Students are often told that what they put up online stays there forever (which of course it does). However, adults who talk to students about this subject often portray putting things online as a bad thing, telling horror stories about how some future prospective employer will find all the embarrassing things you posted when you were young. I’m here to tell students to not think of your digital footprint as a threat to your future. In fact, it can be a huge advantage if you make a website.
Not only can you control the content on your website to make yourself look good online, but you can also take legal rights over the content, and maybe even profit from it.
Controlled content is key
Being able to customize how people see your digital footprint is key, whether you are applying to a university, or a summer job. If you can make your online content appeal to your employer, that can be a big advantage over the other applicants. Back in the day, all that it took to get into university or college was good marks. Today, while marks still matter a great deal, universities and colleges also look to see, whether or not the student can work well in groups, how many community service hours they have, if they played sports, etc. One of the best ways you can use your website to your advantage is to show how well-rounded you are. You can post pictures of yourself doing community service, working on a group project or playing a sport.
Looking for a way to make some money? Look no further than your very own website. If you put some work into your site and start getting a lot of visitors, companies and app developers will want to advertise on your website. And again, unlike social media sites, you are the owner of the website, so you’re the one collecting the advertising royalties.
So now that I’ve got your attention, here are some helpful tips for building a great website:
1) Keep it organized
Once visitors come to your website, they’ll want to be able to move around it fast and easily. Keeping your website organized will prove to be an attractive feature to your visitors.
2) Make sure content is high quality
Every picture, video and article on your website should be worth seeing if you want to impress an admissions director or an employer. Not only should it be worth seeing, but it should match what your visitors are looking for. For example, if an admissions director is on your website, they should see pictures of you doing community service or working in a group.
3) Make sure your website shows up for specific searches
There are two types of search: paid and organic. Paid search is when someone buys certain words so that when people search those words on Google, their website will be the first to come up. Organic search is below the paid search section (there is a line between the paid search and the organic search on Google) and displays results based on the content supporting those words. Since you’re probably not selling anything, and it’s really just about searching your name, don’t worry about paid search. Just make sure a lot of the content on your website is affiliated with your name, so it comes up first in an organic search (for example, you could make the name of the site your name).
In summary, having a website allows you to control one of the biggest parts of your digital footprint, which can be a huge advantage when applying to a university, college or job. It allows you to hold legal rights over your content, and can be used as a source of profit if it is popular enough. So instead of worrying about what’s in your digital footprint next time you apply somewhere, you can relax knowing that your website showcases what your admissions director or employer wants to see.