Blogging Yourself Into Obscurity: Or, Why The Hell Can’t I Find You Online?

Blogging Yourself Into Obscurity: Or, Why The Hell Can't I Find You Online?

Are you blogging for business? Then why the hell is it so hard to find you? Why do you make it so difficult for people to share your stuff? Why do I have to jump through hoops to start an actual conversation with you?

Hold on… before you stop reading because you think “this is not about me”, I have news for you. It probably is about you, you just don’t realize it yet.

It’s not about the quality of your content. Even businesses with the best content on the planet can suffer from these maladies.

It’s probably not even about your intent. You may have all good intentions to be engaging and helpful and part of a community. But you know what they say about good intentions…

The devil, in this case, is truly in the details and it has nothing to do with your blog and everything to do with how well you connect the pieces of your online presence.

And thus this is a mini-rant with a point: namely, that if you’re blogging for business then there are a few things that will derail your efforts before you can even write that opening sentence, and what you should do right now to correct them.

Your Twitter Handle Isn’t Connected To Your Twitter Share Button

This is so common and yet it baffles me every time I see it (or don’t as the case may be). Why would you put a Twitter share button on your site and then fail to include your Twitter handle?

When I share your post, I want to mention you as the author. I want you to know I shared your post.

When you don’t have your Twitter handle in that share box, you’re basically telling me, “If you share my stuff, that’s nice, but I don’t want to know about it, thank you for it, or start a conversation about it. Move along.”

Maybe that’s not what you’re saying but that’s what I hear.

I can’t fathom why you wouldn’t want people to know that YOU wrote that awesome bit of content – not me. Not Other Random Person.

I can’t fathom why you wouldn’t want to track your mentions on Twitter and know that I shared it, so you can follow up with a question, a comment, or just get the conversation started.

I’m interested. I’m motivated. And you’re wasting an opportunity to capitalize on that.

Do this now: Click the tweet button on your site. Is your Twitter handle in the box that pops up? No? Figure out how to add it right now. I bet there’s a setting in your plugin somewhere. Find it.

Your Twitter Profile Is Nowhere To Be Found

Plenty of people have a nice little tweety bird icon at the top or in a sidebar on their site.

If that’s you, I send my appreciation and a chocolate cupcake.

If that’s not you… why not??

Every week I do a roundup of five blogs that I’ve read and thought were worth sharing with our readers. And inevitably the worst part of that job is finding the Twitter handles of the authors.

Bad enough I can’t mention you in a tweet without the extra effort, but sometimes I can’t find your Twitter profile at all. Then I resort to Googling you, sifting through to your Twitter account, going there, copying, pasting…

I told you I was motivated, right? But not everyone is. In fact, I’m going out on a limb to say that I bet almost nobody is that motivated. You’ve got to have one heck of a blog or product or service for someone to work for even two seconds to figure out who you are and how to reach you.

Do this now: Look at your header and sidebar areas, or even your author bio box. Does it have a link to your Twitter profile? No? Get a plugin that adds social icons or go to Google and search for “Twitter icon” and grab one. Link it to your profile.

Your [Insert Other Social Profile Here] Is Nowhere To Be Found

I picked on Twitter because it’s where I personally spend most of my time and share the most content.

But the same applies for any social profile, whether it’s a Facebook page, Google Plus account, Instagram…

Don’t assume that just because you have all these accounts that anybody knows about them. Connect the dots from here to there. Trust me, you’re the only one Googling yourself (ok, and maybe sometimes me. But only because you made me.)

Do this now: Look in your header or sidebar area again. Do you have an icon with a link to every one of your online social profiles? No? See above about plugins or Googling. Link to all of your profiles.

You Don’t Have A Google Plus Profile Or Page

This one deserves its own heading. Because Google.

Do I really need to say more than that?

In case I do, Google.

If you want to build authority in search, and even socially, this is about as close to a must-have as you can get. When someone +1s your post, you want them to tag you. Whenever you publish a post you want the authorship attributed to you.

Not being able to pull up someone’s Google profile to tag them in a message is almost as frustrating as the lack of a Twitter handle.

