I think we all need our own home on the web, just like we have our own physical space at home. If we don’t have a home on the web today, we might as well not exist.
Nowadays, it’s a given that you have a website (no matter who you are or what you do) that includes an easy way to get in touch with you for personal or work endeavors. A website speaks for you when you aren’t online by telling others what you do. When you spell out what you do on your own site, there’s little chance that others will make their own incorrect conclusions.
Here are some reasons for building a home on the web:
Having a home on the web is a great avenue to talk about things you care about (and we all care about something), share those ideas, and to connect with others who care about the same things. It helps you find and develop your own voice, which doesn’t have to be the loudest — it just needs to be authentic. This is what makes you unique.
Remember, you’re doing this first and foremost for yourself, and then for others. You do this to know yourself better, which can be the hardest thing to do. We can learn a lot about ourselves by talking about things we care about. As Steve Jobs said, and I paraphrase, we can only connect the dots by looking back.
When you show up every day and give people something of value, you build a tribe that cares about the things that you care about; they follow you not because of what you do or how you do it, but more importantly because they believe what you believe. They don’t show up for you; they show up because what you believe (your WHY) resonates strongly with them.
When you share your ideas on the web, it makes it easy for others to find and connect with you (through your ideas); this also potentially opens doors (opportunities) for you that otherwise may not have been possible.
When you share something of value on a regular basis, you build your expertise in the long term. You can offer products/services as a way to help others while also getting paid for it. It is a win-win.
Having such a home on the web becomes a part of your personal legacy that has the potential to outlive you (your grand children can preserve it); it’s a way for you to be immortal through your values/beliefs and with things you share. And, others can continue to get value from the work you share long after you’re gone.
Now that we know about the benefits of having a home on the web, here are some ideas for putting it into practice:
First, you will need a self-hosted website in order to create a home on the web. Using other social media platforms is fine, which you can use to syndicate what you share on your own website. But, your website should be the primary way to reach you on the web. You can learn about the tools I use to run this website to get an idea of what you might want for your own website.
Next, you have to figure out what you want the website to be. This largely depends on what you want out of it. This is different for everyone (I share my example below). Do you want it to be just a way of letting others know about who you are and what you do, or will you write about things that you care about? If you want to have more than a static website with contact information, consider starting a weblog where you share what you know; this could be in the form of text, audio, video, or a combination thereof.
When creating any value, be it by writing or what have you, keep permanence in mind. That means sharing things that can help others not just right now, but even 50 years from now, let’s say. This also makes it easy for others to find you through your ideas with organic web searches.
Write about things that you are passionate about, things you know, and things that interest you. Write about things you can’t stop talking or thinking about. Write about things you want to learn more about. Remember, we learn by teaching/sharing and vice-versa.
Decide on a publishing schedule (daily/weekly/biweekly), but make sure it’s one that works for you. If you don’t know, start small, then figure it out later. We are striving for momentum here, not perfection. The point is to decide on a schedule, and stick to it, however small it may be. Remember, consistency beats intensity.
When you show up and share work based on a schedule (commitment) that works for you, your audience shows up because you’re putting out something on a regular basis. This is what makes you a pro. Doing this helps you build trust with those who follow your work.
I will briefly share my example with dazne.net:
My vision for Dazné®:
He was a Free Agent, who ran an award-winning weblog/website. He created his own platform on the web and built his tribe. He had what Kevin Kelly called 1,000 True Fans who supported his work endeavors. He designed products in the form of books, courses, webinars, etc, that helped others. He also offered consulting services to successful individuals and organizations through his work at Dazné®.
In other words, my WHY is to help others create lasting positive change by making art every day. My website simply serves as a tangible representation (the WHAT) of my WHY.
My website, essentially serves two kinds of audiences:
- Readers who read everything I write about (weblog). They (my “tribe”) care about the same things as I do, and they show up for themselves because they believe what I believe (my WHY).
- Prospective clients who want to learn more about my work.
As shared in an earlier piece, one of my goals for my legacy project, Dazné®, and the weblog is certainly a part of that, is to write 2,000 pieces over a period of 40 years. Putting out one piece every week should take me there. Remember, process determines outcome.
My hope with the weblog is that others will find it of value regardless of when they read it so they can apply what they have learned here to help them be the best they can be. I strive to write with permanence in mind so that my writing is always valuable regardless of when it’s read.
We all have things to say about topics that we care about. It is only natural that we share it with others, and in the process, we can build a following. This helps us connect with others, opens doors for us, and helps us discover better opportunities that may have not been possible otherwise.
We need a home on the web. Something we can call our own where others can learn more about us, who we are, and how we can help them. It can outlive us while also providing value to others forever. Don’t waste this wonderful opportunity — it has never been easier.