Tips for bloggers #5: Leverage your identity

Some of my best friends are anonymous

But that doesn’t increase their subscriber counts

Not so long ago, from an entirely personal perspective, I was reflecting upon the modern-day strangeness of having some dear blogger-friends who remain entirely anonymous to me. The question of whether or not to reveal (or, for that matter, to what extent to reveal) one’s identity on the Internet has no single correct response. All bloggers have their own unique considerations.

That said, this post is aimed at those of us (including myself) who would like to take steps to increase our subscriber counts, and I’ve come to believe that revealing one’s identity on their blog is clearly an asset towards this goal.

This conclusion reflects my personal experiences and observations on WordPress, as well as what I’ve read on other websites that offer advice to burgeoning bloggers. Really, though, I think it’s fairly intuitive, isn’t it? After all, blogging is about building relationships with other human beings; and, even beyond that, consider the modern age of social media that we now find ourselves in!

Answer this question for yourself: What kind of blog is more likely to draw your attention and interest – an entirely anonymous blog, or one that is clearly associated with a name and a face?

Keep in mind – revealing your identity on your blog has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of your content! I’m merely talking about how to increase your blog’s attractiveness and appeal to potential readers.


Putting your identity “front and center”

Or: how to feature a photograph and short text on your blog

Actually, “front and center” is not quite accurate.

What I am recommending is that we add photographs of ourselves, accompanied by short texts, to the sidebars of our blogs. After doing some research, I’ve become convinced that this is an important step towards increasing our blogs’ readerships. That’s why I did this just yesterday here on the Skeptic’s Kaddish:

As of just yesterday, you will find my gorgeous mug on every single page of my blog, followed by my attempt at a friendly, welcoming snippet of text, aimed at making people think that I’m sweet and relatable. (but don’t be fooled – I’m really just a big meanie.)


Adding widgets to your sidebar

The ‘image widget’ and the ‘text widget’

I’m now going to show you how to put your photo and accompanying text up at the top of your blog’s sidebar. For your photo, you will need to use something called the ‘image widget’, and for your text, you’ll need to use the ‘text widget’. (Widgets are little applications, which enable you to perform particular functions on WordPress.)

Step 1: Go to ‘Customize Widgets’

On the backend of your blog, you’ll see the word ‘appearance’ on your left hand menu. If you hover your cursor over ‘appearance’, another menu will pop up, and you’ll be able to select ‘widgets’. Take a look at the image below if it’s helpful to you:

1. Appearance; 2. Widgets
(click on image for full size)

Step 2: Click on ‘Sidebar’

On the menu now available on the left side of your screen, click on ‘sidebar’.

Depending upon which WordPress theme you’re using on your blog, you may have several footers available to you below the word ‘sidebar’. These are also very useful – but it’s best to put our photos and mini-texts up at the top… so we’ll be sticking with our sidebars for the purposes of this particular exercise..

Step 3: + Add a Widget

After you’ve clicked on ‘sidebar’, you’ll see a new menu in place of the previous one.

There are probably several widgets listed there already, but our plan is to add two new ones by clicking on that button at the bottom which reads ‘+ Add a Widget’.

By the way, if you haven’t yet, it’s worth your time to explore the various widgets available – there are lots of useful ones, which are quite basic, such as the ‘Search’ and ‘Follow Blog’ widgets. (You may decide that some of these are better suited for one of your blog’s footers.)

Step 4: Search for the ‘Image Widget’

You will now see a menu directly to the right of the previous menu.

In the search bar at the top, enter the word ‘image’ and then click on the ‘Image Widget’. Once you do this, the ‘Image Widget’ will appear at the bottom of all the widgets that are currently included in your sidebar.

You may change the order of the widgets in your sidebar by simply dragging and dropping them. I recommend dragging your new ‘Image Widget’ all the way to the top of your sidebar.

Step 5: Add image and title it

At this point, things are fairly straightforward.

Click on ‘Add Image’ to upload a photo of yourself and then give it a title (your name, perhaps?) if you’d like.

Once you’ve added a photograph of yourself to your sidebar, you may also want to add some text below it. To do so, simply add the ‘Text Widget’, just as you did the ‘Image Widget’ before. WordPress is designed for regular people – so you don’t have to be a software engineer to grok this stuff… and if you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to help you out!


Learning as we go

I’ve been figuring all of this stuff out as I’ve gone along, blogging and looking for professional guidance online. Hopefully, you’ll find this blogging tip helpful to you… it was to me!

87 thoughts on “Tips for bloggers #5: Leverage your identity”

    1. Karen, I’m very glad that you find these helpful – I wish somebody had given me such advice when I began blogging one year ago πŸ™‚

      Yours,
      David

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