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Build Your Own Website

Manage Your Online Reputation Your website is your online resume and if you can get your name as your URL, you have a great chance of getting onto page one of Google’s search results for your name. In addition, you will be able to set up a more professional and memorable email address, such as bob@bobsmith.com (rather than bobsmith@gmail.com), and your email address will be under your control (as opposed to a free email service).

This is not for everyone though. It takes some technical skill and persistence, but the payoff is worth it.

This page is not a technical tutorial on creating and setting up a website. For more information on how to set up and create your own website, please see the following guides:

Choose and Purchase a Domain Name (URL)

You want to keep your site name (your URL or domain name) as simple as possible. You should strive to get your name as your URL (firstnamelastname.com).

It is best if you can get the URL for the name that people know you by (BobSmith.com). However, if you have a common name that may not be possible because the URL may already be taken. Don’t worry. Try including your middle name or initial (BobEllisSmith or BobESmith) or your full first name (RobertSmith). You can also try adding your profession or location at the end (BobESmithCPA or BobESmithUSA).

Once you decide on your new URL, start using it consistently across all of your site profiles, in your resume, and in your email signature.

Create Your Website Pages

For those of you who don’t know anything about creating sites, there is a free service called Weebly that let’s you create a quick site about yourself. The interface is easy to use – you don’t need to know any programming. You can tie the pages you create at Weebly to the URL you just purchased. You can also host the site at Weebly.

To get started, visit Weebly and put up your biography and portrait photo on the home page, as well as any other information you like. You can also edit the HTML and CSS files with Weebly (great for more advanced users), as well as set search engine optimization keywords.

Choose a Website Host

More advanced users may choose to create the pages themselves and upload the pages to a site host of their choosing. If that sounds like something you would like to do, check out Lifehacker recommendations for the five best personal site hosts.

Once you’ve set up your hosting account, don’t forget to tie your domain name (URL) to your hosting account.

Set Up Your Website Email

Most website hosting providers have an FAQ on their sites walking you through how to do this. If you are still confused, give them a call.

Once you’ve set up your website email, you may want to POP it to your Gmail account so you can check all of your email from one interface and save yourself a great deal of time.

Add Your URL to the Search Engines

Now that your site is live, it is important to let the search engines know it exists. The three main search engines you need to tell are Google, Yahoo, and Bing because together they accounted for over 95% of the searches conducted on the Internet in the U.S. in February 2011.

While most everything else listed on this site is free, registering your domain name will cost some money, and, depending on how you create your site and host it, that may cost you some money, too.

  • Don’t use your birth date, maiden name, or other personally identifiable information in your URL for security reasons.
  • It may be tempting to get the .net, .org, or other extension of an already taken .com domain name that you want. My recommendation is don’t. Most people assume the .com extension when typing in domain names. Own the .com extension for your domain name and avoid any confusion.
  • Search engines love exact match domain names. That means no hyphens (bob-smith.com), no switching the order of your name (smithbob.com), and no modifiers at the beginning of your name (thebobsmith.com).
  • Register your domain name for at least 3 years and preferably for 10 years. Search engines like domain names registered for longer periods of time. Don’t let your domain name expire. Make sure to renew it at least a year before its expiration date.