How to build a personal landing page online | Popular Science
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How to build a personal landing page online

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What do people see when they search for you online? To control these results, you need a personal landing page. This hub lets you promote yourself to potential employers, advertise a freelance business, network with colleagues in the same line of work, or just help people contact you.

While full-blown websites can encompass a sprawling collection of links, blog posts, galleries, and other content, a personal landing page is much simpler—and easier to create. It includes only one or two pages that display the most important information you'd like to share about yourself.

When you decide to create a landing page, spend some time considering what you want to include. Start with a few quality, high-resolution images that present you in a good light—so avoid random, goofy Facebook photos. For text, put some thought into a short bio that describes who you are and what you want. To flesh that out, you might include some well-chosen links, perhaps to a portfolio of your work on a site like Flickr (for photos) or Dribble (for design projects). You can also link to one or more of your social media accounts, although you should make sure those accounts are up to date and don't feature embarrassing posts.

Once you've decided what to include, many online services will help you set up a landing page in just a few minutes, for free or a very low fee. As you play around with the features these site builders offer, you'll probably get more ideas for profile content. Here are five services that will launch your landing page—no web programming experience required.

The classic: About.me

About.me, which has been creating personal landing pages for years, remains one of the most effective and easiest options out there. Visit the site, click Get your free page, and enter a few personal details and an email address. You can also follow links to sign up via your Facebook or Google accounts.

Once you've set up your About.me account, you can post your name, choose a cover photo, and provide a location (the nearest city is fine). To help other people on the network find you, you'll also need to answer a few questions about your interests and line of work. Finally, choose from some basic page layouts and select a color scheme.

That's all you need for the most basic version of your page. If you'd like to include more details, you can also enter a bio, connect your social media accounts, and add a link to a portfolio, blog, or other site. Then you can start sharing the URL for your page, which will be something like about.me/yournamehere.

Although About.me is free, you can pay to upgrade to a Pro account. This provides bonuses like a unique domain name (think yournamehere.com), the ability to embed an image gallery or video, and the chance to remove About.me branding from your page. It costs $8 per month or $80 a year.

The multi-tasker: Carrd

Carrd works very similarly to About.me, but it lets you create three free sites from one account. This comes in handy if you want one landing page for yourself and another one or two for your business or hobby.

To get started, visit the site and click the Choose a Starting Point link on the opening page. Carrd will prompt you to pick a layout template and populate the page with details like your name and a short bio. Then you can employ the page editor tool to make the site look exactly how you want, complete with customized colors. It's a breeze to use, letting you drag and drop elements to move them around the page. You can also add multiple social icons and links, including connections to your Twitter profile, LinkedIn page, and email address.

Before you publish your landing page, you need to give it a title and a description, and enter an email address and password so you can log back into Carrd and make changes in the future. Once you've published, it's not easy to switch from one template to another, but thanks to your two spare sites, it doesn't take long to start over from scratch on a new page.

Like About.me, Carrd offers pro accounts that go beyond the free option. In this case, you get extras like additional sites, high-resolution images and videos, forms, and support for custom domains. Prices range from $20 to $100 a year, depending on which features you want.

The social maven: Me in a Nutshell

Me in a Nutshell concentrates on your social channels, building up your landing page with feeds from your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other accounts. This service is ideal if you're already very active on social media and other online accounts and just need a place to pull everything together.

To begin crafting your page, head to the website and click Get started. The first step is connecting all of your social media accounts, though you start with just one and deal with the rest later. You can also link to websites where you store your work, including Behance for portfolios, Flickr for photos, and SoundCloud for audio clips. Just enter your login credentials to let Me in a Nutshell share your various accounts in one place.

When you're ready to see how your page is looking, click Go to my Nutshell. Although the site automatically arranges your feeds in a well-presented and elegant way, and pulls in bio information and profile images to boot, you can also edit any of these details. While you're at it, play around with modifying the page's colors and fonts.

Again, the basic service is free, but you can pay for add-ons and extra features on an individual basis. For example, replacing the Me in a Nutshell URL with your own domain name costs $3 a month.

The business site: Lander

Lander focuses more on personal business applications. That said, individuals can also use it, and it offers a much wider range of templates and options than the other services we've mentioned. On the downside, you have to pay for the service, with prices ranging from $16 to $200 per month, depending on how many domain names you want and how many visitors you need to handle.

Before you pony up, take advantage of Lander's 14-day free trial, which lets you see whether the site creator works for you. To sign up, click Try Lander for free on the opening page and enter a few personal details. Next, click New Landing Page and choose a template. Because Lander has more options, it may take you a little more time to consider all your choices. For a personal landing page, you might want to try the Bio & Portfolio template.

When you're ready to populate that template, you can add multiple blocks of text and images, as well as social media shortcuts and links to other sites. The page editor relies on a simple drag-and-drop system, but it also lets you adjust other properties such as the alignment of each element.

Lander will cost you more and take longer to figure out, but it has far more customization than the other sites we've mentioned. If you're interested in growing a small business or a freelance endeavor, it's particularly useful, because it also offers advanced features like conversion rate tracking—how many people actually stick around on or interact with your site.

The simple: Social media and blog platforms

We've discussed four of the best services for creating landing pages, but they're not your only options. Social media and blogging sites also let you put your best digital foot forward.

If you maintain a Twitter account, for example, you already have a site that hosts your photo and a brief bio. It has a simple URL you can share with other people, options to design the color and look of your page, and tools for sharing links and photos of your work. Because the bio section of your Twitter page is limited, you can supplement it with a pinned tweet that explains who you are or links to your best piece of work. To pin a tweet, find it in your timeline, click the down-pointing arrow in the tweet's top right corner, and choose Pin to your profile page.

You can also turn to your Facebook profile, although you probably want to create a separate page for your professional self-promotion. This will keep a distance between your public image and the one you share with friends and relatives. As with Twitter, you get some control over the look and feel of your page, and of course, it's easy for people to get in touch with you (as long as they use Facebook). To get started, log into Facebook, click the down-pointing arrow in the very top right of the page, and choose Create Page.

Beyond social media, you can adapt other free web hosting sites to create a single landing page. Options include Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. However, none of these are as simple to use as the services we've already mentioned. They might work better as supplements to your landing page, if you end up needing more flexibility or want to expand into regular blogging.

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