Charli Marie

Why your personal website might be holding you back

published3 months ago
4 min read

Hi Reader,

So, about that portfolio site that you haven’t updated for years… could it be preventing you from reaching the next step in your career?

I finally shipped my new personal website last week, and having seen benefits from the updates already it’s really got me thinking that I should have prioritised it sooner. Let’s talk about why.

Your outdated personal website is holding you back

In early 2020 I shipped a homepage for my personal website that showcased the various content projects I was working on. I was proud of it! It gave easy access to my blog, my videos and my podcast, Design Life.

In the two years following though I :

  • Created a new podcast (Inside Marketing Design)
  • Started this newsletter
  • Started writing a book about marketing design
  • Launched a job board
  • Made a font
  • Began offering mentoring sessions

And none of those things had an intentional home on my site.

My personal website barely reflected half of the things I was working on. And I lost out on sales and reach because of it.

On my fresh-out-the-oven new updated site there is a home for all of these things. And I’ve created modular blocks, like this one below, that will allow me to easily add callouts to any new projects I start.

I quietly launched the site last week, and in that time I’ve seen a 37% increase in traffic to the Inside Marketing Design site from clicks through from my personal site. The show is featured in a mega menu, and in the first section below the header.

How many more listeners could I have gained in past seasons if I’d made the show accessible from my primary online real estate? I’ve been working hard on this show for years now, yet I never took the time to prioritise it on my website.

While it’s still early days in seeing the impact of this new site design on sales of my products & services, I had several mentoring sessions booked late last week at a time when I wasn’t intentionally promoting them. Since I started offering these sessions in February I’ve had people DMing me asking if I’m still doing them and where they can book, because there was no mention of them on my website. So to have bookings made when I hadn’t just tweeted a link or shared it in a newsletter is a big win for me (and hopefully for the folks making use of these sessions too!).

Time for a reality check

How is your site serving you at the moment?

Where might it be lacking? What opportunities might you be missing out on because what you have live on your site right now isn’t a good reflection of your current skills?

How many potential clients have visited it and left because they didn’t realise you were available for projects, or that you specialise in the exact type of work they need to hire for?

How many jobs have you held back from applying to because your portfolio had to be updated first? Or how many jobs have you applied for with outdated work on display that doesn’t reflect your skills?

I tell you, the number of portfolio reviews I’ve done where I’ve pointed out a piece of work that feels lower quality than the rest only to hear a sheepish “oh yeah, that’s an old project” in reply.

Your portfolio is only as strong as your weakest piece. And if your personal website doesn’t give easy access to the projects and content you’re trying to get people to see; how will they know it exists?

As designers, we can easily overthink our portfolios. We hold ourselves back from shipping until things are ✨perfect✨ (which often means we don’t end up shipping at all).

But you owe it to yourself and your career to put your best foot forward on your personal site.

With tools like Webflow and their template library (that’s ab affiliate link FYI) it’s easy to get a simple page live that shares who you are and what you do as a starting point. And if your site has a lot of old work that doesn’t reflect the quality bar you currently set for your designs: take it off your site. One or two solid projects on their own will serve you better than if you also have a bunch of other mediocre projects alongside them.

This is your sign that you should take action on making sure your online home represents you well.

I’m setting a reminder to check in on my site once a quarter from now on and make tweaks or add new sections as necessary. I hope that these regular iterations will help me avoid the current “complete redesign every 2 years and no updates in between” pattern I currently find myself in!

Now, let’s end with a poll (who’s surprised? lol).

Click below to tell me about the state of your personal website and I’ll report back in the next issue.

1️⃣ My website is up to date and reflects my skills/work well

2️⃣ There are a few pieces of old work, or a few things missing from my site.

3️⃣ My site is in dire need of updating!

4️⃣ My personal site doesn’t currently exist

Feel free to reply and share more detail with me if you wish. Or if you totally disagree with what I’ve said here about the importance of personal websites, I wanna hear about that too! Let’s discuss.

Education budget poll results

In the last issue I shared resources for professional development and asked about your access to budget for expensing resources like these through your work. It shows just how much of a tech bubble I live in that I am pretty surprised by these results!

43% of Dispatch readers who voted said they get no budget, and can’t easily expense educational resources. That makes me realise how much I take for granted the many conferences, books and coaching sessions companies I work for have purchased for me over the years.

Keep a learning budget in mind as something to advocate for during your next negotiation!

I hope you enjoy exploring my new website! While I’m very proud of it, I’m sure I also shipped it with a few bugs 😅 so feel free to let me know if you come across anything broken.

Have a great week!

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