The past year I’ve been the Director of Communications for Ohio University’s student-run PR firm ImPRessions, and in my role I have not only learned what ‘good’ social media is, but what it takes to have a good blog or website. For starters, it’s not just about pushing out content. While you want a lot of content, don’t sacrifice the quality. Also, EDIT YOUR CONTENT. I’ve been sent blogs that were 1200 words, and I edited them down to 650. Content is king, and don’t ever send out a blog without editing it.
When looking back at my first blogs on High Heels, High Hope, I feel like I need to go back and fix them. It’s amazing how within a year your writing skills can go from good to great. And recently, I was asked “what makes a good personal website?” So after some thought and procrastination from researching Deutsche Welle for a paper, I decided to make a blog about it. My tips are below:
- Keep it simple. We all want to have beautiful color schemes with tons of images, a Twitter feed on the side, with a plug-in here and here. STOP IT. Keep your personal website simple, because today that’s what is aesthetically pleasing to most audiences. If you have a bunch of “fluff” (as I call it), you aren’t doing it right.
- Remember your brand. While you want to keep things simple, think of color scheme. I use black, grey, white and teal. I added in a black and white photo of Chicago, with a pop of teal at the top. It matches who I am – classic with a pop of fresh air.
- Don’t restrain yourself to one topic. I love to write about PR and talk about it non-stop, but you can’t limit yourself. You’ll just end up with a lot of writers block.
- Add in your resume and portfolio. While my portfolio section needs refining and I need to add in my recent resume, those sections are so crucial to a personal website. If you’re not a blogger, make sure those two sections are organized and always up to date. If you have a blog, also keep up with it once a month to show that you didn’t forget about your website.
- Be social. If you are a college student looking for a job in business or communications, the time is over for being inappropriate on social media. Private social media profiles are only a small hurdle for HR people. Get out of the shadows and put a Twitter or Instagram feed on your personal website – it makes it easier for an employer to find out who you really are online.
- Buy your domain. If you’ve had your website for over a year, buy your domain. I recently did, and on WordPress it cost $21. Not too bad if you ask me. Now no one else can have kellymshayes.com.
- Content is king, and remember to not use the oxford comma. Give up on MLA and APA – those are in the past and AP Style is your new friend. Also do yourself a favor, stop using the oxford comma – people don’t like it. Trust me, I edit out the oxford comma all the time.
In the end you want to keep everything fairly simple. Don’t have a long, artistic bio. Just say who you are, what you’ve done and how you’re going to be a kick-butt employee some day. You’re obviously not a slacker because you have a great personal website, so run with it and success will follow.
I can’t wait for big-city living where the cobblestones won’t put my heels into an early grave.