Despite what momma told you, when it comes to blogging,
it really is all about you
I got a comment from a visitor a while back that really turned my head. She was complimenting me on making my blog anonymous, rather than focusing on myself.
The site has been up for over five years now, over a million visitors, and I’d managed to completely erase all traces of myself from its pages.
In hindsight, that was dumb.
Now there’s nothing wrong with using a custom name for your blog. Todd’s blog doesn’t carry the same gothic appeal as A Gothic Curiosity Cabinet after all. But you don’t need to make it devoid of all individuality.
My peers with far less traffic are off doing conferences, talks, workshops, while I remained anonymous. I mean I may not be George Clooney, but I’m not too repulsive.
The site was actually started to be a showcase for my photography, but over time it took on a life of its own, far more popular than my photography. It’s my laboratory for website design, SEO experiments and eventually it became an extension of my personality and interests. In short, I became a blogger by accident.
A note on naming your blog … having a name for it other than your own is a good idea. The actual URL is gothichorrorstories.com, chosen because it gave a bit of lift to the site when people search for gothic horror stories, which are featured on the site. It’s still a good idea, particularly if you are growing your blog with the intent to sell it someday. A domain which has been in use for a number of years and has steady traffic is worth a lot more than the $9.99 places like GoDaddy charges.
But the time had come to stick my name and face on it.
Getting my name on there was relatively painless. Sticking my face on it required girding my loins, as typically I like to stay hidden. It’s my guess that a lot of bloggers are introverted by nature. Yeah, you gotta get over that. You have to accept the fact that when you go to your website you’re gonna see your face.
A word on choosing a photo. If you are publishing a truly conservative blog – not in politics though it might apply there as well, then yes, a professional headshot isn’t a bad idea. But if you’re like me, a professional photo won’t make me look a bit more professional. Like Popeye, I am what I am.
Casual photos shot on a cellphone are fine, providing it has some life to it. No posing please. Posed photos from even an iPhone don’t look professional. There’s a certain flair missing. Be yourself. Have someone else take it, have someone else pick it out.
A blog is writing that goes out to an expanse of people. The truth is, people don’t read your blog post the day it comes out, except for your biggest fans. People will read it in a year, five years. Unless you have a large readership, a blog isn’t the place for dated material. That’s why the cyber gods invented social media.
Even better are emails. Sure, you can have an RSS feed but those are geeky and technical and unless it’s a geeky tech blog, most people don’t even know what an RSS is.
Mass emails are great though. You get a fairly high percentage of people opening them and reading, you can get a fair amount of news in each one, and best of all, you’re talking one on one to a person. In a fashion that is.
People who sign up for your list actually want to hear more from you. From you, not an anonymous website. If you’re looking for customers, these are the people you want to stay in contact with. And unlike Facebook, you’re guaranteed a chance that the person you want to reach is going to at least have a chance to open it.
The weapon of choice to glean email addresses from your readers are popup windows. They’re irritating, they even irritate me. But I have one on the site now, because they work. Someday I’ll test whether having a non popup will work as well. The figures are out there I’m sure, but with a blog, it’s all personal. Before you put complete faith in any statistic, make sure it applies for your site.
Finally I updated headers of each section. As the amount of content grows, it’s important to break it into sections which your audience can easily find. Graphic headers are great for that. My guess is people react to them on a subconscious level, recognizing in them the elements of a book. You’re now going into a different chapter or unit, so the result is to make things more linear …
So the result so far is a spike in the number of email signups, which has led to some sales. And I did a radio interview over Christmas on Christmas ghost stories. Not exactly a well known figure perhaps, but losing the cloak of anonymity one layer at a time.
Call Todd at 631-935-4726 or click here