Keep It Simple: What to Include and What to Leave Out on Your Personal Site

Keep It Simple: What to Include and What to Leave Out on Your Personal Site. Here are six stages for developing a captivating personal website:
Dale Carnegie famously remarked, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

It’s natural to feel the same way about your website: this is your digital real estate, your time to shine, to tell the world what makes you distinctive, to…


While it’s tempting to want to cover everything from birth onward, keep in mind that digital attention spans are measured in microseconds. And with an estimated two billion personal sites out there (not to mention all the social networks), yours will stand out best if it’s short.

For example, David Hoffmann’s clear bio touches on his efforts to make Augusta, Missouri, into the “Napa of the Midwest.” It leads to his company’s business site and also contains a page that details the many press items that feature him and his company, so readers have the option of going through to learn more.

Here are six stages for developing a captivating personal website

Choose and acquire a domain name. Your own name is great, but if it’s not available (say, because it’s pretty common and already in use), try for something professional-sounding that expresses who you are and/or what you do. For instance, see You can also try some of the newer suffixes to see if you can land your name that way, such as or

Tell visitors who you are. Briefly. Think of this as an elevator pitch or job cover letter. What do people most need to know about you, personally or professionally? What’s the one key takeaway? You can sync your site to other locations you can discover online, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc., so keep this to a few paragraphs at most.

Showcase yourself. Remember Show and Tell from school? When people can see as well as read what you have to contribute, it makes the material that much more memorable. The internet is a visual medium, so if your job is in any way visual (e.g., an auto mechanic can upload before and after automobile repairs), be sure to include photographs. If you’re in sales, publish photographs of the most intriguing things, perhaps with a memorable statistic: “I sold 30,000 of these last year!”

Optimize. You may know all about the vital importance of SEO for business blogging. You may even have authored some, but never consider doing the same for your site. Yet SEO is vital if you want to be found online. Research your keywords, use them in your writing, and add your personal profile link to your other digital real estate. You might even explore guest writing for popular magazines in your sector as a method to obtain a link back to your website. It’s beneficial for building businesses, too.
Keep it new. Creating a personal website isn’t a “one-and-done” activity. Links go broken all too often, and content grows stale quicker than bread. You don’t want a new visitor clicking on a link simply to have it open to a 404 Not Found page, so check your links periodically and update pages that have moved. If you’ve started a blog, be careful to add new content as you upload it. You may wish to modify the photos you display as well.

Include a high-level testimonial. If a client has written a positive endorsement about your product, service, or support, it’s appropriate to put it on your site. Books do this as a matter of course: place a snappy, persuasive phrase on the cover that entices the prospective buyer to acquire this book now. The testimony is generally from a well-known individual. So if you have such an endorsement, use it.

That’s it! Now congratulate yourself on a job well done and start checking your analytics to determine what needs to be adjusted.

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