But more than that, it’s a serious lost opportunity for social signals and for doing something that Google very clearly wants you to do. And I don’t know about you, but when it comes to keeping Google happy, I’d even give up my last cupcake.

Do this now: If you don’t yet have a Google profile, get one ASAP. Complete all of the bio information. Find the section called “contributor to”. Add the URL of your blog. Go here and set up your authorship.

There Is No Photo Of You To Be Found On The Internet

Here’s something you may want to know about how I collect blogs for our weekly roundup.

I always – always – look for a photo of the author. If I can’t find a photo of you, I’m just not going to share your stuff. It’s that simple.

Now, that’s me, and that’s for my purposes, but don’t kid yourself if you think that people want to do business with your kid or your favorite book cover or a piece of clipart.

We are in a social world. Moreover, we are in a world where privacy is something we enjoy complaining about and then enjoy ignoring. At this point, most people expect to find you online. You – not your avatar or a vague reference to your sandy hair.

I get that you may want to put your cat on your personal Facebook profile, but if I go to a network like LinkedIn and you’re using that same cat photo? We have a problem.

Do this now: Find a clear photo of yourself (I cannot stress this enough – a 10×10-pixel blur doesn’t count as a photo). Make sure it was taken sometime in the last five years. Go here and set up a Gravatar. It will follow you around like a shadow. Then use the same photo for every social profile that you use for business. You can switch it up if you’re into that, but as long as you have a single good photo then you can stick to it and save the extra effort.

There’s No Bio Of You. Anywhere.

So let’s say you’re completely anti-social and you don’t have a single social account anywhere. (If you’re doing business online and that’s the case, I seriously question your methods, but that’s another story.)

Lets say you have a really bad dye job and refuse to put a photo of yourself online until it grows out.

That’s still no excuse for not putting any information about yourself out there.

Your website didn’t materialize out of the ether. Who are you? Why should I believe a word you’re saying? How do I know that you know what you’re talking about?

We have this problem here constantly. We get guest post requests from people and when I look them up to see who they are and from whence they came, do you know what I find?

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For those of you less mathematically inclined, that’s a big, fat empty set.

What, pray tell, is the purpose of blogging if there is no benefit to you whatsoever? I mean, I like writing, but almost never do I do it “just because”. I write to publish. If people have questions, I want to answer them. If people start conversations, I want to join them. If someone loves or hates what I’m saying, I want to be there at the other end listening. And if someone thinks I’m smart enough and wants to hire me, then that’s the holy grail right there.

I don’t know how you do that when you’re invisible.

Do this now: Make a short list of your credentials and accomplishments. Make another short list of personal details, like your favorite hobbies or geekiest quirks. Turn your lists into a few sentences about you. Make me care.

Your Pieces Are Scattered To Kingdom Come

This is a bit of the problem in reverse. Sometimes you may focus so much on your blog and making sure that your bio is great and your photo is clear and your social networks are linked, that you forget the link goes both ways.

Someone on Twitter recently asked me to connect with him on Google Plus. But when I went to his Twitter profile, it didn’t have a link to anything, let alone a Google profile. No website. Nothing.

In the end, that person ended up being accessible on ALL the social networks. But I just couldn’t find him. If he had at least had a link to his website on his Twitter profile, I could have followed the trail. But when you give me nothing to follow, not even a bit of breadcrumb, I probably won’t find you.

Wherever you have a stake in the ground, you need to make sure that people can find it and then follow along to the next one and the next one.

What good is your Twitter profile if I can’t find a link to your blog? Likewise for your Google or Facebook profile. And what if I find you on Facebook but really wish I could hit you up on Google? How hard do you really want to make that?

Every bit of your online real estate should be connected with superhighways and giant signs saying, “Find me here!”

Now tell me the truth: did you see yourself in any of these oversights? They’re so small from the standpoint of doing them but so huge in return that it would be nuts not to make sure that you’ve got all these pieces in place.

Take a look at your online presence now. Are you connected? Or a disjointed mess? Let me know if I can help and I’ll take a look and be brutally honest about what I see!