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I Think I Recognize You? Brand YOU. Day 5 – 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

Brand YOU with the photographs on your website! 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog - Business of AwesomeIf you walked in to a coffee shop to meet a new client, would they recognize you? Would they connect the person walking in the door with the one they had seen on your website? If I passed you in the hall at a conference after talking to you online for the past 6 months, would I know who you are? If I followed your blog and then connected with you on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram – would I see you there?

You need to have a photograph of you on your website. It is how your clients and your site visitors will connect with you. More importantly? That photo needs to look like YOU. Today.

Not you 10 years ago. Not you on your wedding day. Photographers, not you with a camera blocking most of your face. Not your kids, your dog, or your favorite flower. YOU. Right now. As you are.

Brand YOU with the same photograph on your blog & all of your social media accounts. Be recognizable! <<Click to Tweet!>>

Having the same avatar photo across all of your social media properties helps people on a subconscious level connect with you. Over and over, they are seeing your face. It is building brand recognition, and connection. Isn’t that what we all want, after all?

Your photo is also another place to represent your brand. Let’s take my photo for example – what can you guess about my branding just from seeing that? I am vivacious and adventurous. I am bold. A little loud. I stand out in the crowd. I’m perfectly ok with the fact that I have gray hair, or as I call it “sexy silver”. These things are also all cores of my photography brand – I want you to be authentic, see your beauty, and be confident about it. I want you to be a little daring and push your limits, exploring what just might happen if you step out of bounds.

If my photo had been edited to be very soft, I was wearing more muted clothing, I had on a more neutral lipstick and I wasn’t looking so directly at the camera – it would completely change the feeling that you have when you see my photograph.

My clothing choice for that photo and the lipstick was very intentional. I like to wear bold bright colors. I wear a lot of black clothing because I like the contrast with my hair, but I pair it with a bold scarf or necklace a lot of times. I am my brand. A walking embodiment of it, and it all starts when you connect with that photograph.

My husband deserves all the props for that photo, by the way. I had him take photos of me; I handed over my camera and directed from in front of the lens. At one point, he told me to wait a minute, he had an idea – and that was the one frame he took that I didn’t direct. He nailed it – he showed exactly what you see.

I get it. It is hard because you like to change your Facebook avatar weekly, but every time you do that? I have to look twice when I see your posts there. I’m missing the visual cue that quickly tells me it is you. If you use a different image on all of your web properties, that is what you’re doing to your clients. Each time, they have to ask themselves “is that the same person”? Help them make the connection more easily.

Your Homework Assignment – Brand YOU

Find a current photo that you love of yourself, or have a new one taken. Yes, get out the camera, hand it over, and have someone else take a new one of you if you need it. You can even take it with the phone. Whatever works for you. Your BIG GOAL is to make sure it is recognizable, and represents your brand well. Think about the colors you are wearing and if they coordinate with your branding. Think about how you want the photograph to feel – are you lighthearted and fun? Vivacious? Elegant & timeless? Cosmopolitan? Whatever fits YOU and what you want your brand to evoke, go for that feeling in the photograph.

Once you have your new picture, go post it EVERYWHERE. Make it your Gravatar, put it on Facebook, use it on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, wherever you are online. Change it on Skype. Any place you can put a photo, change it out. Brand yourself. When you post it, tag it with #BrandYou so we can all come see it!

Bonus Tip: add your photograph somehow on your business card if you can. Later on, it will be quick & easy for people to remember who you are if they see your face there. People tend to remember faces before they remember names!

When you’re all done, come back here and share your blog link – I want to visit so I can see your face!

If you want to read more on the psychology of how we connect with faces, this article on What’s In a Face on Psychology Today is fascinating.

What Happens if I Click Here? Day 4 – 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog

What Happens if I Click Here? Fix the errors on your blog & email list! 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog #30DABThis post? This post is brought to you courtesy of my discovery last night of a completely stupid mistake that I had made. Lesson learned, that is for sure. A few hundred of my closest friends even received an email about my mistake as I tried to apologize for it.

Talk about embarrassing. (The mistake. Not the email I sent out about it.)

You see, a few years ago I took this blog from being focused on general photography business stuff to being focused on boudoir photography related content. However, I found that all the posts I really wanted to write were broader, and apply to all photographers. Heck, they apply to anyone who owns a creative business – but I’m sticking to photography for my examples because it is what I know. Anyways … the point here?

Check what happens when someone clicks a button on your website.

Poke around your blog. Read through the content your readers will see. Click all the buttons! <<Click to Tweet this!>>

Then, test out your contact forms. What happens if someone fills out a contact form? Is there an auto-responder? What does it say? Does it still apply to your business?

