While I was still in law school, way before I even thought to go into business for myself, my brother, Adolphus Maples, III, now owner of Maples Media Group, LLC advised me to purchase the rights to my name as a domain for a website to keep “pirates” (for lack of a better word) from taking it when I get successful and try to sell it back to me. He is all things technology and marketing, and he is also my big brother, so I didn’t think anything of it. I just simply responded “ok”, asked him if he could do it and told him I would just send him the money.
That was well over 13 years ago and, by far, it was one of the best pieces of business advice he’s ever given me. He went on to register the names of his immediate family and close friends as well, as he was thinking forward about something I had no clue about.
After graduating from law school and attempting to figure out my next move, I inquired about building a website utilizing the domain name that had already been established. I still did not know I would eventually start my own business, but I thought it would be a great way to market myself while I was looking for other opportunities.
With his assistance (i.e. – I gave him my vision and he did the work), I built a very basic site which included my name, contact information, bio, copy of my resume and lists of awards and activities from college through law school. It was an added flair of sorts to have my personal website listed on my contact card back then, because most students had not incorporated a website into their presentation while searching for work opportunities.
Fast forward to 2014, and personal or small business websites are being utilized tremendously to build and grow the personal brands of individuals of not only those seeking job opportunities, but also those seeking to build their clientele and bring new opportunities to their doorstep. I reached out to my big brother again and asked him for some tips to build an optimum website that will assist in building your personal brand. Here’s what he gave me:
1) Make sure that you maintain ownership and control over your website domain.
Sometimes your domain and your hosting are done by the same company. If you pay for someone else to design your website, make sure you maintain the control/passwords for the domain (.com) If anything goes wrong, the worst thing is not being able to move your domain address because someone else controls or owns it.
2) Make sure your design is compatible for all digital devices and browsers.
You want to be certain that your message and look are both consistent and clear for whoever will be looking at it from their phone, notebook, or the most popular web browsers.
3) Make sure your design has a clean look.
Include all relevant information that will assist in portraying your personal brand, however, stay away from flashy multimedia that has too much movement or music included.
4) Don’t reinvent the wheel.
There are likely several successful sites that represent a similar product or brand. If their organization of info and overall feel is good, use it for yourself. Once you add your own looks and items it will become your own.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
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