learning curve but very powerful.
- Ghost - Intuitive CMS focused purely on publishing. Great for bloggers.
- Jekyll - Static site generator with markdown editing. Big following with developers.
- Drupal - Extensive content management features. Better for advanced developers.
- Craft CMS - Newer CMS gaining fans for its flexible content modeling.
The advantage of CMS options like these is the ability to fully customize backend and frontend code. But solid technical skills are required. These platforms also involve more responsibility for security, updates, hosting, etc. compared to turnkey site builders.
Overall, consider your technical expertise and type of site when deciding between website builders and CMS platforms. Unicorn Platform offers a unique hybrid approach, combining the simplicity of site builders with the flexibility and customization of a CMS, providing the best of both worlds.
Ecommerce and Payments
If you plan to sell products, services, memberships or accept payments through your personal website, ensure your platform has strong ecommerce functionality and payment gateways integration.
Shopify leads here with robust commerce tools, but many other site builders and CMS offer ecommerce add-ons or integrations with services like Stripe. Unicorn Platform has out-of-the-box support for payments, subscriptions, and memberships.
Optimizing Site Design
Once you pick a platform, making smart design choices is key to an effective personal website:
- Keep site navigation simple and intuitive with dropdown menus for deep pages.
- Focus homepage content on identifying your purpose and highlighting your best work.
- Use ample white space, consistent fonts and styling to enhance readability.
- Make site fully responsive and mobile-friendly to avoid issues on phones.
- Leverage themes and templates to quickly iterate design.
Thoughtful branding and optimizing for site speed also consistently arise in Reddit design discussions.
- Pick 1-2 brand colors considering psychology and personality when choosing.
- Create a logo, custom icons and visual elements that reinforce brand identity.
- Select complementary fonts that enhance readability and fit brand personality.
- Use engaging photos, illustrations, graphics and videos throughout your content.
- Focus visual content on humanizing your brand and conveying who you are.
- Compress images and media files to keep page sizes small.
- Minify CSS, JS and HTML files through platform tools and plugins.
- Use a CDN to cache assets and improve site loading speeds.
- Enable caching in your CMS and server configuration where possible.
- Test site speed and optimize any unusually slow pages.
Promoting Your Personal Brand
Creating compelling content and promoting your website are critical for attracting an audience and expanding your reach. Here are top tips from Reddit for getting your personal site found:
- Share site content and links regularly on social media accounts.
- Collaborate on guest posts to tap into other audiences.
- Build email lists and newsletters to engage visitors directly over time.
- Focus on producing consistently high-quality, sharable content.
- Interact with others through comments and forums in your field.
- Clearly convey your unique value proposition and niche focus.
Ongoing search engine optimization and analytics tracking also consistently arise in conversations around promoting personal websites:
Search Engine Optimization
- Include keyword-rich titles, meta descriptions, alt text and content.
- Structure site architecture and URLs for SEO best practices.
- Link internally between related content to aid on-site discovery.
- Regularly create new, high-quality content to attract organic search traffic.
- Leverage sitemaps and robots.txt to facilitate search engine crawling.
- Use Google Analytics to monitor traffic sources, volumes and engagement.
- Identify your most popular content from analytics to optimize further.
- Set custom goals to track conversions like email signups.
- Segment visitors by source, location and interests.
- A/B test changes to improve conversion rates over time.
- Use heatmaps to identify user click patterns and trouble spots.
Some final pieces of advice that regularly get emphasized for building a personal website include:
- Take time to choose the right platform aligned with your skills and goals.
- Optimize site design for branding, visuals and speed to engage visitors.
- Promote your site and content consistently to expand your reach.
- Provide unique value to site visitors through your content and expertise.
- Monitor analytics closely and keep iterating to improve performance.
- Focus on creating a differentiated brand identity and niche focus that sets you apart.
By following the recommendations continually reinforced within the Reddit community, you can create an amazing personal website that effectively captures your brand, engages your audience, and achieves your goals. Leveraging an intuitive website builder like Unicorn Platform makes getting started quick and easy for first-time site owners.