More and more people come to us at Lawrimore Inc. wanting to establish an identity separate from their company website, or to stick their toe in the entrepreneurial waters without taking a lot of risk. This is important especially for people who work for big companies or want to offer consulting services.
When people first meet you or hear your name and want to learn more, they are very likely to Google you or use some other search engine. From that point forward, you control the impression they get. It’s like having a big online business card. Everyone needs one because in the 21st Century you are a brand, and the value you offer to the marketplace as either a business owner, employee or solo practitioner needs to be made clear in your own branded website.
The ideal scenario is to have a branded blog-website with the domain name JohnSmith.com or whatever your name is. If your name is already taken, add a third word like “consulting” or “writes” or whatever your expertise is.
WordPress is a free blog-website program that we are using for this blog and for a growing number of clients’ blog-website-hubs. It is one of the most widely used blog-website tools in the world. We recommend Hostgator.com as a very customer-friendly hosting site. Or you might want to hire Lawrimore Inc. to set this up for you, as we have done for clients all over the U.S.
If you don’t want to use your own name for some reason, consider a domain name that is based on your expertise. For our client Mike Hall, who is one of the country’s type franchise consultants, we created FranchiseAcumen.com. Mike has a bio page on the FranNet website – the franchise consulting network he belongs to – but he wanted to establish a stronger identify for himself and his work in the Carolinas.
One advantage of using WordPress for your branded hub is it is very easy to update, and you can use an endless variety of “plugins” to add functionality. For example we love the plugin called Jetpack which has many features including the ability to relay any blog post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and other social media – automatically condensing the blog post and transmitting it to the social media with a link back to the full content. And yes you do want your content broadcast out upon the social media to make more contacts and drive more traffic to your online hub. Whether you also spend time reading other people’s posts on social media is not essential to use this great tool.
Your blog-website should have an “About” page where you provide your biography in some detail, including links to any publications you’ve written, organizations you belong to, or other marks of credibility. Have a photo of yourself there that is reasonably up to date. Be a real person – people like to see your picture before or after they meet you.
Your site should also have an online contact form to make it easy for people to contact you. We recommend a WordPress plugin called Contact Form 7 for this purpose. Or you can use the contact form that is part of Jetpack – very easy to set up and use on any page of your site. Again all these goodies are free.
So go ahead – take the plunge. Create your own branded blog-website or hire a professional to get it started for you. You will enjoy being found on Google in a way where you control that first impression. It will help your business and personal value in the competitive marketplace for the rest of your life.