4 Basic Steps to Better Blogging, Better Branding and More Business

Share Button

Want to drive more traffic to your blog/website? Want to reinforce your brand every time you leave a comment or ask a question? Want to link to other websites without driving your traffic elsewhere? Here are 4 simple steps that you can take. They won’t take much time and they’re all free. Most of these tips are covered in greater depth elsewhere on this blog but they’re all worth mentioning again.

Tip #1 Let us get to know you!

Just like in real life, showing up where your customers (and other like-minded business people) are is important. Whether it’s a social networking event like a business expo, a BNI meeting or a Chamber of Commerce business-after-hours, networking is a valuable opportunity to build awareness of your business and form meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships. It’s the same online. The difference is, it’s harder to communicate from behind a computer monitor which makes it even more important to create an online presence and be seen out there.

Tip #2 Brand Yourself With a Username.

Start by creating a globally recognized avatar at Gravatar. It’s free and easy to do. You just create a username, tie it to your email address, add a profile picture and you’re ready to go. Once you’ve done this  you’ll no longer have that generic gray icon that you see next to your comments on blogs.

Keep in mind that your username is a part of your brand, so choose it wisely. Twitter only allows 15 characters, so, you may need to get a little creative. You can go to KnowEm to see if your username is available on most of the common social networking sites. Don’t forget to register your username on as many social networking sites as you can – whether or not you ever intend to use them. It will prevent someone else from reserving it.

Tip #3 Brand Yourself With Your Email Address.

Your email address should be just as much a part of your brand as your logo, your website and your username/profile. When you use an email address from Gmail, AOL, Yahoo (or any other email service), you’re promoting their brand not yours. If you’re serious about your business, you should use an email address associated with your domain name. If you don’t have your own domain name… what is your brand?

Tip #4 Don’t Send Me Away From Your Site.

This is a pretty simple one actually. We all know that search engines love links and that they play an important role in improving your search engine ranking. A linking strategy including links to both your own posts and to other sites is an effective way to help boost your rankings in the search engines.

So, how can you link to other websites without leading people away from your site? They may not come back right?  The key is to have the link open in a new window. All you need to do is to change the “target” to “Open link in a new window”. If you’re using WordPress, you’d change the target here:

What are you waiting for?

No excuses now. If you recognize yourself in any of these tips, now is the time to act. If you need help, let me know. I promise to answer – for free! I hope to see fewer generic gray icons sitting next to your user names. (I’d much rather see your smiling face or your logo.)

I’m sure many of you have been sitting there nodding in agreement and thinking . . . “Yes! I already do that!” You’re probably also thinking of many more great tips. So, what would you have included? What tips can you share that will help us build brand awareness and drive traffic to our sites while keeping the search engines happy?

Share Button

Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

72 thoughts on “4 Basic Steps to Better Blogging, Better Branding and More Business”

  1. Great blog and a lot of useful information, I’m new to blogging and have picked up some good tips, at the moment I’ve been using my personal email address, but I think I will now use my business email instead. The advantage of using a Gravatar is now obvious it gives any potential customer a face to link with your site and therefore can build trust. The other advantage of creating a blog it gives you are chance to show what knowledge you have on your chosen industry

    1. Hi Richard,
      It’s good to see you again. I think you’ll find that branding yourself with your email is a great way to subtly build awareness of your business. Friends and family can be great resources of referrals but they may forget that we wear a business hat too.

      Sending emails from your business account, along with a link to your site and a couple of ways to connect with you online (like Twitter and Facebook) can do wonders.
      Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

  2. Hi Sherryl!

    Thanks for giving me the idea in your tip #4. As practiced in all my blog posts I change the target into “Open in the same page” which is according to you is not proper. Now I know. I will apply in all my blog posts. Thanks again for your kindness to share.

  3. this is very informative, Sherry! very straighforward and helpful tips! glad to see such advices from a pro. Hopefully, we still get to read more from you. Will take all the advices you have shared here and still wait for more from you 😉 Kudos Sherry!

  4. 10 Tips for adding Twitter to your Blogging Strategy:

    1. Create a new account with a good handle i.e. twitter.com/YourWebsiteName If it doesn’t exist do what I have done for NPXP: twitter.com/npxpcom
    2. Introduce your website or yourself in the first few tweets.
    3. Follow relevant Twitter users who own blogs similar to what you do.
    4. You can use direct messages i.e. d username when you want to tweet someone directly. (Ex: d npxpcom)
    5. Share your Blog articles links with the Twitter followers that you have.
    6. Do not just share links from your blog but also post something what you have on your mind. (Check my Twitter)
    7. Do not follow people for the heck of it. Only follow the people whom you think can be beneficial to you and your blog.
    8. There is no rule that you have to follow the person who follows you. This can make Twitter a better place.
    9. Make blog announcements such as contests to pull in crowd to your blog.
    10. Do Not Spam Twitter, please.

