There are some very crucial things you need to know when you go to start exploring your online presence. As I mentioned before I have spent a lot more time developing my online presence as Courtney the Vancouver Mermaid and so for this post I will mostly be using that as my example.
First things first, your handle, how do you want to be known online? Do a little bit of searching to see what's available because that will likely have an impact on the name you want to use. I go as Courtney the Vancouver Mermaid "Courtney Mermaid" for short. Once I had that decided, I went ahead and secured all of the various social media sites.
But Courtney! I don't know what social media sites I want to be on!? AHH!!! OK stop panicking. Start with the biggies: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest are all good places to start. Depending on what you are doing online (are you an artist, a mermaid, a writer etc) there will be some social media sites that will benefit you more than others so do some research.
GET YOUR DOMAIN NAMES OMG OMG OMG. Seriously. Hit up Netfirms and grab yourself your domain name before someone else does and you are miserable for the rest of your life. It doesn't cost much and it is totally worth while, after all, how are people supposed to find you without it?
Pro Tip: I will disown you if you go and stick a big fat dash or hyphen in the middle of your domain name. I kid you not. Don't do it. If I can't find you because I'm an idiot who can't remember you have a dash in your URL it is YOUR FAULT. Don't argue, you know I'm right.
OK. So what is your image gonna be? You now have the name that's going to represent you online, but not you need a nifty little logo that'll stick in peoples minds. Don't be complicated with it. It needs to grab people right away and be something you can use at various sizes for all those social media sites you signed up for. 150x150, 250x250, 350x350 are going to be your nemesis so you better have a nice image that can be cropped or will nicely fit in a square.
What do I use? Well my entire brand as an artist revolves more or less around this funny little purple fox you are seeing everywhere. She's cute right? I have her in a couple of different sizes to make her a little more user-friendly for me. For my Courtney Mermaid stuff I use my face since I am the mermaid. I do have a pretty snazzy logo that you can see on my main page: VancouverMermaid.com.
Colours are also going to play a huge part in your brand. It's OK for these to change, but I cannot emphasize the importance of your colours being pleasant to the eye. Please. I beg you. If you are colourblind or worried that your sense of colour sucks, get a friend to help you. Remember that less is more. This is my sort of "formula" for picking colours:
Base Colour + Text Colour + Link Colour + Accent Colour = Good Job.
Appeal is important. By "appeal" I am of course referring to a site that doesn't want to make you pull all your hair out. Visit other people's sites and ask yourself what it is you like about them. There is nothing wrong with looking at other sites for reference, just don't go ripping people off.
Drilling. This is more of a technical point, but it is so important. I beg of you... Please do not make people click through a thousand links to get to a page without a back button. Yes, drop-down menus are fantastic, but if I visit your page and find myself looking through an excessively long list that I have to scroll through, I will be very disappointed with you.
Overall, the things that are going to really define you and your brand are things like: what do you stand for, what you do, who you are and how can this be visually represented on your site. People go to school for years and years to figure this sort of thing out, so don't be disappointed with yourself if you have a hard time figuring it out.
Anyway, I hope that was a little bit helpful! I definitely had fun writing this one!
I can't believe the A to Z Challenge is almost over!
This has been so much fun to participate in!
Hi! My name is Courtney and I am currently working as a character designer in the animation industry!
Artwork and Content is © Courtney Pearson 2016