A guide to creating a personal web page

It goes by many names: Web nameplate, personal home page, virtual business card, online CV, or personal portal, among others. Whatever you call these "digital brochures of you" (I made that one up), a personal landing page is a webpage that contains info that is all about you. It has links to all the important information you want public: The places you inhabit online (social networks and blogs), sharing networks for video and images, articles about or by you, your podcasts and performances, and more. If you need a centralised place to call home, build a landing page and get that URL to everyone you want to find you online.

How do you make a landing page, you ask? Of course, you could register a URL, rent space at a web hosting service, and build your own. You should know, though, that there are plenty of services that make creating a landing page ultra-simple. All you need to do is provide the links and some graphics, or one big graphic. (Now is a great time to put your photographer friends to work).

So, here are six ways to create the ultimate personal landing page with ease – and five tips for promoting it once you're done.

Flavors.me comes in two flavours (ahem). The free product offers seven layouts and gathers content from up to five services, and the paid version has 17 layouts, links to unlimited services, and boasts several more features. Once you've created an account, you can log in using a Facebook, Google, or Yahoo account (whatever is linked to your landing page).

The site welcomes you with that dizzying array of information and features, but when it comes down to it, Flavors.me is like most of its competition – it’s designed to facilitate a landing page with a big beautiful background image and links to go with that. Once you're in, you can customise any of the layouts, but it's hit or miss as to how well they'll work with your graphics; trial and error, and patience, may be required to get it just right. Naturally, you can link to just about any service on the web because that's the whole point.

The extra options you get with the paid version are so varied that you probably won't need them all, but at only $20 (£12) a year, they're at least worth a try. They include real-time stats, a contact form, a mobile version of your site for smartphone access, a customisable favicon to show up in browser address bars, and, perhaps best of all, support for custom domain names that point to your page (or you can go with the flavors.me/username address it provides.) A Flavors.me landing page looks pretty good on a smartphone, too.

Free and paid accounts get access to the "social stream" feature, which is like an RSS reader for all the social goings-on of your friends. It's one of those features you probably don't need and probably won't use, but it's at your disposal.

Flavors.me is a great, simple option for creating a personal landing page, with or without the paid extras.

The About.me homepage welcomes you with its display of featured personal pages, so you can get an idea of what an About.me landing page will look like. The emphasis, naturally, is on a big photo as the background with accompanying links.

Once you create an account (email address, password, and About.me URL), future sign-ins can be done via Facebook or Twitter. The About.me interface takes all the pain out of creating a site; you can easily upload a background image, enter your name, a "headline," bio, and add links to just about any social/sharing/blogging service in the world. Basically, you set this data in a box that you can then position where you want on the background, relative to the most important part of the image.

What About.me doesn't have is the ability to support a domain name of your choosing – you get a URL that reads about.me/username.

There's no paid version of About.me, so what you see is what you get. About.me does offer "extras," however, such as business cards. There's even a QR code to send people with smartphones directly to your page. An About.me-based email address is provided, if desired. Stats are just a click away, so you can see how many visitors you get (although not where they came from).

What About.me lacks in paid features it more than makes up for with a perfect blend of simplicity and style.

Sure, Sidengo can help you create a single landing page, and it'll look great, but it can also help you produce an entire little website (with pop-ups more than actual pages, but why quibble?). It's geared towards small businesses, but can work for the individual as well.

The setup interface looks similar to Flavors.me, with its floating control panel at the top of the page. It provides areas in the main template for a site logo, slogan, and links to "pages" for About Us, Products & Services, and Contact Us (you can set this to be invisible if it’s unnecessary). Your site URL will read sidengo.com/username.

Don't get it in your head that Sidengo is just a bunch of links – you need to be a writer, or enough of a writer to fill in data about yourself and your business/project. It's a great idea for a small biz because a Sidengo page not only looks good and provides great ways for users to contact you, but the sites are instantly mobile as well. You can generate website widgets of your page and paste them elsewhere online.

Options include: The ability to use Google Analytics to track page traffic on your Sidengo page, support for custom domains (you have to purchase from a registrar like Register.com, 1&1, or GoDaddy), custom favicons and iOS icons (for those who'd bookmark your site like it's an app), QR codes to link to your page, and best of all, direct integration with Facebook Pages.

All in all, Sidengo is a great option for a small business with little or no online budget. You can get a free account which is all you’ll need for an informal effort, but if you’re a business and serious about your web page, you’ll want to step up to one of the paid options – which start at $10 (£6) per month.

Skrawlr is a barebones method for creating personal landing pages. You can set up an account by filling in the form on the Skrawlr home page. It asks for some personal data and usernames for your social networks (Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, Twitter and Vimeo are all that are supported, but no Facebook). Then, upload a background image and voila – you're done. You get a site at username.skrawler.com.

Skrawlr doesn't do anything extra for you. It won't resize your background image to fit perfectly; you'll have to do that yourself (and make it smaller than 2MB when you edit it). If it's too big, it bleeds off screen – and if it’s too small it does that annoying tiling thing. You can't set a preference.

Skrawlr's downside is the complete lack of customisation (you can't even choose fonts) and odd choice of link support. (There's no Facebook link, yet you can click a Facebook icon to share your page with your friends.) The upside is that it can be set up in mere seconds, so if you’re after a really quick and dirty solution, here it is.

CV landing pages

For many, the landing page is all about showing a professional front. And what's more professional than your CV? Re.vu can help you create a CV-based landing page, and if you have a LinkedIn account, half the work is already done.

The key to using Re.vu is to have an account with LinkedIn, the professional social network (a.k.a. the one where you try to get a job rather than post pictures of your friends at parties). When you set up a Re.vu account, it asks to use the LinkedIn importer, so it can build your CV timeline based on the data stored there. The timeline is the core of your CV landing page at re.vu/username. (You can upload your own standard CV for employers to download, too).

On your landing page, you can use Re.vu's custom backgrounds or upload your own. With Re.vu, the page is about the data, not the fancy background image, so you'll want something a little more generic in the background. The one provided with the template is probably best, unless you've got some serious graphic artistry chops. The timeline of your work and education is only imported once, and after that, you have to keep it updated separately. If you have typos on LinkedIn – heaven forbid – they'll also appear on Re.vu.

You'll want to go into your profile and make edits anyway, because the fun stuff for the page isn't imported. The Infographics tab will let you insert vital stats (put in numbers for anything, like businesses you've started, articles you've written, and so on), as well as graphs showing your job duties, favourite pastimes, interests, and languages. You can also upload portfolios of your work (in PDF or MS Office formats). These are the extras that make for a more interesting online CV, and hopefully, will lead to a great job interview.

Re.vu provides stats and the ability to promote your new landing page via Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It will generate a QR code graphic to put on business cards, blogs, or even your traditional CV. It's odd (and smart, at the same time) that it doesn't let you link to your other social networks since Re.vu wants to keep things totally professional. It's too bad your LinkedIn updates are not instantly seen at Re.vu, but again, this might be a wise decision. This might be the better place to send prospective employers.

5 tips for promoting personal landing pages

To close, here are some ways you can get your wonderful new page seen:

  • Make sure you put the URL for your personal landing page in your email signature.
  • Share the URL in your social network bios, such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • Put the URL on your business cards
  • If the site generates QR codes for you, put them on your business cards and website, too.
  • Register your landing page with Google and Bing, so when people search your name, it's close to the first thing to pop up.

If you found this article helpful, do read our article on social media - the conundrum. This article also contains a comprehensive list of links that connect you with features and guides to help promote and protect yourself in social media.