You’ve no doubt heard that you should have a personal website—whether it’s to build your personal brand, serve as an online resume, help you score new clients, or publicly archive your work.
But throwing up a site with your work experience and contact info is just the beginning. In order to be effective—and catch the eye of the people you’re targeting—it needs a couple key elements.
First, it should be easy for your visitors to navigate. Next, you’ll want carefully chosen examples of what you’ve done or the services you offer—along with an engaging bio and something that shows your personality. The cherry on top? A cool feature or “extra” that makes your site super memorable.
We know, it feels like a lot. So, just to prove it can be done and to give you some inspiration, we’ve found 35 (more!) amazing personal sites that pull together all of those elements. (Check out our first roundup here.) While some are simple and some have features galore, all are beautiful—and, more importantly, effective.
Easy to Navigate
Make it effortless for your visitors to find what they’re looking for with a well-organized and self-explanatory layout. These six are killing it in the “usability” department.
1. Zack Sears
Sears’s one-page site is made up of eight different color-block sections. Each is dedicated to a different project or venture, meaning that by the time you scroll to his contact info, you’ve gotten a quick but comprehensive overview of his skills, background, and interests.
There isn’t much to click on Heide’s page. You can browse through case studies from her previous roles by clicking an arrow or by navigating to them on the menu. By using such an uncluttered, simple interface, Heide puts all the focus on the important thing: what she has produced.
3. Hayk Ananyan
Underneath Ananyan’s concise introduction, the viewer immediately sees the logos of the brands he’s worked for—which is a great way to immediately establish credibility. Scrolling down a bit farther takes you to a slightly longer description of the designer and links to his relevant online profiles. Overall, this clutter-free, minimalist arrangement is the perfect way to show off his skills (and convince people to hire him!).
We love Galmarini’s colorful, straightforward layout. You barely need to click to view all of his pertinent information, such as what he does, who he’s collaborated with, and how to contact him.
5. Shane Snow
Rather than trying to put all of his pages in a single navigation bar at the top of his site—making it cluttered and confusing—Snow only lists the main four. The others are visible under a drop-down “Extras” menu. (Tip: If you use Squarespace like Snow did, this is super easy to set up.)
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Holman has a lot of design work under his belt. He’s chosen to represent it very simply: Each project gets a title and a short description on a single home page, and you can click on each one if you’re interested in learning more. It’s the perfect example of how to take a huge body of work and make it digestible. (Also, if you’re in the mood for a smile, hover over “Australian,” “New York,” and “Tumblr” in his bio.)
Awesome Portfolio Sections
Don’t just say you produce high-quality work—prove it. These six sites have effective and appealing samples of their creators’ projects.
Gosset’s work is presented in a monochromatic collage, ensuring the reader doesn’t get visually overwhelmed. Clicking an individual image will let you see details from that partnership.
Want to really show your impact? Copy Witkin’s approach. This web designer and strategist used her “Work” page to show before and after screen shots of her clients’ websites.
9. Dana Wood
Wood has made a really smart choice. She’s a prolific journalist, so on her site, she’s divided up what she’s written into two pages: “Showcase” and “+ Works.” The first shows off her most impressive articles, while the second is a more inclusive list of pieces. Ultimately, this gives you a sense of both her talent and her range.
10. Gareth Strange
Since Strange has a diverse portfolio, he’s chosen to represent it in two ways: in thumbnails on his homepage and with hyperlinks in the left-hand column. Clicking on either the thumbnail or the link will take you to a more in-depth description.
11. Victoria Bona
Bona uses the logos of each company she’s designed for in a simple but beautiful format. Plus, her use of color reveals her bright, vibrant visual aesthetic.
12. Kyle Meyer
Not only did Meyer transpose his work onto iPhone screens to give people a feel for his work in context (he’s a tech product designer), he included the press each project has gotten to prove that other people like his work, too.
The “About” section is your chance to show clients or employers why they should hire you. These bios do a fantastic job of demonstrating the person behind the site.
13. Lazar Stojkovic
Stojkovic’s site presents his life as a story, which draws you in and keeps you reading ’til the end.
14. Chris Steib
Even though Steib has an admittedly “circuitous” career path, he uses his bio to explain the common threads throughout his many diverse roles. Ultimately, he comes across as versatile, rather than aimless.
15. Alex Budak
We love how this bio is divided into a couple different sections: Budak’s purpose, some fun facts about him, where he’s been featured, his contact info, and his main bio. Even though the page has lot of information on it, the categories make it easy to find whatever you’re looking for.
