Sometimes I think about what my vanity plate will say when I’m finally rolling around Atlanta in my Aston Martin V12 Zagato. Maybe by then I’ll be so cool I won’t need a vanity plate. I’ll be too cool to be vain.
(Daydreaming) … Yeah.
While I may be too cool for a vanity plate, I am not too cool to dot com my own first name (coincidentally, it’s incorporated – Donald Trump was on to something there). My Twitter account, Facebook and LinkedIn are all just my first name. Granted, no one else has my first name (no matter what kinds of weird Chinese fiction stories turn up in search results when I Google my name). But for folks like you and me who are still on our way to (fill in the blank – my blank would say Zagatoville), claiming yourself online is an important step in your online marketing strategy. Why? Because when people search for you (more than likely they will actually be searching for your product or service), you want to make sure that the bots have linked your name to your goods. A quick way to do that is to make sure that your name and your goods appear together frequently and unmistakably online.
Vanity Plate #1 –Dot com your blog
Your blog is home base. It is the fount from which all other online marketing will flow. Yes, it contains your views but it should also contain your news. Don’t be afraid to dot com your blog as your blog is a key element of your online presence. Whether it’s your website or your blog, get a dot com or dot co. You want your moniker –your legal name, nickname, company name or some other affiliated name – to be easily searchable. If a fictional Jenna has been blogging about her awesome, Merlot-infused, chocolate-covered berries for six months, I expect to be able to find her blog at something like JennasChocolates.com, not JennaKrazinski-candygirl-chocolates.wordpress.com (or some random, unmemorizable bit.ly link). The first web address tells me Jenna’s ready to do business. The second tells me Jenna probably has a sweet tooth and too much free time. A dot com is cleaner and more professional. Make the distinction in your blog.
Vanity Plate #2 – /You
The forward slash with your name after (/Sorilbran) is the cat’s pajamas. It’s the digital equivalent of having definition in your biceps. Get your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ URLs. Again, much cleaner than code and it helps make your content easier to find online. Feeding your blog into both your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts is wise. When new blogs are posted, status updates can be sent to all four of your social media platforms, informing friends and followers that you are actively blogging and there’s new content to be found. Doing so may not drive people to your blog immediately, but I discovered Melinda Emerson’s Small Biz Lady blog after seeing her in my Twitter feed for months. Great blog. Speaking of…
If you follow Melinda on Twitter, you’ll find her as @SmallBizLady. Naturally, when I first decided to go to her site, I typed in www.SmallBizLady.com and was instantly redirected to her actual domain – www.succeedasyourownboss.com. I never would have thought to type that in, and to be honest, when I first went to her site, I didn’t even know her name, so her vanity domain – the one that was intuitive and likely to be the dot com I would search – got me exactly where I needed to go. Attach a few vanity domains to your blog so that related topics that are commonly searched (nothing too close to the names of other known blogs; be ethical) are directed to your site. Now, you walk a fine line here. Don’t direct traffic to your site when folks aren’t looking for what you offer. If someone types LadyGago.com instead of LadyGaga.com, don’t have them redirected to your crocheting blog. But if you had an awesome top three options for your domain name, you may want to consider choosing one primary and making the other two vanity domains.
Vanity Plate #4 – Add some bling bling
I have seen some very cool custom backgrounds for people’s Twitter pages and some great Facebook pages as well. Just like those flashy plate frames with the rhinestones and beveled metallic look, add a little pizzazz to your social media with custom wallpapers. If you don’t personally know of anyone, you can recruit from a worldwide pool of design talent on sites like Elance.com, Guru.com and oDesk.com. Free sites like www.Twitback.com and www.AllFacebook.com can offer quick tools to erect custom backgrounds and landing pages if you aren’t in a position to shell out big bucks. There are also one-stop discount sites like www.SocialIdentities.com that can help if you are in a position to shake a few bits from your purse (or European carryall /manpurse). If appropriate, have a logo designed as your profile picture across the sites.
- Personalize your blog’s address by getting your dot com (or dot co).
- Claim your brand on social media platforms.
- Consider getting a vanity domain that directs people who are looking for your kind of content.
- Add a little brand flair to your Twitter background or add a static landing page to your Facebook account.
What are some other simple ideas that can help us to establish our web presence as bloggers? What are some of your favorite page customization sites?
Thanks to Theodor38 for the image.