I’ve often wondered why it’s so hard for people (especially tech geeks) to get themselves a site on the web. For many it comes down to time as much as anything, but for several, it’s also about anonymity.
I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised by this, it’s human nature not to expose too much information or place yourself in a position to be noticed. While we all may feel that way to a certain degree, I’ve often wondered why tech people are sometimes the worst at this.
Maybe it’s because they understand the technologies and capabilities inherent in the Internet. Maybe they are scared off by the possibility that there is someone out there smarter than they are, and that they may not be able to adapt quickly enough.
Whatever the reason is, it bothers me that several talented people don’t leverage their skills and promote their brand. There are so many possible things to promote yourself that it’s silly not to. Create a web site for yourself and have information about you, or start a blog about something you’re interested in.
Promoting your personal brand is not hard, and it’s not dangerous. It does require a different mindset than what people are normally used to. When you set out to start promoting your brand, you should be as transparent as possible and only hold back a few pieces of information.
Here are some tips that I strongly recommend for those sitting on the fence wondering if it’s worth the “risk”.
- Get a site on the Internet for people to find you. Whether that’s a blog, a static web page or simply a LinkedIn profile. Have someplace where people can find you.
- If you choose to do a web site, I’d encourage you to go for a blog. You’ll have someplace to do more than just a simple page. And with services like Blogger or WordPress.com, you can do it fast and for free.
- If you’re really serious about your brand – get yourself a domain name and host your own sites at a hosting service. It’s a lot simpler than you think and can cost under $5 a month.
- Participate. Get involved in discussions about things that you’re interested in. Get known around the communities that you have a passion for, things that really are fun for you.
- Make sure to have a page for your biography. Blogs all have a provision for an “About” page. Use it!
- Your resume must be on your site – no doubt about it. I always create a subversion (yes I version all my personal documentation) of my resume sans address, just for on the website. Also, I recommend making a PDF copy for placement on you web – that way nobody can change it easily when downloaded.
- Create an email address (GMail?) just to put on your website. Make it easy for people to contact you.
- Seriously think about putting your phone number on the website. Especially if you are actively involved in social media. (I know some bloggers even make it a challenge to people to call them!)
Yes there is the chance of identity theft out on the Internet, but their really after money. Do you store money on your website? Didn’t think so. Hell, if people want to be me, they can come and do my work for me as well!
The reality, of course, is that most all the information that someone needs to steal your identity can be found in pay-for databases from a number of firms around the world. The little bit you expose on the Internet just being yourself is negligible in comparison.