Posted by Danny Dover
Personal branding is the art of showcasing your experiences, accomplishments and perspectives. Like many of you, I knew the importance of this but had always put building a personal branding website on the back burner because I didn’t think it was very important and because I felt uncomfortable talking about my accomplishments in such an obvious and self-serving fashion. Recently, my view completely changed.
Example of of a website generated by the The Layman’s Personal Branding Platform
My lackluster views on personal branding changed when I happened to log into my Google Analytics account and saw I was getting 2,500 monthly visits to dannydover.com and had a bounce rate of 85%. (it’s worth noting that that version of the webpage only contained a poorly written rap and video of a chimpanzee riding on a segway) That was far too many missed opportunities.
I got halfway done coding my new website and realized that a lot of people could also benefit from the code I was writing. I changed plans and rewrote the website to run off of a easy to use platform. I didn’t design it to be as customizable as a CMS like WordPress or Moveable Type. Instead I focused on doing only one thing (personal branding) and doing it well.
The Layman’s Personal Branding Platform is a drag and drop file based platform that helps you build a search engine optimized website targeted at your personal brand. It is an aid for taking control of the search results for your name. While it won’t do the personal branding work for you, it will make building your personal brand easier. Just because you own a tent, doesn’t mean you are camping. With that in mind, I wish you the best and hope you find this as useful as I have.
The Layman’s Personal Branding Platform offers:
- A free and open source platform for personal branding
- Automatically Search Engine Optimized for your name (on-page)
- Cross Browser Compatible
- XHTML Transitional Valid
The Layman’s Personal Branding Platform does NOT offer:
- The external relevant and authoritative links necessary to rank for competitive names
- Any kind of support from SEOmoz. (That said, it well documented and very straightforward)
- Theserver hosting or domain name required to make the website live on the internet (Although this is easier than you might think. See below)
The online portfolio generated by the platform
Setup is ridiculously easy. If you know how to organize files on your computer, you know how to use this platform.
When you unzip the platform you will find six folders once you navigate to /settings/:
- index (Which is another name for the Homepage)
These folders correspond to the five pages on the website (plugins is not a page, it is a folder for plugins ;-p). If you want to change anything on one of these pages you simply go to the appropriate folder. For example, if I wanted to change something on the "portfolio" page, I would open up the portfolio folder.
Once inside the page folders you will see three more folders and three text files:
- accent-image – This folder holds the accent image displayed on the top left of the page.
- three-descriptive-words.txt – This test file contains the three descriptive words you would like displayed at the top of the page
- intro-paragraph.txt – This text file contains the text for the introduction paragraph of the page
- image-sections – This folder holds images for the "image sections" of the given page. All you need to do is put an image file in this folder and it will automatically be formatted (although not resized) and placed on the page. The file names are used as the Alt Attribute for the image, so be sure to be descriptive
- text-sections – This folder holds text for the "text sections" of the given page. All you need to do is put plain text files in this folder and they will appear formatted on the given page. Simply name the text file the same as you want for the section and it will automatically be displayed.
- README.txt – This contains the directions in case you forget 🙂
The files correspond directly with the website
Installation is also very easy. Once you are done editing all of the files in the settings folder, you simply have to send the whole website to a server. The process is:
- Edit all of the files in /settings/ to your liking
- Move back one folder so you can see all of the PHP page files (index.php, personal.php etc.) and platform folders (settings, css etc). This is the same folder you will see when you initially unzip the platform.
- Use a method like FTP (confused? Read below) to transfer all of the files and folders to a webserver.
If you don’t have a web hosting or a domain name, don’t worry. It is easier to setup than you think. I recommend siteground.com (Note: I am not affiliated to this provider other than by the fact that I have been a happy customer for 3 years) although you can use any hosting provider that you want. If you choose Siteground, they offer a domain name, unlimited server space, and unlimited bandwidth for $5.95 USD a month. You should look for similar prices. Once you have a domain name and web hosting can drag and drop the platform files onto the server using FTP just like you would if you were dragging files from one folder on your computer to another. You can see a tutorial on using FTP here. Once you do that, you are done! Its all setup and you can sit back and relax.
I am on to you…
Here are a couple questions I want to nip in the bud before they get asked:
What is with the footer link? – I included a footer link pointing at this blog post, my profile and SEOmoz in the footer generated by the platform so that other people could find and benefit from it. If you don’t want to endorse me or my work feel free to remove it.
Danny, is this an elaborate plan to pimp your personal brand? – I can see why you might think this. I used my website as the example not to get views but rather because at the time of writing this post, it was the only website built on the platform. Remember, I wrote this code originally for my website.
If you have any personal branding advice that you think is worth sharing, feel free to post it in the comments. This post and project are very much a work in progress. As always, feel free to e-mail me or send me a private message if you have any suggestions on how I can make my posts more useful. All of my contact information is available on my profile: Danny Thanks!
More: continued here