Trends: Organize Your Online Identities
I love writing this blog trends column (#20blogtrends) because it forces me to actively seek out what's hot in our community to examine what's working for bloggers (and what's not). I've also honed in on how some creatives are crazy good at marketing themselves and others, not so much, which is why I'm spotlighting today's topic: how bloggers and creatives in general organize their online identities under one umbrella to make it easy for others to find them.
Problem: You are a blogger but not just any blogger -- you have a photography portfolio, you offer workshops, you have a shop, you do consults and you write books - how do you let everyone know all of that the moment they visit your site?
Solution: Create a website with links to all of your sites or revamp your blog to include everything that you do linked in the main navigation of your main page. Having a cover page for instance, can be a terrific idea too.
It's vital to link everything up and get organized in your navigation so you don't lose potential readers or customers (or current ones).In my experience, if it takes a reader more than 5 seconds to find your main navigation and your social icons, they can get frustrated and end up moving on. It can often be hard to organize all of these identities under one umbrella online, for instance on your blog, because you don't know how, you fear having to do it, it seems really hard, or you simply don't want your readers to think you are pimping yourself out. Fair enough. But this doesn't mean you still don't need to do it because you do. And trust me, your fans WANT to know what else you are doing. When I think of some of my favorite bloggers, I definitely want to know if they have other businesses because I will mostly likely want to see and get involved since I already like the blogger.
If you have a blog...
- Are all of your social media icons linked in one place and in a very visible place (like top right)? Or are they scattered all over? Or worse, not even there or only a few are visible?
- If you also have other things that you do... Maybe a shop, an e-mag, you write books, you teach, are those things all over your blog in the form of ads, text links, here there and everywhere? Or are they all organized and linked in the main navigation so that they're easy to find. Note: Even if the content your linking to doesn't exist on your blog site, but on another site altogether (like your shop on Etsy or Great.ly), you should still be linking it so people know that is your shop.
- Are you doing work elsewhere worth highlighting (like contributing to magazines or teaching) that isn't linked on the main page of your blog, but instead, you just talk about it from time to time in a blog post? Or are you only linking to it via a text link or box ad in your sidebar?
If any of the above sounds like you, then spend time over the next month to pull your identities together in one place. I'm currently redesigning decor8 so I'm speaking from experience since I'm in the middle of a relaunch myself.
If you already have a blog, you may need to tweak your template. If your template isn't that easy to tweak, you may need to hire someone to help you with better organizing things. If you don't have time for template rebuilds or tweaks because your template is too much of a mess, or you simply don't like your current blog platform, then one quick, easy and affordable solution is to sign up with a site like Squarespace.
With Squarespace, you can build a website (or blog or shop or whatever) in a day and then link to your other sites from there. You can use their Cover Pages to make a website in minutes. (Psst: If you need help with a logo, they even have a super cool logo maker.) Think of a cover page as a business card. You are at an event, you tell someone that you can be found at mywebsite.com and they check it out and instantly find your books, classes, social media links, etc. How great is that!? Or you may be like me, handing out your Instagram account name at parties. I tell everyone I'm @decor8 on IG.
But how can they find out what else I do from there after the party ends?
On Instagram, in my profile, I link to my blog. In your case, you may want to link to your website, a cover page, or a blog. It's up to you. But where you link should be like a tree with branches to everywhere else you reside online. Then people can find ALL of your identities quick and easy.
I want to show you a few of my favorite websites that are using Squarespace (one is already shown above) so you can see just how beautiful you can make your site if you choose to go this route.
I hope this post has encouraged you to really think about your online identities and how easy it is (or not) for people to find you. As a special incentive to try out Squarespace, they're offering decor8 readers a special 10% off - just enter code DECOR8 when you shop on their site.
[This edition of #20blogtrends is in partnership with Squarespace. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that allow me to do work that I love that is informative, inspirational and authentic.]