"But I don't know what I'd put on a website."
$Free.99 or, at most, $10 a year and no ads, anyone?
If you haven't opened your windows and heard it barreling toward us already, let me join in on the bullet-train chorus in answer to that:
Even by asking this question, you're probably already aware that as the Internet continues, it will surely be in your best interest to curate some sort of online presence.
Most of us already do this in some capacity. In the very least, you'll want to manage what's returned about you in a 0.48 second Google search of your name.
Yes. You should absolutely have, at least, a very simple website.
Particularly, if you consider yourself even a semi-creative person.
And still, even if you don't.
Another option is a simple hub that links to your most important professional profiles. Curate those too.
If you’re looking for a job, post your résumé.
And even if you’re not.
A non-static home for that lone icon of your professional brand, your résumé online is dynamic. Change it as often as you like. No typos there. No need to re-print 11 times.
The kicker is search, being able to be found.
Of course, you can opt to tell no one about it and use the site only for its included and more professionally branded email address.
YourFirstName@YourLastName.com looks so much better on a résumé than email@example.com. (And forget @aol or @hotmail. Come on people.) Moreover, this is not a new email account to manage, but simply free forwarding to whatever email you already use. It just looks better.
Or you can tell everyone.
Control that search.
But don’t stop at de-tagging negative Facebook posts (stupid drinking photos, anyone?).
Go further, share the good things.
We already do this on Facebook.
Do it on your website.
Curate a portfolio of your professional accomplishments, archive your grandma's photos from the Old World, blog about your new kid, your hobby for building model airplanes - whatever it is, a blog will help develop your writing voice. Not for fame, fortune, or anyone else necessarily; for yourself.
Keep in mind:
Just be smart about what you share.
Your name is your brand.
(A poem about your name.)
Don't ignore its potential in the world of online real estate.
Because a URL is real-estate in the Internet. You may not know what you want to host now, but you’d be wise to control YourName.com. Particularly if you’re young and might consider having some kind of public presence in the future.
Of course, you can go to the other extreme and share as much as I do here. Pictures of a flag I've traveled the world with, anyone? ... Bueller.
My $0.02 is don't be afraid to share some of your personality. You are a real person.
The best URLs are YourName.com, or YourLastName.com (giving you (or your relatives too) the ultimate FirstName@LastName.com email address). Something short and clever directly related to your career’s work also makes a good URL … sometimes. But a name like that might not be relevant for long; your projects will change. Your name most likely won’t.
Is yours available?
“Aren’t websites expensive?”
No. Absolutely not.
(And I'll freely help you make one, for free.)