Do you have an email list? Swell! Apply for it again. You are probably on it already, and you can’t use the same email address, but here is a hint – a period in the middle of a Gmail address makes the email software think it is unique, but it actually doesn’t impact your Gmail address. Mail still comes to you! So yourname@gmail is the same as is the same as y.o.u.r.n.a.m.e@gmail – they will all land in the same inbox!

Here was my error that I discovered last night — I had not read my own “Welcome to my Email list!” email in … well, I guess at least a year. Maybe more. It was completely outdated. Wrong graphics. Wrong wording. Not what I wanted to be saying to people at all!

I fixed the email that goes out, and then I went back and emailed everyone on my list up to this point and apologized for it. I truly want people to respond to that and tell me about what problems they are facing in their business, both so I can help them out and because it often inspires blog posts that will help all of you. It is a win/win … and I had dropped the ball. Whoops. No wonder no one was responding to it lately!

I’m sure I’ll find more things as I work my way through this task. I’m sort of hoping I’m not alone in this one, so if you can leave a comment and tell me about what you found & corrected, it would make me feel better!

30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog is a journey along with me as I refresh my own websites. I post each day what I’m doing, so you can do it too. If you get on the email list (over in the sidebar), you will get an email daily with the updates. Oh, and a welcome note that has now been corrected!

Goals? We’ve Got SMART Ones! Day 3 – 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog Series

Be sure to check out and enter to win prizes in the Birthday Bash Giveaway! The special sales & contest ends on October 6, 2014.

Goals? We have SMART Ones! Setting Goals for your Blog & Business. #30DAB #BusinessOfAwesomeIt is so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day of running your business and your blog. But what are you working towards? What is the plan? Having goals for your blog isn’t exactly working on your blog, but it is working FOR your blog.

SMART goals for your blog & your business make it easy to decide what to do next! (Tweet this!)

Setting goals that are SMART has been a big thing for me this year. My word of the year is intentional. I’m normally an “I’ve got an idea, I am going to test it out, and if it works – YAY!” sort of person. 10 year plans? Oh goodness, no. 5 year plans? Who knows what I’ll be doing in 5 years! But 1 year plans? Or even better, 6 month plans? I can totally get behind those! Having set them this year has helped me be much more focused. Turns out I needed some SMART goals.

(To those of you that can do 5 and 10 year plans, I bow in respect. Seriously. I wish I could do that!)

Are you setting goals that are SMART?

Specific – target a specific area for improvement. You can’t be vague here! You need to know exactly what you’re working towards. Use the 5 W’s to help you determine this – Who, What, Where, When & Why.
Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress. You need a way to measure or to keep score. Numbers matter here.
Attainable – I am all for big dreams, but when it comes to setting goals? Break it down in to bite-size pieces that you can reach.
Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
Time-related – give yourself a deadline to review and readjust.

So lets say you decide that you will get more business. Awesome … but is that a SMART goal? No – it is way too vague! How will you do it? What does “more business” look like? When will you achieve it by? What is the definition of “more business”? When will you know if you’ve hit it?

What if I said that over the next 6 months I will double the number of visitors to my blog – now I have a specific area to focus on, something to measure, it is attainable (with some work), it is realistic (unless you have 1 million visitors a day already), and we have set a time frame for it.

Before you start, you will want to look at what has worked for you in the past. If you tried something already and it had amazing results, how can you continue that? You need to know where you are starting from in order to decide where you are going. Don’t be afraid to take chances though – if you have an idea that you think might just work? Go for it!

Goals to Consider for Your Blog

  • How many readers will your blog gain in the next 6 months? How much will your traffic increase?
  • How much income will you bring in over the next six months / year?
  • What series of blog posts could you start to bring readers back to your blog?
  • How many blog posts will you write a week?
  • How much will you interact on Social Media?
  • How much will you grow your Social Media following on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest?
  • How many new clients will you bring in per week/month/year (depending on how your business works)
  • Is your site due for a design overhaul? When will you have it done by?
  • Is it time to update your static pages on your website? (About, Pricing, Work with Me, Media Kit, etc.)
  • Does your business need systems in place to make things run more smoothly? What do you need to do to set those up?
  • You’ll go through the 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog series by a certain date?

Once you decide on your SMART goals, you can start to set up tasks to do to get you there, and before you know it you’ll be zooming right along to achieving them!

I use The Big Picture Planner from Design Aglow to track my blog goals & tasks, and I love it! You can read my full review of it here. It is fully customizable, so you can start it at any time of the year!

Share in the comments what goals you’ll be going for so we can cheer you on! Before you go, be sure to sign up for the email list so that you will get the rest of this series via email!

