A network guy of my acquaintance was saying recently that he was expecting to need more work soon. I don’t seem to know any computer workers of any variety who aren’t severely overworked, so it sounded kind of refreshing to me.
“Your problem,” I assured him, “is that you’re invisible on the web.”
I like giving advice.
He explained that he had never made a website because he has always been planning to travel the world. Also to go to grad school. He figures he has another ten months before he strikes out on these adventures, and of course you register domain names for at least a year at a time, so he didn’t want to bother.
Naturally, I didn’t tell him he was wrong. I may like to give advice, but I don’t press unwelcome advice onto unwilling people.
I’ll just tell you that he’s wrong.
Here’s what to do with your website if you plan to travel the world:
- Have a website with a content management system. There’s some controversy about the wisdom of this, and I’ll blog about that some day, but if you plan to roam a lot, you should be able to make your updates yourself. If this is just not a good idea for you, then at the very least you should make sure that your webmaster is good about making changes. That way, you can change your contact information and availability easily.
- Finesse the address. It’s usual to have your address on your website. In general, it makes you seem more trustworthy. However, there are times when you might not want to include a physical address. I encounter this occasionally with my local clients, because I live in Arkansas. There are ignorant stereotypes about Arkansas out there, and some people don’t care to have the state on their sites. Equally, if you’re a citizen of the world, you may not have a physical address, or not one you want to share. It’s okay to leave it off. However, you should include that decision in your design, so it isn’t obvious that you’ve left it out. You don’t want people noticing that you don’t have a physical address, especially if you don’t plan to explain that decision.
- Consider taking advantage of being a Citizen of the World. While the internet allows us to appear to be in one place while we’re really in another — or several others — people like to read about exotic adventures. If you might have some of those, then you could write about them and give yourself flair in the eyes of your customers.
While being a network guy is sort of an in situ job — you can do some stuff remotely, but there are actual physical objects to work with — my friend still needs a web presence. If he goes ahead and sets up his web site now, following the suggestions above, he’s more likely to get that immediate work he wants. He can then be a fairly unavailable networking guy for as long as his roaming lasts, and when he settles back down, he’ll have an older domain and a more established web presence than if he didn’t get his site going before embarking on his adventures.
He may also find that he can care for the networks of people wherever he finds himself. A peripatetic hardware guy might have a certain cachet.