In an effort to hone my “image” from a marketing standpoint, I’ve recently set about making some changes to my online presence. The keys involve: 1) intrigue, 2) effectiveness, and 3) consistency. It’s a matter of anticipating how customers will find and use each online outlet of mine, then ensuring the content already there and to come achieves each goal. I’ve run into some issues in this process and I’d like to share them here. Perhaps someone out there in the internets can help a feller out…pro bono, of course.
First off, I went about making my blog appear more streamlined. The old “notebook” theme I had before just wasn’t cutting it. It was too cluttered and unappealing color-wise. WordPress offers a number of themes, but I opted for a free one called “Hemingway Rewritten.” As you can see it is very sleek and minimalist. I like it for that reason alone, but the added benefit is how it looks similar to a number of my social media accounts, especially Twitter. I was able to upload the same header pic I use everywhere else, which I call “Canvas Chase” BTW, and my personal slogan looks pretty nice, IMO, splashed across the top. The fact I switched the title of my blog to my slogan is significant. It’s who I portray myself and what I stand for that’s really important, not my name itself. How my blog is most effective in presenting my image is “between the lines.” Each post should reveal my efforts in producing something for public consumption, such as a book, screenplay, invention, or company. What that means is, all of the “about me” material will removed. Instead, all that stuff is going to be on my website. I’ll explain why below.
Days after changing the theme, I realized WordPress automatically duplicated my sidebar as a footer, which meant there was a lot of wasted, distracting space at the bottom of my blog. When I tried deleting the widgets that make up the footer one-by-one, using the theme’s customization page, the sidebar widgets disappeared as well. I thankfully didn’t get far before figuring this out. I then tried using WordPress’ proprietary settings module to delete the footer widgets. It seemed to work, so I proceeded to delete the entire footer, only to discover…the sidebar was wiped clean too. I contacted support, but the widgets are GONE. That really sucks because, most importantly, I lost nearly two years worth of revolvermaps.com traffic data. So, just keep in mind, the little map you see in the sidebar should have many, many more yellow dots spread all across the globe…
Here’s one way in which someone out there could lend me and probably many others a hand: If you know how to code a WordPress widget, please make one that cleanly displays your draft posts. I had an html text widget with several future posts listed which I’m not even going to bother to rewrite. I figure someone should be able to easily create such a widget in due time or else I’ll just do it myself…eventually.
Next, I went about updating my website. The single page, mind map thing was kinda cool, but not really effective nor consistent. As I hinted at above, my website should really act as my hub, offering a complete picture of what I am all about and what I’m “offering” to the public. It should be easily navigable and present pathways to my other webpages and social media accounts, especially to here – my blog. If people want to see the work that went into the many “offerings” which I’ll showcase on my website, this blog is where they’ll find it. But if they just want to focus on the “offerings,” my website will direct them to the appropriate company pages as well.
I found a fantastic template on templatemonster.com. It’s meant for an architectural firm, but I’m repurposing it. Here’s the thing, I have no website design experience besides what I’ve learned from drag-and-drop applications like iWeb and EverWeb. The only way for me to edit the template was with DreamWeaver. That meant, I’ve had to teach myself the basics of HTML5, CSS, and PHP. It’s been trial and error every step of the way. Here’s where I could really use some help from a generous individual out there. I’ve figured out how CSS works, how each element of the template has a corresponding entry in the style.css file. I’ve figured out how to manipulate each element as needed. What I have yet to figure out is how to add an element. For instance, I need to add a “Back” button to every page. I know all I need to do is properly code said element in the style.css file, then reference it in the html code of every page where I want it to show up, but I’m lost on how to do this correctly, as in, without boinking up the entire site, which I’ve done a couple times…
There are some other things I’d like to do to improve the website’s look and feel, but I’ll wait to explain the details until I’m actually working with someone. Eventually, I’ll likely have to hire someone to help with the coding, but at least most of the heavy lifting will be done. Of course, I do plan on working with a photographer and getting some decent images of me up there. And don’t worry, I’m aware of the importance of SEO and analytics. I’m doing my best to make the most of both, but I’ll likely be leaning on a professional a bit in this regard as well. So, when you are looking at my website, please keep in mind it’s a work in progress (WIP). If you see latin, I’ve yet to fill in my content. ;)
My Social Media Accounts
My Twitter account seems to be the most effective in driving traffic to my blog. Making it work even better was just a matter of connecting Twitter to Facebook and vice versa. What that entailed was creating a “public figure” Facebook page, in order to annoy my family and friends on Facebook as little as possible. Now people will be able to like me via Facebook (the 2nd most visited site on the internet) and get updates whenever I’m active on this blog or have new “offerings.” I may need to spend a little to get those likes though. Unless…
My Image Itself
As I mentioned in this recent update to my CO undertakings, I am embracing my status as a 10 year vet turned conscientious objector with aspirations as a revolutionary/entrepreneur. In this vein, I am considering some campaigns that would both draw attention to myself and my cause and kickstart one or more of my entrepreneurial endeavors. I’m not going to reveal any details just yet, but I think I’ve got some interesting ideas and they shouldn’t involve spending time in Leavenworth, unless the USAF really wants to shoot themselves in the foot. Suffice it to say, the campaigns will involve the most important aspect of the revolution I’m trying to instigate – bring people together.
Yes, it may seem very egotistical of me to focus so much on making my image, my work, my offerings a beacon for others, but that’s unavoidable. I can certainly support others who are trying to accomplish something similar, but at the end of the day, from what I’ve seen, much more is required for the revolution to grow strong. I believe the totality of my life and work will fill many of the gaps. But to clarify, my goal is to make the offerings that which will be most visible and attractive to consumers. I’m just providing the character, the personality, the face to the revolution. See, this is the kind of info you’ll only get from this blog. ;)
More to come! Stay tuned. But if anyone has any sort of advice, I’d love to hear it. Contact me through your preferred method. Take care of yourself and each other.