Is Branded.me worth signing up to?
If you are someone who uses business networking sites like LinkedIn then you may have noticed people starting to invite you to something called Branded Me.
What is Branded Me
Branded Me in short is a service that allows you to setup a single page mini-site promoting yourself for free. It draws a lot of similarity to LinkedIn in the service it provides with a CV style profile page, posts and newsfeeds. In its favour it offers a much nicer way to display your content, with plenty of customisation options.
How long does it take to setup
I had my profile setup in a couple of hours. You can import information from LinkedIn making it much quicker to populate with information. The rest of it is really just importing pictures and playing around with the way it looks.
Who is it useful for?
Branded Me is not really useful to anyone who has the technical skills to make a simple website, be that WordPress, Squarespace or something more complex. For me it doesn’t really serve a purpose, it isn’t business focused enough to replace LinkedIn and at the same time isn’t a good enough product to be your companies or your sole website.
Are there hidden costs?
The basic plan is completely free and offers the ability to setup your profile with one of the basic themes and limited customisation. The drawbacks are that you cannot add a phone number or email address and people have to contact you through the Branded.me messaging service. Your page will also have some Branded.me branding on the free account. The strangest thing for me is that you are limited in the amount of connections you can make per day. I can understand that this stops people like recruiters blanket spamming profiles, but it also really limits the way you can use the community and the amount of time you will spend on it.
Upgrading to the ‘Limited’ tier for $7 a month will offer you the ability to have an email and phone number in the page. It also gives you the option to have a custom domain name for your page and the ability to have a blog section. The last and most worrying thing is gives you is ‘more visibility’, whether this means within the community or in things like Google Search rankings I am not sure.
Branded Me’s ‘Pro’ tier for $12 a month offers everything from ‘Limited’ along with the ‘most visibility’, additional customisation features and the ability to remove the follow button from your profile.
Branded Me is an interesting concept, it seems to take ideas from both simple site builders and business networks like LinkedIn.
Unfortunately for me this concept does not work as I cannot ever see a reason somebody would need or pay for this service. That is not to say it is a bad service, it is just too late to the market and offers nothing new. For people looking to gain business contacts and building an online network they are not worried about the custom domains and style customisation features. Then on the other side of it, anybody with any technical skills could build a much more customisable and scalable site for less money. Right at the other end of it, if somebody needed a website for them or for their small business this would not be right. Organic Google rankings would be non existent leaving you having to pay for 100% of your sites traffic.
There is one thing Branded.me does well and that is giving anybody the ability to setup a simple, good looking one page site in minutes. Unfortunately for them, there are so many other better options out there that do exactly the same. WordPress, Shopify and Squarespace all offer fantastic tools for non-technical people at around the same price point and beyond that offer the ability to scale up your website to an online store in the future.
I would like to see how this service progresses and am happy to sit on the free tier as an additional bit of exposure for myself. But I would seriously think twice about what you are trying to achieve before jumping in to the paid features.
Want to see more?
You can sign up here for the basic ‘free’ plan – https://branded.me/
I set myself up a ‘basic’ page which you can see here – https://branded.me/stevenlitton