Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Tip: Getting More Traffic to Your Blog, Part Four

Today's tip may not seem like it relates directly to getting more reader traffic to your blog, but I believe it is a way for your readers to connect to you and recognize you and your blog among the many other bloggers and genea-blogs out there.

Create a Profile

Now when I talk about your profile, I actually mean two things. The first is an image by which you would like to be recognized as a blogger, an icon that you can use as your profile picture on your blog and also on other social networking sites (we'll talk more about those in future posts). Most of us are visual learners and identify our favorite bloggers by their profile pictures. I have a hard time distinguishing between some of the 300+ Genea-Bloggers when they only have the default genderless profile icon instead of something I can associate them with. For this reason, you'll want to upload an image that your readers can identify as you wherever they may come across you on the Internet.

Now, if you're concerned about privacy or have other reasons to not upload a current photograph of yourself to use, there are many options:

1. The Chris Dunham Option - Chris is the (demented!) mind behind the Genealogue, but most of us don't have any idea of what he looks like. The Chris Dunham Option is to put an outstretched hand in front of one's face while getting photographed. :-)

2. The Apple Option - While Apple uses a photograph of herself as a profile picture, the name "Apple" is a nom de plume--a pen name--which she substitutes for her real one.

3. The Jasia Option - Jasia uses a combination of the Chris Dunham and the Apple. She conceals part of her face with sunglasses and her camera and uses a pen name. Check out Jasia's comment on my post here to see her profile picture.

4. The footnoteMaven Option - fM does a twist on the Jasia by using a pen name but substituting a photograph of a favorite subject from her extensive vintage photo collection.

5. The Diane Rogers Option - Diane uses a photograph of herself as a young girl (one's baby picture is another verse of this same song).

6. The Lisa ~ Smallest Leaf Option - Lisa combines the use of a photo of inanimate objects (leaves and berries) with the use of her first name only. Other ideas include using a photograph of a pet.

7. The Bill West Option - Bill uses an ancestral photo for his profile pic--and really, when it comes to a genea-blogger's profile, what better idea is that?

8. The Jessica Oswalt Option - Jessica created a cartoonized image of herself, also known as an avatar, at Yahoo! for her profile picture.

Besides using a profile picture, you may want to have a place somewhere on your blog that tells a little something about yourself, your writing, and/or your genealogical research. Don't you get curious to know more behind the face and the words of your favorite bloggers? I like to see what other hobbies they enjoy or other blogs they write. I like having an option to email them with questions or comments.

Blogger sets up an About Me link that leads to a page which includes your profile picture, contact information, personal information (your choice as to the extent that you wish to share) and other blogs you may have. Word Press usually uses a linked tab to an About Me page in a similar manner. Not everyone is comfortable having a public profile, of course, but remember YOU control what information is displayed about yourself. You can also set up an email account for your contact information which is separate from your personal email address.

So, how does creating a profile picture and About Me page increase traffic to your blog? It maintains the readership you have by creating a warm, social environment that your readers will want to return to and continue reading. You won't be losing readers by offering a bland, generic profile that doesn't help to distinguish you from others.

Next time, we'll learn how that profile pic can be used for social networking purposes!

Other posts in this series:
Part One: Get Listed
Part Two: Participate
Part Three: Comment and Allow Comments
Part Five: Join Social Networking Sites
Part Six: The Redux
Part Seven: Check It
Part Eight: Learn

Part Nine: Bookmarks, Feeds, and Subscriptions
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