These days, every good blog has a small bio of the author usually near the top of the page. Usually, this bio contains the first photo that a visitor sees on a site. The best blogs show a friendly face to the people who are kind enough to visit their blog. Think of it as a first impression!
Being a theatre major, I like to put things into actor-terms. Think of your profile photo on your sidebar as a headshot that an actor would use when they are auditioning for a role. Essentially, you are a blogger auditioning for an audience. When an actor prepares a headshot, they make sure that their photo is an accurate representation of their features. As a blogger, you want your photo to represent not only your features but your personality as well.
Let me tell you, seeing a bad profile photo of a blogger on their site is a such a turn off to me and other readers. Not choosing the right profile photo can cause a disconnect between you and your audience, and your readers won’t feel connected to your blog. Make sure your sidebar photo encourages a connection between you and your readers as if you were meeting them in person. Here is a compilation of common mistakes that I see bloggers using in their profile photos.
How Not To Choose A Photo
The Serious Sunglasses
What’s wrong: Well, first off we can’t see your eyes if you use this photo. You will see that not having a clear view of the eyes is a recurring problem. People like to wear sunglasses in their photos because it might make them “look cool”, but it also adds a touch of mystery to the photo. Anybody could be behind those shades. That, combined with a slight pout, can make for a pretty fierce photo. However, your audience doesn’t want to see a mystery, they want to see you.
The “I’m so cute when I look at the ground”
The Longshot Profile
What’s Wrong: Well, don’t you look cool! However, your audience couldn’t really recognize you if you decided to wear a different outfit. Remember, your audience should be able to have a clear view of your face. Not that this is a bad photo, it just doesn’t give your audience a clear introduction to your face. Save it for Instagram.
The “I’m too cool to look at you”
What’s Wrong: This photo presents an immediate disconnect from your audience. Even if there were no sunglasses, your focus isn’t at a place that would be easily relatable to your audience. Honestly, it looks like you have better things to do.
The Shameless Selfie
What’s Wrong: Selfies (no matter how good) don’t present the kind of professional atmosphere you want if you plan on running a successful blog. Be aware, we can always tell when you’ve taken a photo yourself. Always. Simply grabbing a friend to snap a couple pics of you in some good lighting is miles ahead of the Shameless Selfie. Also, don’t have a duck face in the first photo your readers see of you. Please.
The “I’m gonna punch you in the face”
What’s Wrong: Who doesn’t love a good serious photo? It makes us all feel pretty epic sometimes, but use caution! If you look like you want to punch your audience in the face, they won’t feel very welcome on your blog. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve visited a blog with a serious photo of the author and thought “Dude, stop taking yourself so seriously.” Lighten up! Think of your profile photo as a friendly “hello!” welcoming your audience into your space.
What’s Wrong: A close cousin of The Cut-off Eyebrows and The Half-Face. As they say, the eyes are the window to the soul, so make sure you show your sparkling eyes! If someone runs into you, they won’t recognize you because of your collarbone. Never cut off any part of your face in your profile photo.
The Over Edit
What’s Wrong: This is an easy trap to fall into, but never over edit your photos. Adding filters and upping the saturation may to wonders for your complexion, but it looks fake. Over edited photos make it look like you’re trying to hide from your readers. People respond to authenticity, so don’t be afraid to not look perfect in a photo.
Choosing a good photo
Just like there are so many ways to choose a bad photo, there are equally as many ways to choose a good one. With that being said, here are a few pro-tips when it comes to the profile photo on your blog. 🙂
1) Your photo does not need to be perfect. In fact, your audience may find comfort in being assured that there is a really human running your blog
2) Use the same photo across all your social media accounts. It easier for your followers to find you all across the internet if they can immediately recognize your photo.
3) You are part of your brand. Having a face to associate with a brand is essential when you are growing your blog. People are willing to trust someone who is ready to show their face.
Here are some pretty amazing bloggers that really intrigued me with their profile photo on their blog.
Kayla | kaylablogs.com
Kayla is one of my favorite bloggers, and I think her headshot is just stunning! You can clearly see her whole face and she is smiling. Not to mention the overall photo has a bright and brilliant color that enhances the theme of her blog. This is a great example of a professional photo!
Kelsey is another college blogger who started blogging about the same time I did. Honestly, her profile photo is one of the reasons I keep coming back to her blog. She just looks so happy! I can definitely see her positivity that she portrays in her blog coming out through her photo.
Ivy is another blogger who started her blogging journey about the same time I did, and I must say, she is killing it! Her friendly face is just the beginning of the community that she has created around her blog for bloggers and other people with chronic illnesses like her. Way to go Ivy!
I am a pretty new follower of Brooke’s blog, but I just couldn’t ignore such a great profile photo. I particularly like her Wonder Woman stance in her photo. This is a great example of showing off some of your personality in your photo, but still keeping it welcoming and professional!