Five Ways To Add Personality To Your Blog

Do you have a dry, vapid blog that doesn’t seem to get any kind of community involvement; think of how fun it is to be in a the same room when someone rips one – that lingering fart, yeah, that’s your blog. It may not be your content, maybe it’s just you; and not specifically you, it’s that you’re not adding personality.

Personality goes a long way online; it’s what helps people become attached to your brand, build authority and gives a face behind all that content you produce for the web. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll be on your way to implement a few of the following ways to add a little spice to your blog.

1. Add yourself to the sidebar

Here’s a simple trick that immediately makes an impact: add a picture and about me blurb to your sidebar. I do it here on Murlu even though, in the beginning, I was a bit hesitant because I’ve always been a bit awkward about showing myself online – I got over it, you should to.

When people land on your blog they’re not going to immediately know who you are unless you’re right out there. Throw a small widget in your sidebar, place a nice picture of yourself, write (essentially) an elevator pitch/mission statement and then link over to your about me page – simple!

2. Create a compelling “about me” page

I’ve wrote before on how to create a great about me page but let me tell you again: even though you may not look through about me pages, others do. I find myself reading people’s stories all the time when I find a blog I’m interested in, I want to know more about the person behind the blog.

That’s what we do as humans, we connect, we bond, we want to know more. The about me will not only be great to help build your brand but it lets people entwine themselves within your story; they become fans because they see you’re just like them, the underdog or someone they can trust and follow.

3. Snag a pic and use it everywhere

Every once in a while you’ll get that message from someone and be absolutely confused on who it’s coming from; why? they changed their picture. Think of your picture a lot like a brand’s logo (hell, look what happened to Gap recently). If you’re going to use a picture on your blog – stick with it because you’ll be using it across your other social profiles.

(Somewhat) perfect example: I have my picture in the sidebar, about me page and also use it on multiple accounts – it’s over a year old, I don’t even have hair that messy anymore; but I keep it anyway because people are used to that. Yes, you can change it over time but you’ll also need to let people know. The point: snag a picture you’d be proud to plaster on the net; people are going to associate you with it so make sure it’s ace.

4. Throw in some personal opinions/insights

Stop being this dry, cookie-cutter blogger that talks endlessly about how to do X but then doesn’t bother to add their opinion; if we wanted that, we’d just look elsewhere – we came to your blog because we’re expecting to find some unique spin on a technique, review or whatever you’re talking about.

It took me nearly 5 months over here on Murlu before I realized I sounded like a stuck-up ass. It didn’t make sense because my older blog I was very vocal with my opinions; started Murlu put me into this “professional” mindset because I read it on other blogs – this was horseshit. I began to write in my own voice which is sometimes crude but it speaks – there was a shift: more comments, more interaction and more connection.

Do this for your blog, tell us why you chose the topic, how you approached it, rant, rave, say something other than what can be spit out by some bot that aggregates data. Here’s a kick-in-the-ass for you to add your voice: if you’re not adding your opinion, I don’t come back to your blog – plain and simple. And guess what, others don’t either so get started now.

5. Treat your community like a group of friends

This one’s a biggie. It’s far too common to see blogger’s out there that create great content but there’s little to no personality behind their interaction with the community.

How many times have you left a comment on a blog you’ve found just to receive some canned response? You probably didn’t go back after that, did you?

When people take the time to interact with your blog, pull them in as if you were talking at a bar. Keep it simple and relax; don’t create tension between you and your visitors. Respond to people ffs. The web has always been social since the beginning (BBS’s – Google it), it’s fundamental that when you’re dealing with others you have to realize there’s humans on the other end; they want to connect so give it to them.

What are YOU doing to make your blog special?

*Image: Hostile Takeover by Marek Okon

51 Responses to “Five Ways To Add Personality To Your Blog”

  1. October 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi Murray,

    Interesting thoughts about the picture and consistancy. I’m torn between my logo avatar and the actual picture of my mug. I like the little dude! and it does carry branding, but others prefer the picture.

