How to Build Your Perfect Personal Branding Website
Search the web for "personal brand websites" and you'll discover endless, identical listicle articles to choose from.
Hundreds of inspiring ideas to skim and immediately forget...
This guide is different.
Today, we'll explore how to actually build an effective personal branding website, section-by-section.
We'll still learn from real-life examples, but the goal of this article is to help you feel confident creating your own successful website to promote your personal brand business.
Let's get started!
Exploring the Different Types of Personal Brand
When you consider who has a personal brand, chances are you think of celebrities first.
The Kim Kardashians, Oprah Winfreys and Kayne Wests of the world.
It's easy to claim that modern celebrity status is earned through extensive media exposure, rather than creating something of value. That might be true for some celebrities born into the right circles, but most invested years into their craft before achieving recognition.
In this article, we're using celebrity to mean anyone whose personality and likeness is closely associated with their brand and business. This includes actors, comedians, sports champions, philanthropists, activists, TV hosts, etc.
Let's look at a few celebrity’s personal websites.
Actor, DBE, fashion model
Calls-to-action: Acting engagements, paid online courses, charity work.
Actor, author, comedian, mental health and addiction activist
Calls-to-action: Paid podcast, paid online course, videos, articles, mailing list
These guys and gals have invested years into learning about a specific industry or topic.
Their personal brands usually focus on a freemium teaching model – publishing regular free content, and offering paid courses or products. Other revenue channels might include affiliate sales, workshops and even sponsorships.
Industry experts often combine killer content marketing with a strong email marketing strategy, so growing their mailing list is especially important.
Social media and online business expert
Calls-to-action: Podcast, mailing list, free guides leading to online courses, digital products
Shane Melaugh, ActiveGrowth
Productivity and online entrepreneurship expert
Calls-to-action: Mailing list, online courses, podcast, articles
Authors & Artists
Writers, artists, and musicians of all levels often have a personal brand website.
What separates these from other "celebrities" is that they usually focus more on their body of work, rather than their personality. This isn't a hard rule – some artists are industry experts or celebrities – and many writers offer workshops and courses.
But these are still, undeniably personal websites.
Award-winning, NYT best-selling author
Calls-to-action: Browse and buy books, mailing list
Award-winning, NYT best-selling author
Calls-to-action: Browse and buy books, mailing list
Consultants and Coaches
Coaches and consultants use their personal brands to offer professional services to individuals or groups.
Personal trainers, lawyers, language tutors, dating gurus, homeopathic spiritual healers... we're not here to pass judgement.
These services often operate in saturated markets, making it impossible to compete on price or product alone. Many coaches and consultants build a powerful personal brand to stand out from the crowd.
Anna Victoria, Fit Body
Health and fitness coaching
Calls-to-action: Mailing list, app download, online shop, digital products (guides), articles
Online personal trainer, film actor training
Calls-to-action: Online courses, articles
Calls-to-action: Quiz, coaching, speaking, podcast, consultation, articles
The Core Principles of a Personal Brand Website
A personal branded website is very different from a local, product or content-led business.
Yes, your long-term business goal is to sell products, but to achieve this, your website goal should be starting and nurturing a relationship with your audience.
Everything on a successful personal brand website should be geared towards helping your audience know, like and trust you.
It doesn't matter what you sell. YOU are the product
In any given industry, there are probably hundreds of similar products available to buy.
Yoga courses, nutrition plans, online marketing workshops, language tuition... these products can't compete on their own, unless they're exceptional, unique, or supported with a large advertising budget.
But you have something that no one else does – You!
Your face, your personality, your voice, your story.
This focus on the person – not the product – is what defines a great personal brand website.
Often, customers aren't even buying a product, they are buying into a story, a personality and promise of transformation.
Establish industry authority and credibility
Your personal website needs to showcase you in a professional and trustworthy way.
It's one thing to tell people they can trust you, but it's far more effective to show that others have trusted you in the past!
Here are some useful tools:
As Featured In
Show off an impressive selection of publishers or media who have featured your product, story or interviews. These lend credibility to your personal brand, simply through association.
Here's Anna Victoria's As Featured In strip:
Here's David Kingsbury's:
And here's Amy Porterfield's:
Testimonials are powerful success stories from happy customers.
Unlike reviews, which focus only on the product, the best testimonials focus on a 'transformation story' – a personal problem, solution, journey, and result.
Most importantly, they answer a critical question for future customers: "Is this product right for me?"
Testimonials help visitors relate to similar people and visualize success through your products.
David Kingsbury uses comparison testimonials to great effect:
Certifications and Memberships
This isn't relevant to all industries, but it's essential for those where it matters.
Lawyers, dieticians, mental health specialists, tutors working with children etc.
Some professional personal brands need to show relevant qualifications and memberships of governing organisations.
Expand and Consolidate your Social Media Presence
A cohesive social media presence is important for many personal brands.
Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income, is famous for his Be Everywhere approach.
Your audience might discover you on Instagram or YouTube. Content consumption and audience interactions often take place elsewhere, such as Facebook, without your audience ever visiting your personal website.
