What is a Professional Website

In 2010 I started to conceive my interpretation of a professional website and in the intervening years have evolved this interpretation considerably. I have analyzed potential competitor services, web services such as an online resume (or CV ) or a professional profile or simply a personal website. In addition, I am always coming up with new functionality or utility for a professional website. And here is my basic concept of a professional website.

A professional website can be considered a combination of a “multi-dimensional resume” , a “personal website”, and an “online identity”. It can be considered a multi-dimensional resume because it is built with the basic constructs of a resume and has added interactive elements only available with a website interface. It could be considered a personal website because when most individuals decide to build a website, they do so in a professional context; they may visit a personal website service and design the website themselves but do so for professional reasons. Finally, a professional website might be considered an “online identity” because it can act as the central node for an individual across the internet. In other words, it might be what an individual wants to appear as the first search result in a Google search or it might be their primary reference in social media. Another important aspect of an online identity is that a professional website has a unique domain name, usually including a professional’s first and last name.
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Getting Found With Professional Website

Managing an organization’s website versus a personal website require very different marketing strategies, especially with SEO (“search engine optimization”) approaches. Typically an organization wants their website found in all search results when users search on keywords relevant to their business; for example, an online shoe store wants to be found in a Google search result when a user searches for “leather sandals”. However, an individual may or may not want to “get found” in a Google result and if they are found may want to restrict access to content on the website. With a professional website, an individual controls SE0 and access to their website.

Professionals that use their professional website to share a “body of work”, such as publications, galleries, portfolios, would most likely want to “get found” in search engines when users search on keywords – like the subject matter or title of a work. Obviously, “getting found” can promote a piece of work and the professional who created it.

Certain professions that require significant background experience and skill, such as lawyers, professors, and scientists, might want to “get found” in search engines when users search on keywords related to their profession. It would be beneficial for a professional website to appear when a user searches on the keywords: “Rochester corporate lawyer with 10 years experience”, for example. “Getting found” promotes professionals with particular talent that may be difficult to find.

Perhaps you have “something to say” on your professional website through a blog, videos, or social media. It can be difficult to get people to read your blog because there are so many of them; currently there are 181 million blogs worldwide. “Getting found” can promote your professional communications by increasing your audience.

Finally, if you are a professional seeking employment, you may want to “get found” in search engines when potential employer search on keywords related to your skill set. This is a “pull” approach to seeking employment; “pull” potential employers to your professional website. “Getting found” can increase the likelihood of finding employment.
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Perfect Content

Not sure what you pay more for in business school, getting an education or learning how to write an effective resume. I remember countless peer reviews, where we picked through each other’s resume! Like a resume, content on your professional website has to be perfect.

Here are three stages for getting content right on your professional website:
Get Content On The Page

  • Obviously, every word has to be spelled correctly and every sentence has to be grammatically correct. Use a grammar and spell checker, and make sure you check it yourself many times – bet you a dime you will continue to find errors after the third time you’ve read it.
  • Use “Action Verbs” – verbs that are sharp and best fit the action you are trying to describe.
  • Check the frequency of your verbs; their tenses should follow a same pattern throughout your professional website.

Succinct, Results-Oriented Content

  • Wherever possible, quantify your results… “Developed more than 20 different websites.”
  • Be precise when you can… What was the name of the company you worked with? What was the name of the person you worked with (could he/she be a reference)?
  • Keep the description of your educational projects and employment responsibilities – line items on a resume – point on.
  • Take advantage of a professional website and its multi-dimensional features; enrich the content by adding interactive elements: more content, a reference, a web address, etc.
  • Reference the skills you used for particular experiences. Skills can be used as keywords to search through your professional website.

Peer Review

  • Get feedback from your support channels: your peers, a career center, professional writing services, etc. The more people who read your professional website content the better. Don’t be discouraged if at first you get a lot of constructive criticism, it is part of the process. Remember enlightening feedback is like gold.

TheProfessionalWebsite service offers many tools to help a user through the above-mentioned getting “perfect content” process.

Add Content: Without Professional Experience

Recent college graduates are faced with a dilemma when they seek employment but do not have enough experience to put on their resume. There are a few ways to get more content on a professional website when you have little professional experience.

Use the concept of “projects”. Projects represent a line-item on a resume under the education section, where you can discuss courses, papers, presentations, or activities you worked on. This is an excellent opportunity to share information related to your educational experiences, whether you are working on or completed an undergraduate or advanced degree. It can add what could be “much needed” content to your professional website.

Adding a “mission statement”. This is a way for a viewer to get a better understanding of your career goals and how you plan to achieve them. When applying to an employment opportunity, this gives added context for them to review you. Any “added content” will make you standout.

Create and post a short video. Develop a video where you talk about what you want to do or possibly demonstrate it. For example, consider you are applying to be a foreign language interpreter, shoot a video of yourself conversing in that language. This idea of sharing a video about yourself became popular in the undergraduate college application process; applicants separate themselves by sharing a well thought out, creative video. Obviously, applicants to undergraduate college programs have little professional experience as well.

Post a blog about your interests. There are many benefits in having your own blog. First, it shows your personality, a viewer can really understand you better; there is nothing better than reading an actual sample of what you choose to write about. It can be an enlightening experience for the viewer. Second, it is a writing sample, if a blog is well written, it can be a positive reflection on your writing skills. Finally, it shows how you handle feedback, an interactive blog demonstrates your ability to respond to criticisms and acknowledgments. All professionals should consider writing a blog, especially for those with less supporting content on their professional website. Business/IT programs suggest that their students write blogs.

It can be frustrating trying to create a resume when you have little professional experiences. Though, it is important to remember that for the jobs you are applying to, competing applicants are faced with the same dilemma. The strategy is to find ways to provide added content to separate yourself from the competition. A professional website offers many ways to add this “much needed” content, including the use of: projects, a mission statement, video, and a blog.

Use of Self-Contained Platforms

In current web development, there is a balance between a functional integrated approach and a visually appealing approach to designing a web page. Web designers often use “self-contained platforms”, such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, to distinguish their website stylistically speaking. These platforms have an interface to create applications with video, audio, animation, and charting – all of which make it easier to have a standout web page. However, there are two main drawbacks with over-dependence on self-contained applications.

First, a visitor to the page must host a reader application on their computer – something that creates another set of problems. If the reader is not on the visitor’s computer, they will be interrupted to download and install it – an annoyance. In addition, as there are advancements in the platform, the visitor has to download and install updates to the reader application; surely you have gotten that pop-up message from Adobe saying it is time to upgrade to the new version of Adobe Flash.

Second, there is almost no external integration with a self-contained application. It is possible to integrate them with a database ( Action Script with Flash and XAML with Silverlight), but otherwise the application cannot work with its external environment. An example is developing a page for search engine optimization (“SEO”) with Google (or any other search engine).

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