    What’s your opinion? Thanks.

    Rick

    • Murray Lunn
      October 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

      Hey Rick,

      I agree with your choice on the avatar, it can do wonders for your brand because it’s so easily recognizable. You have a really nice balance between your own picture and the avatar so when someone lands on your page they can link the two :)

      I think, when you look at the business side of your blog, your avatar does great for people that are landing on your page but you should always push your actual picture when dealing with clients because a lot of business people are (let’s face it) dry and very picky – an avatar may put them off so it’s just one thing to remember, ya know?

      Have you done any additional research into how your own clients receive your avatar? Would love to hear a little follow up on their reception. Otherwise, I’d say it definitely works!

  2. October 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Check to all of your requirements Murray. Adding personality means being you, and not being afraid to share it! Never hold back when it comes to expressing your opinion of sharing your story or people never get to know the real you and they can’t connect with you.

    Money tips, thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Murray Lunn
      October 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

      Thanks for adding in Ryan,

      It’s really as simple as this: anyone can create great content because we have the net to research our topics but to really make an impact we have to present it in our own personal style.

  3. October 14, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    Another way is: Don’t just throw in technical content but also share some personal views and background information about technical topics and subjects.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

      Indeed Andreas,

      You can add all the technical content in the world but what I’ve found is that people do want to know how YOU approached the topic. It’s not just about writing about, say..building a niche site, it’s how YOU built the niche site. Look at how well the Niche Site Duel is going on at SPI and others that have joined; you can read endlessly about niche setup but because you’re getting unique perspectives from each, it creates a story and that’s what keeps people in tune.

  4. October 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    Thanks Murray,

    My goal was a logo/avatar that would be memorable. And several family members like it. When asking my wife she said, “oh, you have to keep the little dude!”

    You convinced me I made the right choice. As long as I keep him small, he doesn’t overpower the professionalism of the site. Besides, I figure if Snoopy can sell life insurance, I should be able to get away with a cartoon.

    I really don’t have much research. Hesham insisted on a picture, and a Thesis theme guru thinks it’s unprofessional (his site is original poetry about mythical gods, so do the math on that one…)

    But in my travels I have 2 avatars I can use, depending on the formality of the site I comment on. I just change the email address for my comment.

    Thanks for you input :-)

    Rick

    • Murray Lunn
      October 15, 2010 at 2:54 am #

      Thanks for following up on this Rick

      Glad we’re on the same wavelength about the overall empowering of the avatar; if it was too big it probably would be just a little overpowering – love the comment about snoopy haha.

      Avatars can go a long away; it’s finding that perfect balance where people can identify you with both and not be confused when they only see one – that’s why your pic in the sidebar really help and the balance of the avatar.

      *mythology eh? hell, if that’s bringing traffic than I guess my cryptozoology blog can be a hit! haha*

  5. October 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    Can’t say I really disagree with anything. Though I would love to, disagreeing (jovially) is fun and it makes for good blog comments.

    I guess the only thing to say is about 4. A persons tone should be what they are. For buttoned up professionals a buttoned up professional blog is supercool. For laid back people a laid back and relaxed blog is on spot.

    The important thing is what you said about it being your voice. No one should be scared to use their own voice, it only makes the posts stronger.

    As for “about me” and using your pic everywhere; check and check. I like my about me page and I use a recurring pic on everything.

    The part of having pic/bio in sidepage is something I have been considering. May see how it looks when I get back and redesign in Nov.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 15, 2010 at 2:57 am #

      I too disagree with you just for the helluvit; but not really – we’ve come up moot.

      Really looking to the new design Steve, you have so much personality behind your writing that I think if you did add in a bit more personality it’s just going to be that one extra thing that really hits the ball out of the park. There’s this sort of “this guy is cool” but a bit of “who is he?” – the about me page speaks volumes, so much information – if there was a bit more of that on the sidebar or even just the footer it would make that much more trust and comfortability – at least in my mind :)

  6. Matthew Needham
    October 14, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Some really great tips here Murray. Is there a widget you recommend for the ‘about’ box? I think the about page is under rated. I keep reviewing mine but I never know whether to put more on it or take stuff out.