  5. I think #4 is spot on, what is the point of linking out to another site when it’s going to right over your own page, yes there is the back button, but often than not, people aren’t really going to click that, they would prefer just to close a window to get back to your site 😉

    1. I agree Karen. I think people get distracted and if you’ve sent them to a good site (which hopefully you have) – it makes sense that they’ll want to explore it. This way, when they’re done, they can decide whether or not there’s more on your site worth exploring. It’s so simple too.

  6. Branding yourself with a username is important I try and follow this on all platforms across twitter, facebook youtube etc.

    1. It all comes down to branding. A simple thing like setting up your Gravatar helps build recognition. I learned that from another blogger when I started blogging too. It sure saves a lot of time.

  7. Hi Sherryl,

    These are great suggestions and, as is usually the case, at least one of them fuels the fire of a pros and cons debate. When I first started writing, I meticulously added target=blank to every external link I inserted into my posts. At the same time, I muttered about the practice on other websites.

    Eventually, I made a habit of right-clicking the link if I wanted to. during this whole process, I would read arguments both for and against target=blank. This caused me to rethink my own practice. I finally opted to refrain from using it. I based my decision on giving my readers the option rather than taking it away from them. Whether I’m hurting my site or not, I’d have to test it and that’s not really possible with CommentLuv enabled.

    Since I made the decision before I heard about and installed CommentLuv, I guess it’s just as well.



    1. You do mutter on other sites when it opens a new window? I don’t think the average website visitor knows about the right-click option. As you say, it’s open to debate. 🙂

      1. Sherryl, I’m so used to right-clicking now, I no longer mutter about target=blank. I save my invective for this new breed of pop-ups that always treat me like a first time visitor, grying out the site until I do something. That something is usually to hit the back button on my browser, unless I really, really like the content…sorry for ranting.

        At least the linking issue works out for my visitors.



        1. Those pop-ups drive me nuts too! Always trying to sell me something. They should at least let us get to know them first. I spend very little time on those sites.

  8. I am glad I came across with your blog because it is very insightful. One thing I learned is that Gravatar play a big part on your business as it brands yourself. By setting up your own Gravatar you will have a consistent brand image next to your comments. This helps to give you quick and professional recognition on these websites. Its a technique that allows your comments to stand out. It will get your brand scene by many new potential readers.

    1. Agreed. Gravatars also help to distinguish you from spam. Sometimes, when I go through my spam folder, I struggle deciding whether the spam is legitimate or not. If i see someones picture, it’s a pretty good bet that person is real.

  9. Sherry, you did a good job here! I am now aware how important gravatar is because previously, I don’t give attention at all. But reading your post, change my perception. Gravatar is one way of branding yourself. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  10. Dear Sherryl,

    Thank you for your email in response to mine. Unfortunately, I was in auto accident (no serious injuries), but I do have a concussion and can’t locate your email. (something that never happens to me). You gave me some suggestions and offered to build a BLOG for me. In answer to your email:

    I choose my Domain so it wouldn’t restrict me to just one type of course. I have a blog but haven’t linked it to my website and it remains inactive. I am going to rebuild my website using Yahoo’s Site builder which allows for HTML coding, of which I have a limited knowledge.

    My target audience is educators in Massachuesetts, as I am approved to issue Professional Development Points. 2nd target is businessess. Third area is for internet saavy people who are into self improvement.

    I need help with ways to market my website and am interested in using a BLOG to do that with backlinks. Also need to put in tags – which I will be able to do once I rebuild my website.
    I would be interested in hiring you for help with marketing. You had quoted me on the phone. Not sure whether to rebuild my website first or not. I will try and prepare a list of topics that interest me – but would certainly consider what you might suggest.


  11. Hi Sherryl,
    Thanks for the great post. Especially the tip about the Gravatar. Now I won’t have to be a gray icon anymore. Trying it on your post first.

  12. Sherryl,

    You are always paying it forward. Not only have you given us more valuable information, you have given us the tools to accomplish! Thank you!

  13. I am glad to see such a useful post that you have started. I like the four steps that you have discussed and the one i like the most is “Brand Yourself With Your Email Address.” in which i loved that line which goes like that “If you don’t have your own domain name… what is your brand?” Seems to be a very important one, which most people don’t think about it. Thanks for the post….

