Just like the big companies, you too have a brand image to maintain online. You may not have a business, but everyone has a brand and that brand is YOU.

Have you ever performed a Google search for your own name? I have, actually way too many times when I think about it, and I know I am not the only one. Google searching your name might have been a weird thing to do 10 years ago, but today it’s quite normal. In fact, I encourage you to do it just to check on the results you get.

I ask you to do this because just like the big companies, you too have a brand image to maintain online. You may not have a business, but everyone has a brand and that brand is YOU. You are your own BRAND. Your name, your work experiences and professional affiliations are all vital components of building a winning personal brand. But in order to so, you will first need a website.

Here are three important reasons to build your personal online brand through your own website.

1. Good first impression

No one knows you like you do, so if your information is going to make an appearance online, then you’ll want to make a good first impression. It doesn’t matter who will be digging for this info (employers, business partners, friends and even stalkers); owning your own website allows you to control what actually shows up in the search results.

2. Separate yourself from the crowd

If you have a common name, it will very difficult for people to find you online. Now, that may sound like a good thing in terms of stealth, but it can also work against you. If you’ve decided to have an online presence, whether it’s business or personal, only through your own websites will you gain the power to distinguish yourself from others.

3. Tell your story

Your story needs to be told and you should be the one to tell it. Don’t leave it to chance and lose control of your first impression in Google searches. Share your story one blog at a time and be careful what you share on social media as this, too can end up in the search engine’s results pages, it is part of your of your personal brand image, so be smart. Get your own personal website and share what you want the world to know about you.