A great personal website is one of the most effective tools you can use if you want to market yourself or your business.
The best personal websites serve as a calling card, contact point, and representation of what you stand for. It’s also a place where anyone can go to learn more about you and what you bring to the table.
First impressions are everything, and in the digital age, if you’re not cultivating a solid and cohesive online presence, you’re likely missing out on a lot of professional opportunities.
It’s no coincidence that the best in their industry tend to have their own site. Not only have they made one, but they take the quality of it seriously (regarding content and design).
So what’s considered a “great” personal website? Where do you go to find inspiration for yours?
To help you with this, we’ve scoured the internet and found some of the best personal website examples to serve as inspiration and education. Check them out, make note of what you like, and use it to make your own site fantastic!
There’s a lot to like about this personal website. The design is nice and clean and favors a more minimal style (which we’re a fan of). The headline on the homepage is also something we’re a big fan of. It’s direct, conveys value quickly, and doesn’t beat around the bush. She also uses the top navigation really well to point new visitors in the right direction for whatever they might need. There isn’t a lot of noise with this example, and that’s something we encourage you to emulate with your own site.
The design really shines here and makes this one of the best personal website examples that we encourage everyone to learn from. There’s great use of whitespace, the typography is clean and readable, and the colors draw in the eye. The button on the top right is a fantastic example of a call to action that doesn’t take things too far. Simon has a lot of content on his site and various initiatives he’s looking to promote but funnels visitors around very effectively. Sometimes when there are a lot of projects it can get hard to manage all of them on your site without them stepping on each others toes. This is a great example of how to do that well.
This is honestly one of the best personal websites we’ve ever seen. Riley does an excellent job at showcasing her incredibly gifted design skills, and her site is informative and extremely fun to parouse. When a viewer enjoys browsing through your site, you know you’re on the right track to securing some more clients.
The use of whitespace on this page really works wonders. It drives the eye to the main column where the content is the focal point. There’s also a nice call to action block that takes the visitor to his featured book, but it doesn’t distract from the overall experience. Too often you see people take things too far and plaster banners all over their personal website in order to try and get people to buy their stuff. While you definitely need to promote yourself, use this as an example of how to do it without compromising the core purpose of the site. In this case, Tim does a fantastic job making visitors aware of his work while still keeping the look and feel of a content-focused blog.
McCartney’s website grabs your attention as soon as you see it. This is a great example of something that simply looks great. There’s no questioning McCartney’s skill when seeing this website, and the clever use of situating a lot of content in only two simple pages is a near perfect blend of quality content that doesn’t feel cluttered.
Sometimes, you want an online presence where people can get in contact with you and know you exist, but you’re not necessarily interested in having a fully fleshed out personal website, and that’s okay. Here, Reagan does a wonderful job at structuring a great looking homepage that links out to her work, while keeping it plain, simple, and stylish.
One of our favorite things about this site is the big subscribe button that you simply can’t miss. It’s obviously the most important action that Seth wants his visitors to take, and he’s not messing around trying to accomplish that. The color is definitely a pattern interrupt from most of the other blogs you see as well, and really makes him stand out. The reason why this is a great personal website is it does a lot of things well and doesn’t overextend trying to be something it’s not. It’s very much on brand with what Seth preaches in his writing, and allows the quality of the content on the site to do the heavy-lifting.
Gemert shows off his skill of web development in a really nice interactive, online resume. Initially, any fans of Marvel (specifically, Captain America) are going to love this site. But if you continue to scroll, there’s really something for everybody in this personal website. You’ll also want to scroll down to the very bottom of Gemert’s site to see how he nicely positions and advertises his past projects.
This is one of the best personal websites around in terms of accomplishing Larkin’s goal of promoting her work and getting connected with prospective clients. She also has a nice pop up that appears when you enter the site. But she’s designed in a way that isn’t annoying—actually, it’s quite helpful. This is especially true when you take into consideration the fact that this site does a great job at engaging the viewer and getting them connected to the work of Larkin.
Wait’s website is a great example of stellar design and personality. We really like his incorporation of a mobile screenshot, something that shows off his love of being a father and his joy of life. This same joy is captured in everything down to the color scheme of this site, which shows an attention to detail that’s much needed from a design director.
