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

  1. So very helpful! I used to blog ages ago but life and health kept me from it. Back at it and hoping to share the love of faith, mental health, physical health and self. Peace and Blessings to you! ~~Amber

  2. This is such a helpful post. I’ve been thinking about my blogging more, and how I don’t have ‘a thing’, which is something I need to find, but with my A.D.D. it is really hard to find a theme – or I just haven’t landed yet.
    Since my mother died last year, I have been working through my grief, and I know that I am not alone, especially with so many grieving from covid deaths, and just how many of us have such big losses at some point in our lives. I don’t want my blog to be depressing though, which I’ve been guilty of, because I do have hope, and I do believe we can live beside our grief – wherever it comes from. Thank you for the tips, and for liking my post so I could find yours. Cheers!

    1. Hermione,

      Nice to meet you πŸ™‚

      I’m so very sorry to learn of your mother’s death. In Jewish tradition, when somebody dies, we say “Baruch Dayan Ha-Emet”, which means: “God is the True Judge.” Personally, I struggle with faith very much, but regardless of what I believe, it’s comforting to have a traditional response to give to others in mourning…

      As for blogging, I don’t think I have a “thing” either… I mean – most of what I write is poetry, but I also blog about my father’s death (which led to the creation of this blog), about raising my daughter, about living in Israel, about Judaism, about some day-to-day reflections… I’m kinda all over the place too!

      FWIW, you seem to be doing quite well with your blog, regardless of whether you have a single theme or not πŸ˜€

      ❀
      David

    2. Hi Hermione,
      I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. That is so hard.
      Yes, many have lost people with Covid, but actually this may make you feel like your loss isn’t as big of a deal, since others had losses too.
      It’s really been such a tragic time with the pandemic, beyond what we have imagined.
      But the journey after losing a parent is a unique for everyone. It is so so difficult. And it is, over time, transformative.
      So I send you lots of love. I do believe if you write from your heart it will be very healing for you as well as for others who will read what you have to say and appreciate your authenticity.
      Not necessarily everyone will resonate with everything you say, but that’s impossible!
      The point is you are using writing as a creative outlet for processing your loss. And if you continue to stay true to yourself, even if your topics are scattered at times, as long as you are authentic, you will be on the right path.
      That has been my experience at least.
      I actually wrote about honing skills in my blog post that was published today. And yesterday, I wrote about the huge impact my father had on my lifeβ€”he passed away a while ago, but I did start writing because he passed away, and I am just as passionate about writing about him and about my life journey now as I was when I began 15 years ago.
      Grieving is not linear. One can go back and forth in the stages of grief.
      It is not a matter of being weak or being strong.
      There is no shame for any emotion.
      When one loses a parent (or any loved one for that matter), it is my belief that their heart opens in a unique way. And that creativity and authenticity helps one process one’s grief as well as sometimes grief is transmuted into beautiful art (writing, painting, dance, or any other type, even creativity in one’s job that’s not officially a “creative” job.”). I have found much relief and joy in writing. And I’m learning that the Journey is the Destination.

      1. Hi Gila,
        I really appreciate your thoughts, and the time you took to post.
        I’m sorry for your loss of your father, and any other losses.
        I know this is life – it is what we all go through at several points in our lives naturally, and so many ‘out of order’ deaths too – accidents, sudden illness, etc.
        I had no idea what it would mean to lose such an important figure in my life – it hurts just writing this.
        I also appreciate your thoughts on trying to hone in on my topic – and not be scattered with different topics. I have a dear writer friend who suggested the same. My A.D.D. brain is a hard thing to harness into a path, but I know it’s not impossible.
        I wish you the best on your writing journey and in your life.
        Take care,
        Jerri

  3. Thank you for this post while I do agree with you about a face behind the posts it’s something I have not had the courage to do as yet. Guess what stops me is when I write my posts I put my whole heart and soul into them and putting my face out there for everyone to see is kind of like exposing myself. But who knows maybe exposing myself will be a challenge I need to set for myself hmmm thank you for this post made me think deep πŸŒΌπŸ’›

    1. MLB, I fully understand that it’s not for everyone… I’m just saying that it’s one thing you can do to give yourself an edge, in terms of gaining readers πŸ™‚

      Yours,
      David

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