This makes tying together your social media presence much more important for personal brands, than for product or content focused businesses.
Clear, Consistent Calls-to-Action
Successful personal brands build their personal websites around a few clearly defined calls-to-action.
They don't confuse their visitors with endless choices. Instead, they offer a prominent, primary call-to-action, and a handful of alternatives.
Every element of your website should reinforce your calls-to-action, so it's important to define them early.
Here's some ideas:
- Join a newsletter, to enable continued, off-site conversations.
- Explore the blog, to further establish credibility and encourage sharing.
- Buy a product, course, service
- Book speaking events or become a sponsor.
- Book a callback or consultation
What should your personal website include?
For personal branding websites, a good homepage does most of the work.
It's the hub that sets expectations, showcases your very best work, and guides new visitors to take action.
Unlike a content or product-led business, your personal brand homepage is likely to be seen by most new visitors. It's absolutely critical to get it right.
But how do you design a great personal brand homepage?
Later in this article, you'll discover how our WordPress theme, Shapeshift, comes with a professionally designed homepage template to kick-start your personal brand.
Your About page is the perfect place to share your personal story with your audience.
It's not an opportunity to share every childhood struggle, your first date, or your adorable pets. Keep those for your autobiography. Instead, it's your chance to share your journey of transformation as it relates to your audience.
Help them to relate to you, both as a person and a professional in their industry.
Your About page is also a great place to grow your mailing list, so consider adding an opt-in form.
If you want some extra help creating a powerful About page, we have a course especially for you!
A Contact page is important for most personal brand websites.
If you offer professional services, it can be your main method of collecting customer leads.
If you offer products, it can offer potential opportunities outside your usual sales channels, such as sponsorships, joint ventures, speaking gigs, and more.
Think about how you want different types of people to contact you.
- General enquiries / fan mail
- New Clients / customers
- Customer services
- Speaking opportunities
Customer leads, for example, might be best captured using an embedded form. This lets you require additional fields, such as their URL and scope of services, and helps filter out enquiries that are unlikely to be a good fit for your business.
Sponsors and speaking opportunities might be best captured with a dedicated email address. This way you can start a conversation that could become very profitable.
Shop / Courses / Services
Be sure to include a prominent page where your visitors can discover your products and services.
Depending on your product, here are some ideas:
- Integrate a full shopping cart system, like WooCommerce
- Sell individual products through a payment processor, like Stripe or Gumroad
- Showcase your courses using a course platform, like Thrive Apprentice
- Promote your membership content, using software like MemberPress or Wishlist Member
- Sell access to a paid community, such as BuddyPress combined with a membership plugin
Even if you offer offline services (e.g. personal fitness training), your personal branding website should still feature content that explains your product in detail and offers a compelling call-to-action.
Portfolio / Events / My Work
If your clients need to be first reassured by an industry track record, this page is your chance to showcase your best work.
Of course, a portfolio is different for each industry.
Here's some ideas for various personal brands:
- Marketing consultant ... Successful client projects
- Musician ... Discography and awards
- Writer ... A selection of your best publications
- Celebrity ... Past speaking events
A portfolio may not be relevant for your personal branding website, but it's a key component for many consultants and coaches.
Here's my personal brand website portfolio page:
If you don't publish regular content, your personal branding website will be at a disadvantage. Your audience are craving more content, and they'll either get their fix from you or your competitors.
Regular content doesn't have to be in the form of a traditional, article-based blog – many successful personal brands focus on podcasts or video – but they all use the WordPress blog structure to publish this content.
Blog content is also great for content marketing – getting new people onto your website, and into your marketing funnel.
Get a Head-Start with our Personal Branding Homepage Template
Your homepage is arguably the most important page of your personal branding website. Get it right and everything else just fits right into place.
But how do you get it right?
With our professionally designed personal branding homepage template!
We recommend using Thrive Shapeshift to create a killer homepage for your personal brand – it's a great place to start and saves so much time. It comes with Thrive Theme Builder, which lets you customize every aspect of your WordPress theme, not just your homepage!
However, the advice in this article will be helpful, whichever tools you prefer to use.
Let's explore each design element of Shapeshift's personal branding homepage...
Header and Main Navigation
As with most websites, you need a solid header section with a clear navigation menu.
The aim is to showcase your main content hubs, not to include links to every page.
A simple and clear navigation can be more effective in getting people to the right place quickly.
Shapeshift offers a great choice of header designs to choose from. Just choose the header that most fits your brand, and make any changes you want in our visual editor.
The navigation menu itself is dynamically linked to your WordPress menu – you can even choose which to display if you've created multiple menus in your WordPress dashboard.
If you prefer a more manual approach, you can add your own links directly into the header section.
Our advice for personal branding websites is to include your 5 top-level navigation options here, and rely on hub pages to guide the visitor to deeper content.
Personal Brand Hero Section
What's a personal brand without a personal connection?
Shapeshift's hero section is designed to showcase the most important aspect of your personal branding website... You!
It should include your best photo, a short headline, and your primary call-to-action.
Our personal branding homepage template is a great starting point. Just swap out the elements with your own.