16. Thomas Frank
Frank spends most of his time blogging as “College Info Geek.” He clearly set up this single-page site to redirect people to his preferred website while still showing up in searches for his name. Smart!
17. Kris Black
Black’s bio is short and sweet. We like how he’s invited people to learn more about him by seeing what tools he uses and where he works.
18. Cap Watkins
Watkins is involved in a ton of different creative pursuits, from blogging and speaking at conferences to collecting links and designing products at BuzzFeed. Rather than overwhelming people with samples of these disparate projects, Watkins linked to each one. It’s an easy-to-read, strong summary of his qualifications.
19. Gari Cruze
Copywriter Gari Cruz clearly knows how to hook an audience—and he demonstrates it well in his bio. In his “About” section, Cruze weaves a compelling story that shows off his passion for advertising and his beliefs about how to do it right. Plus, his “17 Random Things” section, built because “You don’t know much about me. Let’s fix that” makes him seem like the kind of guy you’d want to work with.
Excellent Explanation of Services
After impressing people with examples of what you’ve done and hooking them with your personality, you’ll want to follow up with a clear explanation of what you’re actually offering.
20. Claire Culley
By using icons to represent her four areas of expertise, Culley makes her “Skills” section visually appealing.
21. Erin Anderson
Anderson makes it simple to see what impact she’ll have on your company with three clear-cut packages in a neat and tidy “My Services” section.
22. Jenn Vargas
Vargas bills herself as a “product versatilist,” then provides a detailed explanation of what a product versatilist actually does—and why you need one.
23. Chris Downey
Most people are probably unfamiliar with the concept of designing architecture for the visually impaired. To help with that, Downey lays out exactly how he tailors spaces to make them work for the blind on his “Approach” page.
24. Cassie Marketos
Figuring out how Marketos can help your business or your brand is straightforward, thanks to the big “What I Can Do For You” button on the homepage and the list of services it takes you to.
A Little Personality
These sites really show off what makes their owners unique. Because there’s so much to look at on the web, distinguishing yourself becomes really important.
25. Jeremy Sallee
Sallee comes across as super approachable, thanks to his site’s light-hearted introduction, blog and photography sections, and social profile links.
26. Shane Zucker
The caption under Shane Zucker’s name is constantly changing, from “Enjoys cheesy action flicks” to “Misses driving now that he lives in NYC.” Our favorite part of his site, however, is subtle, but likely to be found by the types of people he is targeting given his career: In his site’s source code, Zucker has written “I Know How to Rock.”
27. Sinead Murphy
A timeline of the biggest moments in Murphy’s design career serves as both an illustration of her personality and professional growth.
28. Randa Sakallah
On Sakallah’s personal site, you’ll find professional links to her LinkedIn, Medium account, and Twitter—and links to her Spotify playlist, Vimeo account, and Goodreads profile mean you’ll also get insight into her fun side.
29. David Pogue
Pogue’s site is bursting with personality. Especially cool? There’s a graphic of his head on his “About” page that reveals random facts about him when clicked.
30. Mariam Guessous
Sometimes, all you need to add a little personality to your site is a fun and friendly picture of yourself. Guessous does that well on this bright landing page, making an excellent first impression on new visitors to her site.
31. Kendra Schaefer
A punchy color scheme is reinforced by bold text. For example, Schaefer’s portfolio is captioned as “Judge Me,” while her contact info appears under “Call Me Baby.” Schaefer clearly is speaking to the type of person who appreciates humor and a little daring.
These sites took our breath away. Use them as inspiration to make your personal site feel special—or just have fun looking at them.
32. Samuel Reed
On his site, you can watch an automation of Reed coding—his own site. What better way to show off his software development skills? A picture doesn’t do it justice; click through and watch it yourself!
33. Claudio Guglieri
We love how fun it is to scroll through Guglieri’s work—each sample is presented in a card that slides away when you move on to the next one.
34. Marc Thomas
Thomas has an area of his site called “Process,” where he explains how he takes a site from wireframe to launch. Not only is this interesting, but it proves Thomas knows what he’s doing.
35. Omar Jalalzada
This site is just kind of fun to explore given its keyboard shortcuts to getting around. Scrolling vertically will allow you to see the most important details of each of Jalazada’s projects. To delve more deeply into a specific one, just click right or left, and you can walk through the project from start to finish. Most impressive is the “learnings and footnotes” section Jalalzada has included with each project. This highlights his eagerness to learn and passion for his job.
TopicsTools & Skills , Social Media , Personal Branding , Social Media & Blogging , Tech Skills , Sponsored , Sponsored by Squarespace , Best of 2015
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