    I strongly believe in the consistent image. Although my bug bear is poorly lit photos. I personally use an Avtar as I want to tie my blog to my business. However, all my comments I write on my own blog, feature my happy smiling face!

    Keep up the good work!

    Mattew

    • Murray Lunn
      October 15, 2010 at 2:59 am #

      That’s a great strategy Matthew; I like that, use the profile pics to attract visitors and create a congruency in their transition then you engage directly with your actual picture – very business oriented :P

      I believe there is a few plugins for author boxes for the side bar but I just did a really simple text widget and a bit of CSS styling; simple enough and you don’t add yet another plugin to the already (probably) extensive list.

  7. Scott Bergman
    October 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Great tips Murray! I haven’t done the picture in the sidebar yet, but your right, I absolutely should. Suggestion 4 is another one I need to learn to do better, I do it, but like I said, I could probably do it better. Take care!

    • Murray Lunn
      October 15, 2010 at 3:00 am #

      It’s just those little things that can make a huge difference, if you spent about 5 minutes playing with each I think it’ll have a profound effect for ya Scott. It really pulls people into the overall ‘story’ of your blog, gets them hooked like a good tv show where they’re sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next show (your post!).

  8. Adam Paudyal
    October 15, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    Simple yet very effective tips Murray..

    I do agree with Steve on his view about how a buttoned up post can be just as supercool as the laid back one.

    As a regular reader to your blog post, I have noticed how you have done better and better in putting your personality in the posts you write. This is something I am still struggling at times. Any suggestions Murray?…besides being myself…

    Thanks brother.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 15, 2010 at 3:05 am #

      Hey Adam,

      Forgot to address this in my comment to Steve but definitely yes about the variances in personality – if you’re a serious business person that’s blogging than yeah, telling about how you were throwing up after a party isn’t exactly smart. Same thing with the laid back blogger, if you’re very ‘surferish’ and then came out railing on people (to be hurtful) that really paints a bad picture.

      I actually really, really like your writing style Adam because it’s very informational (I like that a lot) and it’s relaxing. With that being said, however, it’s kind of hard to pin point on any particular way I could say you could bring out your personality – it would really have to be something where you could either ask a close friend or have a conversation with someone (I’ve got Skype) where they can listen to how you actually talk, your “bar voice” and then compare it to how the blog comes across.

      I guess a simple exercise could be when you’re reading back through it – read it aloud. Does it sound how you would talk? Not in the sense that you’re trying to teach something but would you say those same things to a close friend? That should help :)

  9. October 15, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    Hi Murlu

    I agree and am doing everything you suggest and am in the process of adding a sidebar elevator pitch. I agree this adds a personal touch and readers like to know who they are reading.

    Thanks for sharing

    Michael

    • Murray Lunn
      October 15, 2010 at 3:08 am #

      Glad you liked it Michael,

      Remember, with your elevator pitch, make it awesome, make people say, holy crap, I want to see this guy’s story. Just keep running different pitches through your head, crafting them over and over again – think of it like your personal tagline – you’d want to create interest immediately so they want to know more but also understand what you’re about.

      Been thinking about changing mine for a while; was thinking something like “I make small business into rockstars” – in relation to my freelance business work. Still playing with it, heh.

  10. October 15, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    Hi Murray
    I so agree with everything you share here. I always check out a bio when I visit a new blog. Have bounced off a few after reading them but stayed on many more cos of what they share. Easier to interact with a ‘real’ person.
    Also I agree it is so important to be ourselves. It makes our own blog unique and that’s how we build a great blogging community.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Murray Lunn
      October 15, 2010 at 3:09 am #

      Right on Patricia!

