Posted: 10:15 pm by tom in Blog
Throughout my years online I can’t help but notice certain trends happening on the internet. One of these is the shift from ‘we’ to ‘I’. This shift has not just occurred within the blogging community (although the number of individuals actively publishing is clearly rising all the time). It is more a general change in how people perceive each other on the internet, resulting in changes to how webmasters market themselves.
I remember several years ago in my early teens I ran a medium-sized website that no longer exists today. I clearly recall starting all of my blog posts with ‘We’ve been very busy’, ‘We are working on…’ or ‘We at mysite.com…’. For some unknown reason I believed that I would appear infinitely more professional by representing myself as some kind of large corporation or team. Looking back this approach was not only deceitful, but completely obvious. Of course I was just a kid with a website, and one of my readers could have probably pointed that out…
The funny thing is that I knew I wasn’t alone. I could spot which websites were being run by individuals claiming to be more than that. Despite this, it took me years to get out of the habit of casually slipping in a ‘we’ instead of an ‘I’. Thankfully I’ve learnt from my mistakes, and particularly since entering into blogging full-time have seen the rewards of just being yourself.
I have outlined a brief list of reasons below for ‘I’ rather than ‘we’:
Trust. Visitors like to know who’s site they are reading. A distant, vague, corporate about page just isn’t good practice for publishers. It won’t make you appear professional, it will seem like you have something to hide, or lack the confidence to present yourself. Be sure to have a clear picture of you on your about page, scrap any generic images that you currently use to ‘represent’ yourself - they won’t be representing anything more than a lack of originality.
Money. If you are trustworthy you will get more leads. If people are considering using your services they will feel more comfortable knowing as much about you as possible. Would you buy anything from a shop-owner who insisted on concealing their identity? From my experience I’ve monitored my visitors spending a lot of time reading over my about page before contacting me. If I didn’t present myself honestly they probably wouldn’t bother proceeding to the hire form.
Creating a brand. Running a website is all about branding yourself. You should strive constantly to set yourself apart from everyone else. Creating a personal brand isn’t simply about slapping your favorite photo on your website. You should develop a unique voice in your writing and reply to all your comments in a friendly, conversational manner. In order to come across as a real person try including snippets in your writing about your hobbies or interests. You can still appear professional whilst doing so. Notice how many websites these day’s request ‘buy me a cup of coffee’ instead of ‘donate’ under their posts. This is to portray themselves as friendly and personable. It’s more appealing to buy a friend a cup of coffee than to give cash to somebody you have never met in person.
Your will seem more caring. Individuals are far more likely to care about their visitors than the evil stereotype that is ‘the corporation’. People will be more likely to contact you or comment on your content if they expect to get a response. If you portray yourself as an actively participating individual they will know that you will have time for them.
Meeting several bloggers over the past few days I feel far more connected with the ones who:
Have a picture of themselves on their website (a video is even better)
Use their full name
Reply promptly to emails and comments
‘Care’ about me. This doesn’t have to be real care, but if they are taking the time to help my website (even if for their own longterm gain) I’m going to appreciate it.
If you are not doing all of the 4 points above rectify this today! We have reached a point where the internet is more personal than ever. People want to connect with each other just as they do offline. Remember, be honest, be yourself.