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The Only Two Pages A Personal Website Really Needs
There was a time when I had forty pages on my website! You read that right, forty pages! I was barely able to manage my site because there were just so many pages to update and organize on a regular basis. I did this for about the last two decades of my life. I felt I needed to put front and center all that I was working on and more. Looking back now, I can’t even really remember all the pages I had and why I felt so adamant about needing them.
And finally, after decades of research, analyzing others websites who are basically on a similar path to my own, I realized my website was just too clunky. I recommend this exercise to anyone who is starting their own website and wondering what it should look like, say, or include. While my method and advice may not work for you, doing this research will. Find people who are already doing what you want to do and visit their website. Do they even have a website? Maybe they only have an Amazon account or Spotify account. Maybe their website is the free profile where their podcast is hosted. Whatever your path/passion leads you to be creative, seek out like-minded individuals and see what they’ve done. And don’t just find one. Try to find between 5 and 10 who are similar to yourself. The more you have to compare the better. Find out what they all have in common and then what one thing might set them all apart from each other on their websites. Make note of these things and then try to create those pages yourself, adding your own style and spin.
For the purposes of my own personal website, I have managed to narrow myself down to literally just two pages. And the more I leave myself with these two pages the more I wish I had done this sooner. It’s such a breath of fresh air not having to spend countless hours and days on my website updating pages. Now, whenever I visit my site it’s to do one thing and then I’m done.
One thing I want to point out. It’s what made me feel comfortable removing all the pages from my website that I had before. My site is no longer an “author website” even though I am an author and my intent with it will eventually be to sell my written works. It’s a website about me and I am doing more than just writing books. I am teaching. I am learning. I am sharing. And because I’m more than just an author I was able to give myself permission to not be so laser focused on each and every aspect and just let that stuff all come in their own unique time. Now, with that said, if you are an author and you are looking to have an official “author website” then there are definitely one or two more pages you’ll want to include on your website, such as a books page where people can find them and purchase them. I’m just pointing out the two pages you should definitely start out having and the rest you can add as they are really needed.
After you read this I hope the one thing you take away from it is that you don’t need a dozen pages on your site. Let visitors discover you over time. No need to give it all away. Especially if you are just starting out. Having too much on your site for a new visitor might be overwhelming and they are likely to miss the one main thing you really want them to notice. Now, onto the two pages you really need:
Every website has that home page. It’s basically your URL. One great thing you can and should do is put your BIO/ABOUT page on your home page. Let your visitors know who you are the moment they visit your site. And in your bio make sure you include all relevant links you want them to know, such as your newsletter, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever other social media you have. Write it all out in a couple paragraphs for your HOME page. And if you’re not too camera shy, include a photo of yourself. You don’t even have to do that. If you check out my website, my image is a MEMOJI (created from Apple). And your bio doesn’t have to be littered with accolades to make it worth having as your main page either so don’t be so self-conscious about it.
Some great things you can put in your bio are what made you love doing whatever it is that you do? Any projects you’re working on presently and how can they find out more about them? ie. Like by signing up to your newsletter? And again, include where else you can be found via social media. And links, links, links!
Every website should have a blog. Even if it’s a blog you only update once a year with your thoughts on how you did, you really should start a blog. Document your journey. Every high note and every pitfall. Every regret and every triumph. Put it all down into a series of blog posts. The point is not to have comments or likes or proof that there are people out there reading your blog. Many who have a blog have zero readers for the entirety of its existence. And that can seem crushing for them to consider. We aren’t going to look at our blog as another place where follows and likes matter. We know better, don’t we? Our blog is more for us than it is for them. It’s a place we can look back on and see our growth. What were my goals last year? Did I meet them? How have I changed in that time? That is a great kind of blog to start and to have.
But a personal blog isn’t the only reason to have one. You can have a blog with a purpose. Maybe you want to share tips and tricks and guides you’ve learned along your journey that you want to impart upon someone who stumbles across your blog? Go for it! There will always be someone behind you on that same road and they’ll be looking for advice from someone who isn’t all that far ahead of them. Brings a sense of camaraderie.
Or you can have a blog where you share short stories, pictures you’ve taken of your work, music, poetry. Whatever your passion and creative mind comes up with, your blog can be the place where you show how it all came to be. The building blocks that led to the final product that is now available for sale. You’ll find a lot of customers as well as fellow creators will love to see that kind of information.
I will reiterate that just having two pages may not work for everyone. There are some websites that have just one page and they put links to their latest blog posts on their main/home page. Or their blog is their home page! What matters is that you think about what you want a visitor to your site to know about you in the short amount of time they are likely to spend there.
The average time a visitor spends on any given site before they get bored, find what they are looking for, or worse, get frustrated because it’s not organized properly, is about two minutes. That may seem like a short time to you, but it is plenty of time for them to know who you are, sign-up to a newsletter, and perhaps even check out your social media. At which time they will be directed away from your site and may never return. Unless they show interest in your blog posts. But you can always remind them of the posts you write via the emails you send (keep that in mind).
Don’t waste their time. Enrich their mind. <--Yes, I know that rhymed. Unintentional. But I hope it gets the point across?
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