I think that every SEO should develop their own website. I don’t care if it’s an SEO blog, a travel blog, a site about your cat, or a tribute to Metallica.
My argument is:
In order to be a decent SEO and to be able to stay current as SEO becomes more and more technical, you need to have a place to test out ideas that you otherwise may not be able to do on client sites (for ethical or practical reasons, such as making changes yourself/quickly).
You Will Learn New Skills
To be good at SEO, you have to be constantly learning. In our industry, change is the only constant and our work is only getting more complicated, so you need to be at least competent in most areas. By developing and then having your own site, you can learn skills such as:
- Learning how hosting works and the frustrations that come from it;
- Implementation of and/or writing code;
- Appreciating how difficult it is to keep up a website and put up quality content.
Since I have had this website, I have endlessly tinkered around with the CSS and HTML. I’ve learned to better hack PHP (for example, the Social Me widget on the top of my right navbar has been hacked to use the rel=”me” microformat”), learned about site speed and how to increasingly optimize that, learned more about building and maintaining sitemaps, learned how to plan out my architecture and what works and does not. It’s been quite a learning curve, but has ultimately made me much better at my job!
You Will Test New Ideas
If you work with clients, one of the major rubs can be not being able to try out new ideas and strategies on their sites. Often we don’t have direct access to change anything on their sites, and we also do not want to take the chance of something breaking on a client’s site. If you have your own site, however, you have a testing environment.
Since I started this site, I’ve done the following (and much more)
- Tested out seeing organic rankings in GA using custom variables (which I posted about on SEOmoz here);</>
- Implemented and tried to get rel=author showing in the SERPs;
You Will Learn to Explain Complicated Ideas
SEOs often are required to explain complicated topics that we know like the back of our hand to people who know nothing about SEO. Clients often do not understand what a “SERP” or “title tag” is, so we have to learn how to communicate these in coherent ways. What better way to do this than by blogging or maintaining your own site?
I do not care if your site is about SEO, puppies, or cooking. Learning to explain your thoughts and ideas in a coherent, formatted, and concise way will help you out in many areas of life, especially with clients as you put together reports that you want them to use to affect change, not collect dust on their desks.
Personal SEO Sites to Inspire You
A lot of well-known SEOs have their own sites. Some are updated frequently, others not as much, but I bet all of them would say that having their own site has made them better at their jobs.
Here are some that I know of:
Go. Learn. Have fun. Learn something new every day.