As a master of promotion, Tim is someone you should look to when you want to learn how to get visitors to do what you want. With his personal website, he essentially uses it as a feed for his latest podcast content with some complimentary calls to action. The massive header and the “click to listen” is evidently something that’s working very well for him, because if it wasn’t he would have changed it by now (Tim is big on A/B testing). He uses his main menu navigation to direct visitors to his books, podcast, and shows. You can’t see it in the picture above, but he also uses a massive overlay to gain newsletter subscribers as well. Some might think it’s all a bit too aggressive, but those people probably aren’t selling as many books as Tim either.
This site is friendly, engaging, and you can really feel the warmth of Santos’ professional spirit as you browse this personal website. She also has a ton of great resources to help you see what she’s been up to, and has an underlying foundation of high-quality user-friendliness. This site is also another great example of utilizing pop ups in a way that doesn’t anny or clutter up a homepage.
Kevin’s site is the epitome of great design mixed with a simple and user-friendly home page. The design is young, modern, and it easily links out to his social profiles on the homepage. He also gets right to business with a clever contact button on the homepage, leaving little room for frustration for those who are less technologically-inclined.The copy is witty, the colors are captivating, and the use of video and slideshow is a perfect example of showcasing one’s development skills via their personal website.
Stunning website that gets straight to the point. Instantly, it showcases Mcnally’s incredible photography skills, and it’s also nicely set up for purchasing, too. Finding an aesthetically pleasing ecommerce sight can be quite difficult, but Mcnally strikes the perfect balance between design and demand.
This site is an excellent example of self-promotion that is authentic and real. It’s also one of the best personal website examples of somebody utilizing a clever name as a pseudonym. It’s an excellent site that promotes her book and her adventures while still maintaining a very personal feel.
Using design well
If you’re looking at all of these personal website examples and try to find commonalities there are a few that you should be aware of:
The design should always reflect your own brand, and with all of these you can see it being done well. Tim Ferriss is a bit more aggressive with his promotion, Simon Sinek goes with a more clean and professional “thought leader” feel, and Seth Godin is all about the content.
Take a look at what makes you unique and look at your site as an opportunity to project that. Unfortunately many get intimidated by this process and think it’s going to be difficult to figure out.
It’s actually a lot easier than you think.
You’re going to naturally be drawn to certain styles and designs that reflect your brand. The biggest mistake you can make here is try to create your personal website around what you think you should like, or only what works for other people.
Use the examples above as inspiration and blend that with your natural preferences. If you do that, you will have a personal website that reflects who you are extremely well.
The balance of calls to action
Whether you are looking to create a strict resume website or want to promote a book you just finished, you want to be utilizing calls to action on your site. As you saw above, how aggressive you get with them is entirely up to you.
If you’re a freelancer or job seeker, a single call to action is probably the best way to go. Having a button or link in a prominent location (like Seth Godin) and another in the top menu navigation is a tried and true strategy.
If you’re doing a more content-focused personal website you might want to think about utilizing something in the sidebar, or within the content itself. It’s all about knowing where your visitors are going to be spending the most time, and making them aware of what you’re trying to promote (without going crazy).
This is something you don’t have to get right from the get-go, and most of the people on our list are constantly changing or tweaking their sites as they go along. Constantly test what works, scrap what doesn’t, and you’ll be just fine.
The truth is, there’s no one right way to design a great personal website. Trends come and go, and there’s a time and place to capitalize on them, but the success of the websites listed above is that, even they are modern and enticing to the current generation’s eye, they’ll still stand the test of time.
A good website is informative, inspiring, and nice to look at it. It’s not an exhaustive list of all you’ve done, and as we’ve seen, it doesn’t even have to house any of your work on the actual page site itself. As long as you learn to implement some quality design protocols, the sky is really the limit with what you can do.
Sure, depending on your niche, some designs will work better than others. But it’s more than possible to design stunning looking websites for a variety of different professional personal endeavors.
And in case you want to equip yourself a bit more with the skills needed to craft an excellent site, there’s a lot of options to better your coding skills for cheap or free of charge.