Most of us work hard on our websites and blogs. Many of us consider ourselves professional bloggers. But there are some subtle ways you can undermine your professional online image without even realizing it. Here’s a list of some of the ways people judge your level of internet savvy.
1. You don’t have your own domain name. If your blog URL ends in .blogspot.com, you are losing out on opportunities. Why? Because brands and advertisers are looking at how your website ranks, and if you don’t own your own domain name, they can’t tell. Yes, you have an individual site, but without an individual domain your page rank and domain authority are going to be skewed in such a way that they might just skip over you and go to the next name on the list, regardless of how many readers and followers you have. Note: you do NOT have to leave blogspot to have a domain name; there’s a handy trick called a re-direct so that your blog can stay exactly the same yet have it’s own domain too. Here’s how to do it on Blogspot.
2. Your email address is still aol.com or yahoo.com. Yep, I’m sorry. It’s a small thing, but using those old email providers counts against you. Even gmail.com is less hip than it was five years ago. You need a email@example.com email address (mine, for instance, is firstname.lastname@example.org). This awesome cartoon at The Oatmeal highlights exactly why your email address is important. Trust me, if you’re claiming you are a social media consultant with an aol.com email address everyone is laughing at you. I’m sorry.
3. Your Website Design is childish. This is a difficult line that we mom bloggers straddle; many of us have childlike themes on our websites because the focus of our sites is parenting, but… sometimes the websites are celebrating family and children as much as they look like children designed them. If you can’t afford a designer — and lord knows most of us can’t – take the time to train yourself about what DOES make a great website and learn how to do it. Google is your friend. You can learn anything about blog design with some quick searches. If all else fails, think clean lines, white space, and NO LIGHT TEXT ON DARK BACKGROUNDS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
4. Your photo is dark, blurry, or was taken when you were in high school. Look. We were all thinner and had more hair when we were younger. But if you have teenage kids and your photo is of a younger you, this reads badly. Even if you don’t have a camera, most of us have cell phones with pretty decent cameras (my current avatar picture is an iPhone photo) or have web cams we can use. Just find a good background, snap some shots, and clean them up in a free photo editing site like Picnik. Also, just a tip – you should be looking AT the camera when the photo is taken. Think book back cover photo of your face. AND DON’T DO DUCK FACE. Please.
5. No easy way to contact you. If someone wants to work with you, can they find your email address? No? That’s a problem. Also, I’m not talking about comment forms. This might be an unpopular opinion, but people HATE comment forms. Seriously. They HATE them. It feels completely impersonal and unfriendly, like you distrust folks right from the get go. If you’re that worried about email spam, improve your spam filters, don’t penalize the folks that want to contact you. But with just a tiny bit of HTML code you can make a clickable email link. Here it is:
<a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>Email me!</a>
Where it says “firstname.lastname@example.org” you put YOUR email address. Obviously. And done!
Think of something I missed? Leave it in the comments!
For more about what NOT to have on your site, go here.
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