    1. Seeing someone who owns their own domain using a free email account is one of my pet peeves. It’s just such a lost opportunity. Then, as you noted, there are still people who don’t have their own domain names. I know free hosting on someone else’s domain can be tempting but branding is critical to succeeding in business. Thanks for the comment.

    1. Radim, It depends on the browser that you’re using. Changing the “target” to “Open link in a new window” opens a new tab in Firefox and a window in Windows.

  14. Hi Sherryl Perry:

    It took me so long to be back. However you have a wonderful post here and I did not want to
    miss it at all. Great points for branding. Well you know I did not know about the site knowem
    I have to surf and know about it.

    Thank you
    I hope your Sunday was Fabulous.

    Fran Aslam

  15. Good stuff here. For anyone just starting out, info is priceless. There is a strategy online, and you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel.

    1. Thanks Mike. Glad you joined us here. I try to mix back-to-basic posts along with articles that are a little more challenging. That way, hopefully there’s something new for most readers and gentle reminders of the basics. There’s always something we can all learn from. I learn from some of the comments on here too.

  16. Hello my friend,

    Once again, your posts are so clear and so valuable that they make is seem so simple to do these things – what I call the “duh” factor. The worst part is that many of us, including ME, are not doing them. You always serve as a reminder for me to check myself to make sure I am not missing these simple suggestions. (I am really hoping that this comment does not come up with a little gray box LOL).

    I used Knowem a while back and haven’t been back – thanks for the reminder to check it out again.

    I really want to see your amazing tips in a video series – they are so valuable! As soon as I get a free moment – HAH – I am going to make you one on me 🙂

    I still can’t wrap my weary brain around the “follow” vs “no follow” link attributes. I will have to come back and read this again after my second cup of coffee.

    I also have to be more aware of not sending people away from my sites – that is another area that needs my attention.

    Thanks Sherry!
    Julie Weishaar recently posted..Keeping up with Technology- Survival of the FittestMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome Julie. As always, thanks for the kind words. Every once in a while, I catch myself not opening a new target window but I usually check it when I preview my page before I publish it. It’s one of the things I’m conscious of.

  17. Great post as usual Sherryl and it is surprising how easy it is to forget the basics. I agree about the links opening in a new window and must admit I need to fix a few posts.

    I have also started looking at Flowtown to help make sure I have a presence where my customers are.

    1. Thanks for the tip on Flowtown Susan. I’ll keep this in mind for the future. Thanks for sharing your marketing tips with us! They’re always appreciated.

  18. Wow, great 4 steps I like this post. I’m always trying to improve my blog.
    I can’t change my email to match though because this one is connected
    to my ebay store instead of my blog. I guess I should have thought
    that thru more but the ebay store is 3 yrs old & the blog only 2 yrs.

    1. Barb,
      I checked out your site and I figured out that you’re @dlsblogs but it wasn’t easy to follow you on Twitter from your site. You have almost 1,000 followers on Twitter! Very impressive. I honestly don’t understand the connection between your Twitter name and your brand but you must be doing a lot of business on eBay! Is that where you’re getting your Twitter followers?

  19. Sherryl, getting the gravatar is an important first step that newcomers often miss. I think that WordPress should insist you create a gravatar before you start a blog. But if I can add one tip, some people don’t realize that the email address they use for their gravatar account must be the same one they use on their CommentLuv account or anytime they are leaving comments. l remember when I first starting blogging and I was making the mistake of using a different email address. I thought the blog owner was keeping my gravatar from appearing. LOL! Goodness knows no one would ever do that. Live and learn. 🙂

    An easy way to remedy this by adding all of your email addresses to your account, that way you can get follow up comments to your gmail or yahoo email account.

    Thanks for the tips Sherryl. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
    Ileane recently posted..CommentLuv Ambassador Contest on Basic Blog TipsMy Profile

    1. Thanks for pointing that out Ileane. I try to use the same email address for all of my social networking. Are you using different email address because you have domains?

      1. Sherryl, I actually ended up with 2 different gravatars because I have 2 Twitter accounts. But initially, I was using WordPress.com and I didn’t even know that I needed a gravatar. One year later I do have my own domain, so I have two email addresses associated with one gravatar and the email address from my domain (BasicBlogTips) is associated with my logo gravatar. I know -I’m complicated 🙂
        Ileane recently posted..How to Run Your Blog Like a Business- 10 TipsMy Profile

  20. Quite simple but strategical steps. I admire for that. We all have our own area of expertise, so it ‘s always better to research that our idea or interest are matching with people’s interest or not. If yes, than you will go for it through blogging.

  21. Great tips in your article and really clearly explained. I struggled to get my gravatar set up as I already had a user name and it kept saying my email address was already in use, please reset password etc etc but ultimately not accepting my account.

