Does Your Website Have Enough Personality ?

[Brand] Personality: The image or identity of a brand expressed in terms of human characteristics, such as young, old, warm, etc. Identifying a brand’s personality helps target consumers to relate more closely with the brand.

Today I had some time to mind-meld with my iPhone and was finally able to listen to a few podcasts. One of my favorites, SEO 101 | The Beginning SEO Podcast touched on the subject of a website’s personality and how important it can be in an overall SEO strategy, and how it seems like so many webmasters overlook it – focusing instead only on keywords, meta tags, page-titles, etc. Because what the hosts said on the podcast was almost exactly what I was thinking, word for word, as I was building GrownUpGeek.com, and because I think that website-personality played such an important role in the success of GrownUpGeek.com I thought I would share it.

On the podcast they brought up how you can have the best SEO in the world, rank high on your keywords, and yet it can all go to waste if a visitor comes to your site only to immediately leave (bounce) because your website looks like nothing more than a spam-farm, or simply lacks any ‘personality’ and looks like it was generated by a machine, or like every other canned website out there. They went on to discuss how writing unique content with your own ‘twist’ or building a community gives a site personality, and it’s that personality that keeps a visitor interested resulting in more page views and hopefully even return visits. Even websites that sell products could be made more interesting by writing unique product descriptions instead of using the same old canned descriptions that every other website selling the same product uses. A good example of this is W00t.com.

When I started building GrownUpGeek.com I knew the exact type of people I was building it for – Beginners with computers and the internet. So from the very start the “personality” of the site was “simple”, “inviting”, and “helpful” – and the entire time I built it the way I would like to see a website: not overcrowded with advertisements, easy to maneuver, and easy to read. Almost every day, I looked through the entire site asking myself, “If I came across this website, would I like it?”   During the entire building process (several months) I never forgot who my primary target was, and kept them in mind with every change I made.

The Female Grown Up GeekLater, I realized that by giving the site a female ‘persona’, “The Geek” (after my wife) it would appeal more to both female and male visitors, something that a more masculine looking website may not be able to pull-off. I also thought that the softer feminine feel would be more welcoming to people new to the internet, or shy about using computers.

As the website began to morph into a community, we tried hard to maintain a feeling of helpfulness, openness, friendliness and commradary. As time went on and the community grew (we just broke 15,000 members this week) this strategy has really paid off, resulting in a lot of word of mouth (viral) advertising and members affectionately referring to themselves as “GuGies”.

I’m not suggesting that you run out and make your website “girly” to try and attract or maintain visitors. Instead, take a moment to think about the type of visitors that you are targeting, and give your website(s) a personality compatible with them. Adding this type of thinking to your overall SEO and marketing strategy can make the difference between a one-time “bounce” and a long-term returning customer or member.

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