Brand Your Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide
Want to brand your blog? Here are the things you'll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid. They’re not hard, but you do need to make some choices, which will affect your future. No pressure.
I have blogged for a long time. I don’t know if any of you have followed for the entire journey (like…more than a decade) but if you have you may be aware of a few domain changes, a blog merge, a big old switch from Blogger to WordPress, and then a rebrand. This is where we are today. Post rebrand.
OK, so there are loads of reasons why I’ve made these decisions along the way. Some strategic, some necessary, some whims but the rebrand was the most important move I made. The reason? I needed to. I was a casual lifestyle blogger from start and I wanted to transition into a professional writer. My blog brand (or lack thereof) was holding me back. Was I doing anything wrong? No. But I needed to make a change.
Elements of a Brand
Branding is an interesting science mixed with art but there are consistent elements when you’re looking to brand your blog. These are all things you’ll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.
- Memorable name (not clever)
- An easy-to-remember (and spell) URL
- Tagline (what you do and who you serve)
- Colour palette
- Branded graphics (like a logo)
- Consistent fonts and image use
- Writing voice
- Blog topics and keywords
- Publishing schedule
When I knew I needed a rebrand I put it off for a while. I was overwhelmed. There were so many decisions to make and I didn’t know what the right choices were. Or even if there were right choices. I hummed and hawed over all the details and then I reached a decision: I needed help. So I got help. I hired a graphic designer who could help me bring my ideas to life. It was a huge relief to have some of the load off my shoulders and once that decision was made, the rebrand happened in a couple months.
Here’s what I passed off: colour pallet, logo design, font choices, and template design. This allowed me to focus on the foundation of my brand and while I was still part of the process, the load wasn’t so heavy.
This may not be the right decision for you but it was the right one for me.
Why do you want to brand your blog?
A brand lets people know who you are and what you do. Readers new to your site will only stay if you make it easy. If they have to think then they’ll leave. If they’re confused they’ll leave. By having a clear brand, readers will know what to expect. If they like what you do, they’ll stick around. They may even subscribe to your email list.
You might not want to brand your blog. You might not have to—it depends what your blogging goals are. Do you have goals? Why are you blogging?
And here are a few goal ideas.
- Gain more website traffic
- Gain more email subscribers
- Meet and network with other bloggers/influencers
- Earn revenue
- Increase personal expertise
- Increase platform
If it helps, here are a few of my goals. First, I want people to think of me as a professional writer. I need my website to look and feel professional at a glance. I need my articles to demonstrate my writing skills. I need my blog to get me freelance work.
Long term goals include building my platform, getting an agent, and publishing a book with a traditional publisher.
No pressure, right?
What you need to know
Before you brand your blog there are some other things you need to know, unrelated to branding. However, if you don’t know these things then your branding efforts may be in vain.
- Your target audience
- What problem are you solving for your target audience?
- Your blog’s focus (also called a niche…what do you write about?)
- Your email opt-in (yes you need one)
I know this seems a bit out of order but I know people love jumping into the “fun” stuff first. You know, the logo and colour palette. So I covered them first. But I hope you understand making these larger, cornerstone decisions are what will allow your brand to communicate to your target audience in the way you intend.
Since my blog rebrand I have grown into the design. It didn’t fit me right away. I felt like it was too flashy, too out there, too self-important. I had to get used to it. I also had to retrain myself to write about my five chosen topics. This was a huge restriction compared to my previous anything goes approach. So I went slow. And I stalled. And I battled self-doubt and insecurity.
And then I went for it. I made a plan, I set goals (and spoke them aloud), and I grew into my brand. Is it working? Well, I’m on the way. I’m sticking to the plan and I’m seeing some results. Do I have a book deal? Still working on it.
Ready to brand your blog? Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help.