30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog is a series of posts to help you make sure your blog is as amazing as possible. It is FREE! And bonus? Get on the email list (the link is in the sidebar) and I’ll send them to your email inbox as well! Follow along on social media too with the hashtag #30DAB and leave a comment so we can check your site out!

Is Your Site Mobile Friendly? Day 2 – 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog Series

Is Your Site Mobile Friendly? 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog! #30DAB #BusinessOfAwesomeHere is an interesting fact for you — according to Pew Research, in May 2013, “34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.” (Pew Research Internet Project: Mobile Technology Fact Sheet)

34% of people online were primarily using a mobile device to get online in early 2013. Just imagine what that number is up to today!

Looking through my Google Analytics stats for 4 different websites, my numbers support this – about 40% of my site visitors are on mobile devices.

Yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they don’t care what their website looks like on a phone, it is meant to be experienced on a computer. Guess what? You don’t get to decide how people view your site. You need it to be mobile friendly if you want to stay in the game.

Today’s task is to grab your phone and look at your site. Closely. If you were visiting it for the first time, could you find what you want to know? Could you zoom in on the page to read the text? Could you find contact information to hire you? How is the menu to navigate? Can you go from section to section?

Bonus points if you can get your hands on another type of mobile device to check it there. Not that we’re counting points here, but you know what I mean! If you use an iPhone, get access to an Android. Check it on a phone and a tablet or two. Look at it as many ways as possible.

Make sure the experience is a good one for your end users. After all, you blog (and your website if you have one) is your storefront for most of your clients. You want to make sure that if you get them to the front door, they can actually walk inside and look around!

30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog is a series of posts to help you make sure your blog is as amazing as possible. It is free to read, and bonus? Get on the email list (the link is in the sidebar) and I’ll send them to your email inbox as well! Follow along on social media too with the hashtag #30DAB and leave a comment so we can check your site out!

Why Are Your Readers Here? Day 1- 30 Days to Awesomize Your Blog Series

Be sure to check out and enter to win prizes in the Birthday Bash Giveaway! The special sales & contest ends on October 6, 2014.

Why Are Your Readers Here? 30 Days to Awesomize Your BlogOver and over in my head, I’ve been thinking about this series. As creatives, sometimes we struggle with getting our blogs all nice and blinged out for our readers, in a way that represents our brand as well. You’re probably swell at what you do – but blogging about it just may not be your thing. That’s cool. That is where I come in.

I’ve had a blog for over 14 years now. I know! 14 years! Isn’t that CRAZY? So I know a thing or two about what blog readers are looking for when they visit your site. Some of them you may already be doing, but maybe not all – so be sure to subscribe to the email list so that you can get all of these delivered to your inbox in nice bite-sized pieces and you can AWESOMIZE your blog right along with me! Want to follow along on Social Media? The hashtag is #31DAB and I’ll be sharing them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram!

Ok, enough of this rambling … lets dive right in!

Why Are Your Readers Here on Your Blog?

I know you have superpowers. Something that makes you special, something truly unique about you. But when a new visitor arrives at your website, how long does it take them to figure it out? Do they have to hunt high and low, or is it super obvious? Do they have any idea who you ARE?

(As I’ve talked about before, sharing those things is the secret of a successful photography business.)

Pull up your blog right now and look – how long would it take me to find out about you? Today, we want to make sure that at least one, if not all, of these items are available:

  • Your Tagline – Can you tell me in just one sentence what you’re about? An Elevator Pitch? Something that passes the head-bob test, where I nod my head up and down? “Yes, yes! I get it! I want to know MORE!” If not, add your tagline to your blog. Somewhere really visible too!
  • Your Name – If your business isn’t your name, put your name somewhere easy to locate. I want to connect with you, but to do that? I need to know your name!
  • A Bio Blurb – Add your photo and a little bit about you to your sidebar on your blog. (Right there with your name.) Let me get to know you and see you. We’re meeting for the first time, I want to put a name with your face. Again, this reassures me that I’m in the right place when I’m reading your website. If I’m in the wrong place? It might just be enough to make me want to stick around for awhile.

Your blog may not have a sidebar, and that is ok. If it doesn’t, make sure the about page link is super easy to find. We’ll get on to updating that page soon, don’t worry!

Have Day 1 complete? Post your link in the comments below so we can all come and check it out! Before you go, be sure to sign up for the email list so that you will get the rest of this series via email!

Just so you don’t feel alone, I’ll be following along and doing these things on my photography blog and my Travel blog as well! Knowing that I needed to clean up my own act was the inspiration for this series, in fact!

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