Yesterday, Darrell wrote that he is discontinuing his personal web site. Yes, designing and maintaining an attractive and effective web site takes time and money, but even in today’s environment where most of us leave our footprints on the web through social networks, Twitter and the like, there are still lots of good reasons for maintaining a professional web site.
A personal site can — and should — be the hub of your other web activities. Your site should have links to the other places where you’re active on the web, and more importantly, those other locations should have links to your professional site. Having your own site gives you flexibility and control that you can’t rely on anywhere else. Twitter limits how much you can write. LinkedIn has a fairly rigid format. Facebook Pages can be fairly flexible, but customizing them requires a fair amount of programming. It’s difficult to use such sites to show off a professional portfolio. And while these sites are free right now, they could charge fees at some future date.
Content is king. Darrell’s right that it takes time and energy to maintain an updated, relevant site. But almost any modern, well-designed site will include some sort of content management system that makes updates easy.
I don’t update my company’s site all that often. And our blog rarely gets a new entry, now that most of my blogging efforts are concentrated here at WWD. But I make a point of announcing when we post new web sites for clients — a process that only takes a couple of minutes. And I’ve put my Twitter and Facebook feeds on the site as well, which I use to share information that I think may be of interest to clients, as well as announcing any technical issues that may affect them.
As a side note, it’s worth remembering that domain names can also be used for email. Professionals should always use email addresses with their own domain names. That way, it’s not necessary to change your email address if you change providers.
These days, hosting and domain registrations are cheap. And if you’re not a designer, and you don’t want to spend money to hire someone like me to produce a custom site, there are lots of “build-it-yourself” options for creating sites. So even in this era of social networks, there’s really no excuse for not having a professional site.
Do you maintain a web site for your professional activities? How often do you update it?