Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is your blog missing these 2 critical personal branding features?

branding iron 3Image by robalicious via FlickrBlogging has become ubiquitous. Sites like & make it easy for anyone to start blogging. And there's no shortage of pros telling you how to do it better.

But before you embark on a journey of self-education, you'll want to fix two things that many bloggers get horribly, terribly wrong. Two simple things. Two simple things that you've overlooked for a long time. You can thank me later.

Pull your blog up in a fresh browser window or tab. DO NOT follow any links. Just sit there... and look at it. Hopefully with fresh eyes.

Forget who you are. Forget what you are trying to achieve. Forget the template you have (or have not) customized to your liking.

Just look for these two things:

  1. What is the name of the person writing this blog? Your first name isn't sufficient, unless you happen to be named Madonna. I want your name. Your full name that you are branding. Don't make me guess. Don't try and be cute and/or aloof. Your name, please.

  2. Is there an obvious contact method? And no, listing out the 19 different social media sites you frequent doesn't count. I'm talking about normal ways people thing to contact other people. Email. Phone. These items need not be front and center, but an obvious path to these items must be visible.

Do you have these two things, these two very simple and painfully obvious things, "above the fold" (visible without scrolling) on your blog? If not, then you're not ready for the "advanced" lessons you'll find in all the other tips. Get those two critical elements on your blog. Now. It is the single most important personal branding thing you can do for your blog today.

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  1. This post needs to be re-written each week because people forget these basic principles. Basically, you need to use your full name consistently across your social networks, blog, etc. You need to combine that name with your picture and a positioning statement.

  2. Excellent post! I have felt this same way for some time but not able or talented enough to express it in words as you have. For me, it's so frustrating to visit a blog or website then be unable to find a way to contact the person who's responsible for writing it.

    We are social creatures by nature. We want to know and be known. To deny who you are and how to contact you short circuits the whole process. This is why personal branding is so important.

    David Tinney

  3. [...] gears from emo to grouchy now…This post really set me off, so much so that I don’t particularly want to link to it…but I will, [...]

  4. 2 votes for, 1 against. And the one against probably needs to re-read the post. Thanks, David & Dan!

  5. Uhhhhhh.... you know...I really had to look to see who was writing this post. Other than the "Tell Evo Where To Go" link, it's not readily apparent who you are or what your name is. I wasn't sure what an Evo was to even click on the link. Just thought I'd mention it.

  6. Interesting feedback, Krishanna. I'm guessing the text "The life, dystopian times and odd explorations of Evo Terra" doesn't stand out enough at the top of each page. And the CONTACT button was also missed.

    Sounds like I have some work to do myself. :)

    [time passes...]

    Much better!


  7. I'm a novice, a perpetual novice because I always like to learn new things. Things that are new to me are usually new to the people I look to for guidance and advice. I think these are great tips for some bloggers, but not necessarly for all.

    Privacy is important to many people for many different reasons. Everyone has their own reasons and it's likely that no two people share ALL the same reasons for wanting to protect their privacy. There are some reasons that hardly anyone might ever guess.

    It doesn't matter. It's no one's business why one person or another wants to protect it. It should suffice that a blogger has that desire, for whatever reason, and should be respected for it. Anyone who doesn't believe that privacy is important to some people has probably never been personally or physically violated. That is fortunate for that person, but it's not the typical human experience throughout most of the world.

    Listing your telephone number? Please be careful taking this advice unless you're running a business outside your home, you have no young children, or you keep no valuables at your home (such as your computer).

    Listing an email address where you can be contacted in connection with your blog? Keep it "above the fold?" Great advice! Thank you for pointing that out. That's a good tip that I'll be sure to incorporate with my next update.

    Keep up the good work, Fun Anymore!

  8. Thanks for commenting. We're all novices, Pix. As I said on Twitter recently, "Anyone claiming proficiency in any aspect of social media is making it up as they go along. Present company included."

    You'll note at the top of the article I was speaking to the crowd interested in being a "better blogger". Ostensibly, those seeking said goal would want to be more public. However, there are as many or more exceptions than rules, so your mileage may vary.

    And though I agree in principal with your statements about privacy, I'll stand by the quote 'Your privacy is an illusion". But that doesn't mean be silly about it. Phone numbers need not be traceable to the home. My isn't.

  9. It is a good thing that you mentioned this post is for those who want to be "better bloggers". Perhaps I would have phrased that a different way. The people you are addressing are those who are trying to be "professional bloggers". They want to create a brand and possibly earn some money. Your tips aren't necessarily for bloggers like me who just want to have a bit of fun. My blog is a place to vent, show my knitting, and occasionally talk about books or TV. Of course, I didn't let your post get under my skin like some of your other commenters because I know which type of blogger I am. I enjoyed the post even though I knew you weren't talking to me.

  10. Whew! Name/brand/who am I? Check. Email? Check. Both above the fold? Check. I enjoy reading your posts! Thanks for the follow request on twitter!

  11. Excellent post. These are crucial to remember in any project and these are the things i forget so often myself. Although you want to stress your name im not sure it should be your title or url, instead that should be used to convey a personality trait or service such as with your 'fun anymore' :D, I think krishanna is right, i didn't even see "The life, dystopian times and odd explorations of Evo Terra" I think you need to find a way to make that stand out with either more emphasized text or an image as your blog is already very text heavy. just a though, also you right about the contact method, there needs to be a standard address, email, phone in the header or footer of everysite, thats the first thing im looking for and i dont have time to dig around in contact/directions/find us/etc. great points, looking forward to more posts
    connor mcsheffrey


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