Your challenge today is two parts: add a favicon and register for a gravatar. First, though, let’s talk about branding.
Many casual bloggers never think about branding. I mean, why would you need to brand yourself when you’re a casual blogger? As ProBlogger points out in How to Shape Your Blog’s Brand: “…a brand emerges over time with or without you as people begin to develop perceptions about you and what your blog stands for. As they read your content, as they look at your design, as they interpret what you say, as they gauge your passion, as they observe how you interact with them and other readers – all of this contributes to how they perceive and describe you – your brand.”
ProBlogger suggests three things in regards to branding:
- Identify what you want to be known for
- Be what you want to be known for…consistently
- Monitor and participate in conversations about you
Even if you’re not very serious about blogging, you DO want to stand out from the crowd, right? A huge part of standing out from the crowd is your favicon, because that will allow people to see which tab is yours when they have a bunch of tabs open. A favicon is your visual branding.
Let’s talk about favicons now.
First of all, a favicon is the little icon to the left of the address bar (where the url is, or in simpler terms, where you type in web addresses). If a site doesn’t have a favicon, you may see a blank white page with an Internet Explorer icon, assuming you’re using Internet Explorer. It looks like this:
(click to enlarge)
If you’re using Firefox, then the blank page without the Internet Explorer image (dur) shows up.
When a visitor sees a favicon on a website, it lets them know they’re on the right site. A favicon also can save time, as it gives people a quick visual of which tabs they have going without having to read the names. Your eyes will notice an image before they even have time to read the text surrounding it.
Additionally, if you bookmark a site with a favicon, the favicon will show up in your Favorites or Bookmarks menu next to the site’s name as well.
For example, here’s some random blogs I pulled up with no favicon. My blog stands out quickly, while the others all blend together.
(click to enlarge)
In my opinion, it’s even more important for those on Blogger to use a favicon, because that orange Blogger favicon is particularly jarring and is rarely complimentary to a blog’s theme.
So now that I’ve convinced you to add a favicon, how do you go about doing it?
- How to add a favicon to your wordpress.com blog.
- How to add a favicon to your wordpress.org blog. On wordpress.org, you can install a plugin to manage your favicon so you don’t have to upload anything to your root directory (which requires an FTP client). I use Shockingly Simple Favicon plugin. It was still a bit of work, but totally worth it!
- How to add a favicon to your blogger blog.
- You can also add a favicon to LiveJournal and TypePad.
When you do add a favicon, keep in mind that your favicon needs to be easy to identify. A dark picture doesn’t reduce well, so you want something simple with a lot of contrast. Here are some good examples of favicons.
Okay, now let’s talk about gravatars.
“A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things.”
Gravatars are used by wordpress blogs, and since wordpress and blogger are the two biggest blogging platforms, it’s a good idea for you to register for a gravatar. There are many people who leave a comment and have the same name and no avatar. Don’t you want to distinguish yourself from every other Tom, Dick, and Harry (or Lisa, Trish, and Jen)?!
Why should you sign up for a gravatar? Here’s five reasons to use gravatar from The Weblog Zone (you’ll need to click this link for the explanation behind the reasons!):
- Gravatar Draws Attention – Leads To More Traffic
- Gravatar Improves Brand Recognition
- Gravatar Makes You Famous
- Gravatar Helps You Sell Your Product
- Gravatar Lets You Express Yourself
Please, go sign up for a gravatar!
You Cahn Doo Eet!
After you’ve added a favicon or registered your gravatar, leave a comment on this post and you’ll be eligible for a publisher sponsored giveaway at the end of Bloggiesta!
If you need more help, I would encourage you to check out the bookblogs.ning group on How to Add a Favicon to Your Blog and Avatars and Visual Branding, because many questions were asked and answered there. However, I’m happy to answer your questions in the comments if you have any!