      Glad I’m not the only one geeking out about the about me pages haha; doesn’t seem like many people read them all the time but there are those, like us, that really want to get a feel of a person before we develop a relationship – actually, think about it like that, it’s like dating, you want to get to know about a person before you decide to commit through subscription :P

  11. October 15, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    Hi Murray,
    Thanks for the tips. I’ve been torn on how to personalize my blog as I’m hesitant to put my picture up. However, after reading your post and some of the comments, I think I will go with an avatar to give myself that personal touch.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:40 am #

      You can do it Richard :)

      It really adds a great level of trust that can’t be found elsewhere – it’s so simple that a little 5 minute change to your site could mean the entire difference in your success online!

  12. October 15, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    Murray,
    This is something I need to work on. Like what you mentioned in #1, I’m a little hesitant to show my picture although I have done it already with social networking. I know that my readers deserve to know who is behind the name.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:41 am #

      Most definitely Marlon

      When we visit blogs, we really all do want to know there’s a human on the other end – it’s just like how we want to know there is a human side behind a business; we feel safe, comfortable and it allows us to bond vs. just assuming there are people behind there – ya know?

  13. October 15, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    You forgot to add “be yourself” to the list. No point making things look very personal if what you write is like an article from a newspaper.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:43 am #

      Ah, of course Peter :)

      Figure that would have been one of those no-brainer things hehe; exactly true – if you aren’t being who you are, people can generally figure that out and then everything comes crumbling down.

  14. element321
    October 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Great post Murlu, I have been thinking about adding an about me snippet to the home page even though I have an about author at the end of each post…

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:45 am #

      Hey man,

      Just think of the classic “above the fold” ya know? People are going to land on the page and if they see that image right away, it adds a level of trust – it’s very subtle but seeing a face right away immediately catches the attention which could be the difference between an insta-bounce and sticking around the read more.

  15. October 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    This is indeed an interesting read. Every time a see your pic on any blog I simply say that him again! Frankly adding a pic as a blogger is something one should do. Blogging is about networking and staying in dark without something to let others identify you by is like saying, “I don’t want that friendship!”

    But just want to ask do you really think after adding an “About the Author” below your post is it neccessary to add your profile on the side bar? Of course I see you doing this but I was thinking otherwise!

  16. October 16, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Hey Murray,

    I think it’s important to add more personality to your blog. That’s most of the time the only thing that distinguishes you from other blogs out there.
    I will definitely add the sidebar bio to my blog. I thought of doing it all along, thanks.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:47 am #

      Good job Julius – checked it out and it really solidifies everything – think of it a lot like a sales funnel in some ways:

      People see your avatar on Twitter > Click your link > see you again on your blog – bam, connection, congruency.

  17. October 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Check, check and… check.

    SCHA–WEEET, I have personality, WOO HOO!
    I totally agree that without it you are just another blogger in the sea of boring arse bloggers stating the same shit in a different URL.
    One thing I would add, and I feel that it is more prevalant and carries more weight than all of the points you raised, not that they are not awesome points man, its just that you forgot to add: Don’t suck.
    Some people could do all of the above but they would still fail, and its because they suck.

    You don’t suck at all, – but for fiverr I can get an-y-ting I want right? so…

    LOL Oh man you better not edit that out (if you do then you suck!)

    Have a good one man

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:50 am #

      Dammit Alex – you always come in here and bogart the thread haha – you’re absolutely right – you always have a way of taking my eloquent post and summarize it into a word “don’t suck” I wish I could have just said that and be done with it haha.

      That’s really it though: don’t suck. Just stop being lazy about things, get to work and keep chugging at it – you’ll learn more from doing it than you will from ever reading about it and never taking action.

  18. October 16, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Murray,

    I don’t have a blog of my own yet. -More worried about making money now- But I definitely see your points about branding. My twitter and some of my profiles have a name that is not easy to associate with me.

    My twitter not even having my standard “picture”.

    I am in no rush to “fix them” becuase at the moment branding is only minimally important. But I need to start thinking about that now.

