Picking a Landing Page: Flavors.me vs. Google Profile
Most college students are at an awkward time in their lives where they aren’t internet-famous enough to need their own website, but are looking for some way to show prospective employers (or distant relatives) what they’ve been up to online. Simply giving someone a link to your Twitter stream or your Facebook page looks like you haven’t put much thought into it, and designing your own website is–for many people–more work than it’s worth.
For college students, there are two reasonably good-looking, professional sites that stand ahead of the rest because of their ease of use and attractive, simple layouts.
Flavors.me: Flavors.me, despite the somewhat completely silly name, gives users to come up with a short URL (http://flavors.me/username) and a crisp, easily-customizable graphical interface. People who like the look of Tumblr will like this site–they sport the same web 2.0 aesthetic. The site’s biggest downside is the fact that it limits you to pre-chosen widgets rather than allowing you to link to your own webpages. This can be a problem for people who want to link to specific projects that they’ve been a part of rather than a broader collection of social networks. (8/3/10: Flavors.me tells us you can link to any RSS feed through their RSS widget. Linking to static pages still has to be done in the “about” field, though.)
However, if you’re looking to present a slick, graphically-unified way for people to find you online, it’s definitely a viable option–especially if you hack the customizable “about” blurb to include links to specific pages that you can’t access through the widgets. Basic service, with limited font and layout options, is free. Premium service, which includes domain registration and more layout options, is $20 a year. For some example pages, check out this Polish PR exec, this French Carl Sagan enthusiast, or this HackCollege writer.
Google Profile: Less graphically slick than Flavors.me, the Google Profile option does have some advantages in terms of content. For one, it is the most easily accessible through Google (not surprisingly); additionally, unlike Flavors.me, Google Profile puts no limits on what you can link to on your own profile page. Users get a slightly longer URL than on Flavors.me (http://www.google.com/profiles/username), but for people looking to avoid the stigma of the slightly hipster-y Flavors.me, it’s a valid alternative. It’s also useful for people looking to link to specific pieces in a portfolio rather than multiple web presences. If you’re looking to link to specific articles that you’ve published, rather than an easily widget-able social website, Google Profile will definitely be more useful for you than Flavors.me. It also has the distinct advantage of being entirely free rather than Flavors.me’s “freemium” model. However, for those concerned about their data being hijacked by Google Buzz, it’s perhaps best to steer clear. For some example pages, check out Felicia Day, Peter Cramton, or Rutgers student Rachel Hansson.
Commenters: Do you find it useful to have a consolidated web presence? Do you think the whole idea is silly? Have a different site that you prefer? Let us know in the comments or, as always, on Twitter.