    Eventually I realised that it wasn’t accepting my user name because it had a hyphen in it – so I changed that and used a different address and am happy to no longer be a shadow.

    1. That’s weird that it wouldn’t accept a hyphen. Usually hyphens are assumed to be spaces. Thanks for telling us Mel. If it happened to you, it’s bound to happen to someone else.

  22. Added a link to your blog but I can’t find it on my page. Obviously did something wrong?

    On the other hand, 619 other sites have linked to my blog. Have no idea who they are though.

    1. I really appreciate you’re trying to link to my blog Catarina. I don’t see the link either but I did discover that I wasn’t already following your tweets. So, I’m following you now.

      You have 619 sites linked to you? That’s amazing. Congratulations!

  23. Hi Sherryl,
    Once again you prompt me into something I know I should do, but haven’t wanted to make the transition (switching all my emails). So that is my new (well one of them) goal. I will also be looking into the Gravitar….Thanks

    1. Hi Myron,
      Not sure you have to start switching all your emails. Couldn’t you just create a new address on your domain and start using it? Then you’ll need to decide whether you want to use a pic of yourself or one of your “Kreeters” for your avatar.

  24. Hi, Sherryl. Good points you have here. It has opened my eyes to what I have done right and what I have yet to do. Thanks a lot. 🙂

    – Wes –

    1. Hi Wes. Thanks for letting me know you liked the post. You’re doing a lot of things right on your blog. I’m not sure what you have yet to do but tip #4 seems to be missed by a lot of people and it’s so simple once you know how to do it.

  25. Number three and four, vitally, critically important. And amazingly tons of people either forget about em, or have no idea how important they are. I just recently was contacted about doing some work for an existing client. In addition to writing, they want their links cleaned up, and made to open in a new window. Whoever they had dropping their text and links into their site was simply pasting naked links along with info and not even anchoring or embedding them, much less creating a blank window target. And this is on a site where the company pulls in nearly 7 figures a year.

    Very good suggestions Sherryl.

    I would also suggest not allowing Do-Follow for all your links. Reserving Do-follow only for links you want to pass juice to increases the value of links to from your site, which makes your site more attractive to potential advertisers and guest writers.

    1. Wow! Paul, that’s a great reminder that sometimes even big successful companies sometimes miss simple basic steps that can make a difference.

      Great suggestion about not allowing Do-Follow for all your links. In this post, would you suggest using a do-follow on either my Gravatar or KnowEm links? My thinking was that since they’re higher ranking sites than mine, it would be good to link to them.

      1. I’d mainly keep the dofollow in-site, going to pages I wanted to boost, and simply reserve off-site do follow for anything you want to give some benefit to. My understanding is that sending juice to sites doesn’t do much for your own standing, and the more outbound do follow you have, the less those links pass along, reducing their value. I don’t know of any benefit for you in letting do follow flow to authority sites like those. Remember that links still count even if they are not do follow.

  26. Hi Sherryl,

    What you wrote about networking where your potential clients and customers are is key. I’d say that one way people can have a better online experience is doing all of the above and proposing solutions at the same time. Brands should propose something that enhances the lives of their target audience, so the key is to be irresistible but in doing so, making the brand memorable so that people can locate you easily.

    1. Excellent suggestions Tia! We all have our little areas of expertise. It’s so easy to propose a solution. Lots of time, it only takes a minute to let someone know that by doing something very simple (like grabbing a Gravatar) would really help them. You’ve certainly done a nice job branding BizChickBlogs.com while creating a great online experience.

      If anyone hasn’t checked out Tia’s blog, I highly recommend it!

  27. Hi Sherryl,
    Thanks for the powerful post. You are right, it is so important to reserve your brand on as many networks as possible. I did a good job of that except for Twitter. Twitter! My name is reserved by someone but they are not using it. Aargh! It’s heartbreaking, that I had to use @AllegrasTweets instead of my name, which is my brand everywhere else. That advice along with the instructions for creating a Gravatar were super helpful. Thanks for your continued leadership. Allegra

    1. Thanks for dropping by Allegra. I’ve noticed that you use a different Twitter name. I started creating my user names on Twitter. That 15 character limitation was a challenge for me!

  28. Hi Sherryl
    Thanks for this informative post. I did wonder how to do the Gravatar, and also I learnt something new in Point #4. Sorry this sounds like a silly question but does this mean that your window doesn’t close?

    1. Hi Diane,
      Glad I helped! Yes, that’s what it means. It will either open a new window or a new tab. That way, they can open the link and they’ll still have your page open. It’s such as simple thing to do yet it’s so important.

Comments are closed.