In today’s virtual world, your online brand is an extension of you and your company. Potential clients should be able to get a sense of who you are when visiting your website, social media and any place you show up online. To help set you apart from the rest, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through, and don’t be afraid of alienating visitors who aren’t your best prospects. Here are two practical tips to bring your personality forward on the web:
Your John Hancock
Adding your actual signature—not a font—is a a super, authentic way to add a bit of personality to your website. If your home page has some first person copy from you, like a letter, add your signature underneath. Your about page and your newsletter are also great places for your signature. For a more informal, personal feel, just use your first name. It has that friendly appeal as if you were signing a note or card. Use a color that complements your brand. I used brown for my signature on my about page.
So, how do you generate a web-ready signature? It’s simple.
- Grab a marker (I prefer ones with a fine tip) and a clean, white sheet of paper.
- Sign your name just like you would sign a note or a card. It’s totally fine if it’s illegible.
- Scan or take a photo of your signature at a high resolution.
- If your signature will go on a page that has color or an image in the background, remove the white background so the file is transparent.
- Crop the signature and save at a small size (100 pixels high @ 72dpi works nicely) as a .png file.
- Upload it to your about page, newsletter, and home page (if applicable).
A happy, smiling photo is a warm and inviting way to let visitors get to know you. But that’s not the only way to display your mug. If you’re more offbeat, do a funny face or different expression. You don’t always have to be looking at the camera either. A candid shot can speak wonders all by itself.
If you are not a shutterbug, consider hiring a photographer for your headshot so you can get a really great photo with the right lighting, unobtrusive background, and clarity. Before you visit with your photographer, find some examples of headshots and photos from other websites that you really like. That way you can work with your photographer to perfect the look of the photo. Remember to wear neutral colors or hues in line with your brand. That ensures your photo will look great on your website and not clash with the design.
If you’re a fan of a cropped photo without a background, make sure the photograph is taken with a white backdrop. Then the background can easily be removed. Likewise, have the photographer shoot the photo with you standing on the left or right with lots of additional space to the side of you. Photos like this are great for adding words on top to create a really dynamic statement.
(Do you want to know the truth about my photo on this site? I really resisted putting it on my home page and cringed so much at the idea. Yet for years, I’ve pushed my clients to include their photos on their sites since it’s such a good way to create a great first impression. So, I finally got over myself and put it front and center on my home page. And you know what? People seem to generally like it. They say it makes me more accessible and real.)
What about you?