your personal brand

Diamonds or Rhinestones?
9 ways to make your website a brilliant showcase for your personal brand

Your website is your storefront. In many cases it provides a prospect’s first impression of your company. You know what they say about first impressions; you can only make one and it better count. The good news is that keeping in mind a few fundamentals and making a few simple tweaks to your website can take it from rhinestone to diamond. You can create a website that attracts visitors, converts clients, and helps you build a prosperous and exciting business.

1. Invitation To Friend/Follow On Social Media

Social media is more than a trend or a tactic that you can use to build an audience. It’s as essential for most industries as a website itself. And merely having a social media “presence” isn’t enough; you have to let people know you’re active on social media by inviting them to interact. People love to be invited! It makes you accessible and attractive to your clients.

There are many ways to accomplish this; one of the simplest is to extend an invitation – “Follow me on Facebook,” for example, like I have on the sidebar on my website. I love seeing the faces of my friends there and I love going to other people’s websites and finding friends’ faces there, too.

2. Professional Quality Logo/Header

The world of Internet marketing is vast and competitive. While you can create your own blog header, you should probably leave it to the professionals unless you happen to be a design whiz. Make an investment in your brand and your business by creating a strong and relevant header and logo to represent your business.

I think I am on the third iteration of my header. The first one I did myself, then a friend did it and finally, I paid to have it done and am so happy with the outcome.

To get ideas, surf around to sites that offer similar services to yours and see what their sites look like. What do you like or not like? Or think about some of your favorite websites that are in your areas of interest outside of your business – what do you love?

Your header should show that you are a diamond by being an expression of your personal brand. I was very specific that I wanted a beach in my header and that I wanted a piece of my original artwork. I think the designers at Arise Design did a fabulous job.

3.    Easy To Navigate

Make sure your visitors can find their way around your website quickly and easily. If you’re uncertain about how to accomplish this, then study websites that you visit often. Notice how they guide you through the site. Do they provide relevant and easy to recognize navigation tabs? Does the flow of the site seem logical? Is there a search function so you can head directly to the page or information you’re looking for?

4.    Interaction / Comments

Does your website invite visitors to comment on your articles and blog posts? One of the best ways to not only measure engagement, but to also create it, is to take a look at the level of interaction on your site. With WordPress you can turn comments on and off and you can allow comments for a specific period of time.

Some business owners choose to not allow comments, but if you don’t then you may be selling your visitors short. Engage them in conversation and invite interaction and comments. You’ll not only learn a lot about your audience, you’ll help build a loyal community of customers.

Responding and interacting with people who comment can not only help you get more clients but again, it’s a great way to show off your diamond brand and the high quality of service and care you provide.

5.    Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking not only adds value to your visitors and prospects, it also helps boost your traffic and brand awareness. By adding a social bookmarking function to your site, your visitors can bookmark using the bookmarking service of their choice. There are several top quality WordPress plugins that make social bookmarking easy. You can add buttons for the primary sites like Digg, Delicious and Reddit. When someone bookmarks your site it’s added to their account, where other users can browse, vote, and share.

6.    Fresh and Catchy Content

The single most important thing you can do to transform from rhinestones to diamonds is to create the best content possible. Fresh content means that your content is recent and it’s topical.

You’re not creating content about something that happened five years ago or even five months ago. You’re creating content about what’s going on right now. And catchy content varies depending on your niche and your audience.

The most important thing to remember when contemplating what makes something catchy is what voice and style you want to communicate to your readers. Are you serious? Funny? Controversial? What makes your content interesting, different, and valuable to your reader?

Your blog is your best opportunity to cultivate and create your personal brand. Yesterday I wrote a post about poetry and business. I adore poetry, in fact, in the article I share that I have a Ph.D. in poetry. But what does that have to do with building your business? In this case, the lesson was about how powerful creativity is for business owners. Plus, the poem I shared touched people’s hearts and I got lots of fabulous comments from people.

I often share posts about creativity, journaling and art. These are all things that I personally love but they are also part of the process I use to engage clients and help them see creative possibilities for themselves.

7.    Search Field

It doesn’t matter what the foundation is for your website – Joomla or WordPress or anything in between – it is important to make it fully usable by anyone who visits. One of the simple tools you can use to make this happen is a simple search field. It was briefly mentioned in Item #3 above, where navigation was discussed. There are different search tools you can use.

For example, Custom Search Plugin is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create custom searches. Maybe you want people to be able to search for quotes or tips on your site. You can use this tool to add functionality to your website and to help separate your business site from your competition.

8.    Inquiry Form

What do you want people to do when they’re at your site and they have a question? You might already have a FAQ page (hopefully you do), but what if the answer to a visitor’s question isn’t on that page? Ideally, you want your visitor to be able to reach out and ask their question. This keeps them engaged and connected to your business.

To make this happen, it has to be easy for them to contact you. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to have a contact form or an inquiry form on your site. They enter their email address, subject line, and ask their question. You or your customer service assistant receives the message and can promptly respond.

A successful personal brand requires you to help people understand how best to work with you!

9.   List Of Awards Earned and/or Recognitions

If you or your business has been recognized for anything relevant to your industry then by all means make sure it’s acknowledged somewhere on your website. Awards and recognitions give you a boost in credibility.

For example, “Best of the Web” winners proudly display their award logo right on the landing page of their sites.

If you haven’t won any awards or received any relevant recognitions, that’s okay. You’re certainly not alone. Consider including a campaign to win an award in your business planning. Get involved in your industry and get acknowledged.

Check back here tomorrow, where I will continue to share tips on using your website to build your personal brand. And if you need some help developing your personal brand, let’s talk. Schedule a free “From Diamond’s to Rhinestones Brand Breakthrough” session with me here. Together we can create a vibrant new vision for your life and your business.