    Twitter will be particularly hard since my twitter name is nothing like my real name or any site I would title in the future. But I have nearly 3000 followers that I have been building to help push thing like helium content, etc.

    (all i have now is an automated feed push every-time I post a new one)

    I wish there were a way to change my Twitter name without recreating followers from scratch.

    Going off topic and speaking of Helium. Man! I have been pushing hard in the last week plus. I thought. “haha I bet I passed Murray now” Since I had only been like 20ish articles behind you for a while.

    Then I checked and you have widened the gap. You must be pushing out 20 articles a day for the last week, huh?

    What a machine!

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:53 am #

      Hey Gene,

      Thanks for swinging by.

      In relation to branding, gonna come out and say it – get started now. For serious, just go ahead and get started now. You don’t have to go balls-to-the-wall; just do little things that starts to build up your brand because instead of going at it months down the line, you could really start kicking it up and already be a few steps ahead, ya know?

      As for Helium – you’ll definitely want to check out my latest post on Bukisa – we can republish there – more money money. But yeah, I think I’ve been doing about 12 – 20 articles a night now. We have about 22 days left so it’s going to be a rush but just keep chugging away – keep it up man, hit me up on Twitter sometime too.

  19. October 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Thanks for the detailed post. I really agree with your points about having a picture for people to associate with you. It is pretty crucial for people to have an idea of who they are reading is and then be able to follow that person in other mediums as well. Keep up the good work.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:53 am #

      You got it Dustin – you keep people connected to your image every step of the way, it’s “oh dang, he/she’s here too – nice!” keeps you in their mind.

  20. October 17, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    Hey Murlu,

    Thanks for the tips above, it is very important to me too, to let people know who we are.

    Saw your link from Kharim’s.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:54 am #

      Hey Kimi,

      Thanks for swinging by, glad you enjoyed the article. Lemme know if you ever need any help, I’m just a contact away.

  21. October 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Thanks for the tips regarding the about me sidebar widget and an ace pic to be remembered by. I just implemented those @ my own blog ;-) .

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 2:55 am #

      Nice work man, keep it up :)

      The little things count and at the speed you can set them up, you can’t afford to skip out on ‘em.

  22. October 18, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Awesome post Murray,

    I agree being creative and doing something different gives you personality and allows you to stand out from the rest!

    See you around!

    • Murray Lunn
      October 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

      Thanks for swinging by Dan – it’s always those little things that leave a lasting impression: that one idea you gave where people were able to take action, that thank you that lightened someone’s day – all these things build layers of trust and networking; build each subscriber one at a time and soon you’ll have a massive following that are fanatical.

  23. October 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Hiya Murray,

    My take home point:Displaying my personality so that it adds a twist to my post. It really is so important in the aim to add value while differentiating myself from the crowd.

    I haven’t posted for a while for a number of reasons but am so working on this as the drafts pile up :)

    Great tips and Thanks.

    • Murray Lunn
      October 19, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

      Hey Deidre,

      Glad you could get value out of the post; I wouldn’t worry about not posting too often as long as each post you do is very powerful – when you create posts that leave an impact you’ll keep people on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next to go out live.

  24. March 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Wow, I followed you over after you left that great comment over on my guest post at http://reviewzntips.blogspot.com/2011/03/building-personal-brand.html and I am amazed on how well you do it! This post doesn’t fall too far from the topic and I think you have some great insight.

    Keep it up!

    -Dan

    • Murray Lunn
      March 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

      Thanks Dan :)

      Glad that you enjoyed it and hope that you can figure up a way to create your own strategy for your content that’ll take you well beyond blogging!

  25. March 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    The last point is interesting to me as I have never tried this method but you are right as by doing that way, you and your readers are one team :-)

    • Murray Lunn
      March 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

      Thanks Tinh, glad you enjoyed it.

      Btw, welcome back. Saw what happened on the blog – good to see that you’re up and running again :)

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