The key to a great hero section is a high-quality photo coupled with a layout that leaves room for your headline and call-to-action on all screen sizes. On mobile devices, your hero section should responsively adjust to best use the limited screen space.
Don't worry, it already does with Shapeshift...
As Featured In
Shapeshift's personal branding homepage offers a ready-to-go As Featured In strip.
Just swap out the logos with your best partners, publishers and accreditations, and you'll look immediately more professional.
You can choose whether to include full-color logos, or apply a stylized image effect in the visual editor. Many personal brand websites prefer greyscale logos but it's entirely up to you.
Key Navigation Options
Your visitor has been charmed by your handsome face, and reassured of your expertise by your media partners.
Now it's time to hit them with your best content!
What this means depends on your business and conversion priorities, but you can think of this section as an alternative navigation – a chance to explain what you offer.
As with all designs in the Shapeshift WordPress theme, everything is fully customizable.
Remember that attention spans are limited, so try to showcase a few selected content hubs, rather than throwing everything onto your homepage.
Here's some ideas to get the gears turning:
- Getting started
- Recommended tools
- Purchasable products - courses, an online shop, membership etc.
- Testimonials and portfolio
- Secondary calls-to-action
- Podcast or video episode hub
Here's how the professionals use this section on their personal branding websites:
Out of the box, Thrive's Shapeshift theme includes a dynamic blog section that is perfect for personal branding websites.
Not only does it look good, but it's incredibly powerful too!
By default it will display the latest blog posts on your homepage, but you can configure this section to show any selection of your best content.
- Display either blog posts or static pages
- Sort by latest or oldest
- Sort by post title, author, number of comments, or random
- Display a specific number of posts, starting at a point you choose
- Show only posts from a specific category, tag or author
- Show only specific posts that you choose
The design is fully customizable too, letting you choose from the following:
- List, grid or masonry layout
- Number of posts displayed
- Number of columns
- Horizontal and vertical space
- Add pagination, so visitors can see more posts
- Change and style any element exactly the way you want
That's a lot to play with, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming if you're not a trained designer.
The Shapeshift personal branding homepage template comes with 41 professionally designed blog sections – choose the one that looks closest to your needs, and save yourself most of the work.
Hey there, good looking!
It's time to give people the chance to get to know you better, with Shapeshift's bio section.
No need to be shy or bashful here, this is your personal branding website and your visitors want to hear your story.
The bio section usually features an alternative image, a 5-section teaser statement, and a link to your about page.
It can also include social media links and a way to contact you.
Want to know how to write a killer bio? We've got you covered.
As with your hero section, your choice of photo is super important. Use a well-lit, professional image with friendly body language and a genuine smile.
Here's some real-life examples...
How can your visitors feel confident that you can help them achieve real results?
You can tell them yourself, or even better, you can show them.
Testimonials offer powerful social-proof, allowing your past customers to share their experience with your future customers.
Shapeshift's personal branding homepage gets you started with a great testimonial section.
Your web visitors are busy people, so you can't expect them to read every page from top to bottom. In fact, according to Hotjar, only 20% of people will ever visit the end of your homepage.
Rather than complain about human nature, I see this as an opportunity to speak with your most engaged readers!
Visitors who scroll this far down are looking for more.
What can you offer them?
If you haven't already, offer a way to join your mailing list. It's a great way to continue a conversation with loyal visitors away from your personal website, and keep them updated on offers, content and product launches.
The above CTA template design is what we've chosen for this section by default, but you can easily change it for something else...
Here's some great ideas for final calls-to-action:
- Sign up to your mailing list
- Download a free resource (and enter a marketing funnel)
- Take a quiz
- Book a consultation or appointment
- Access a free course
I encourage you to try different things, using Shapeshift's professionally designed Page Block components.
Add your own flavor
We created this template following best marketing practices, but of course your business is unique and you might want to highlight other aspects of your business on your homepage.
- Introduce any supporting team members.
- Showcase particular impressive statistics.
- Embed a contact form to make client enquiries ridiculously easy.
All of this is super easy to achieve by adding pre-designed page blocks. Simply click on the blue plus icon and add a new block anywhere on the page.
Website footers are never going to be exciting, but we can make them less boring!
Shapeshift comes with 27 professionally designed footer templates to choose from, all completely customizable. Just choose the footer that works best for your personal branding website and tweak it until it's perfect.
Most personal branding footers will include:
- Social media links
- An affiliate or earnings disclaimer
- Terms and conditions – especially if you offer online courses
- A copyright statement
Think about what should be included in your personal brand footer. Maybe your business address if you own a brick-and-mortar store, or your phone number if you accept direct calls.
Shapeshift gives you the tools to include any information you need. You're only limited by your creativity!
You're the Best at Being You!
A personal brand website can be so much more than a glorified business card or resume. You are a multi-faceted person with a unique message – your website should be too.
The challenge with personal brands is showcasing the hero of the story, while being driven by the needs of your audience. The two aren't mutually exclusive, in fact they are often the same thing... your visitors want to learn about your story, and they want to feel a connection before they're ready to buy your product.
Remember, you're the best at being you!
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