I do believe you can judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, you can tell a lot about something just by how it looks. (Just sometimes.) This is why having a consistent look and feel for your blog is important..
Enter blog branding.
Branding is something I find extremely interesting, though I’m sure there are some bloggers who don’t share my sentiments. Maybe you’re one of them, and that’s totally fine! That is what I’m here for 🙂
So find someplace comfortable, whip out a pen and notebook, and let’s get down to business!
What exactly is blog branding, Kate?
Is it a logo? Is it your blog design? Is it the right fonts to choose for your blog?
I’m so glad you asked!
The answer is: Branding is all of that, plus more.
It is the overall feel of your blog. It’s the atmosphere you want your visitors and readers to feel when they’re on your website. It isn’t enough that you say, “My blog is fun!” You have to make them feel the fun!
I like to think of it this way:
You know how when you enter a café with lots of earthy tones and dim lighting, you feel chill and relaxed and just want to sit back and have a cup of coffee? Or maybe when you enter a boutique shop with lots of pastel hues and a smiling saleslady greeting you, you feel happy and cheerful?
That, my friend, is a brand.
It is an important part of any company. And it is also important in building your blog and your online presence. How important, you may ask?
Well, very. But here’s a short and neat bullet list.
Why is Blog Branding Important?
It creates your reader’s first impression of your blog. This all goes back to “judging a book by its cover.” We’re all told not to do this but we can’t help it. First impressions may be wrong but they do stick for a long time.
Your blog’s brand communicates your blog’s style. In the same way that a person’s fashion style tells you a lot about who they are, your brand does the same with your blog. A well-established blog brand shows your quirks, your flaws, and your personality to your readers in a visual way.
The right brand attracts the right audience. Because you’re telling people, “Hey folks! This is what my blog is all about! Care to join me?” you’re trying to reach out to the right audience for you.
So where do you start? If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, thinking about fonts and logos and blog design, don’t worry, friend. Deep breaths. I got you.
3 Blog Branding Elements You Can Work On Today
1 // Your Blog Colors
There’s a reason why color psychology is a thing – colors evoke certain emotions, depending on the shades and hues and tones you choose. As an artist, this is the part of blog branding that I enjoy the most. (Raise your hand if you’re also a color nerd!)
If you want fun and positive, go for bright and pastel colors.
For a calming and relaxed atmosphere, choose muted shades.
If you’re aiming for a grounded and stable vibes, pair earth tones with dark neutrals.
These are simple rules of thumb but you can totally tweak it to your satisfaction!
For a more concrete example, let’s take a look at Ruth In Revolt’s recent color changes on her blog. I loved her pink blog look. But when she recently changed into yellow and purple, I think I sighed with color happiness. It’s a wonderful color combination and it fits so well with Ruth’s blog, since she’s all about positivity and spreading happy vibes in the blogosphere!
Some tips to get you started:
Look for inspiration from other bloggers // You can do this by browsing through blogs whose looks you love or those on your niche. This isn’t to say that you’ll be copying their style. Look at what everyone is doing, be inspired from them and build your own style! You can even scour blog design guides on Pinterest! (Side note: I have a Pinterest board filled with blog design inspirations)
Create a mood board // I’m giving you full permission to go all out and Pin images with the mood you want your blog to have. This is actually what I did a couple years ago when I redesigned my blog and got serious with my branding.
Ask your followers! // If you’ve been around for quite a while and have grown a small but highly engaged readers, then ask them what they think! This is actually what Ruth did. She went to Twitter and asked her followers what colors they associate with her and her blog. And it totally worked!
2 // Your Blog Graphics and Photos
If your blog colors are the icing to your blog branding, these two are the cake toppers. They make your blog look even more visually appealing!
Their only difference is graphics are usually something you have to make from scratch using programs like Photoshop or Canva. On the other hand, you may need to set aside a huge chunk of free time for taking blog photos.
Both are super fun to do, though!
One of my favorite bloggers who use blog graphics super well is Aentee of Read at Midnight. She’s basically a pro at graphic design. She makes use of various graphic elements that will surely make your eyes drool from prettiness!
Meanwhile, Nele of Navigatio only has one blog graphics on her blog, her pretty header, but she makes use of blog photos brill-iant-ly! Her photos are very aesthetic and always have great composition. (Which isn’t a shocker since she’s an amazing photographer!)
Some tips to get you started:
Make use of free stock photo sites! // There is absolutely nothing wrong with using stock photos. I use them a lot – not just on my blog but also as reference for practicing sketches and photo compositions. The only thing you have to remember when using free stock photos in public is to find out if you need to attribute (or link to the website) or not.
Pro-tip: If the stock photo you’re using is free for personal and commercial use, you can put a filter of your blog colors so it would look on brand. Take a look at how I did it with the same stock photo below:
Use online apps for graphics-making // I personally use Photoshop because there’s plenty of functions I need that are not available on free web apps. But apps like Canva and PicMonkey are user-friendly and have enough tools to make a simple but beautiful blog graphics! (And I know some pro-bloggers who only use these apps for making their blog graphics too! *wink wink*)
3 // Your Blog Post Format
You’re probably pulling the breaks here thinking, Whoa Kate. Isn’t formatting a content-related topic?
Well, yeah. But it’s also important for blog branding. These things overlap, you see. Besides, post formatting is all about how your content looks, so I reckon it’s good to take a gander on this briefly.
Book blogger and author, Cait of Paperfury is a wonderful example for this. Cait’s blog posts have a one-liner introduction, watercolor graphics dividers, and an open-ended question at the end of every post.
I notice this is quite common in the book blogging community but Paperfury particularly stands out because of Cait’s unique writing voice and format style – making use of bold, italics, and strike outs for humor. She also incorporates both blog graphics and blog photos on her posts.
Some tips to get you started:
Find what paragraph length you’re comfortable with // I know bloggers who use a maximum of three super short sentences per paragraph and also those who have more than ten. Find your very own goldilocks zone!
Use block quotes and graphics as breaks and dividers // Not only is the block quote format great for emphasizing shareable quotes, it’s also a great breathing room, especially if your blog post is long and comprehensive. (Like the one you’re reading right now.) Graphics can also be used as breaks and dividers. And it’s a great way to reinforce your blog colors!
Blog branding may feel like rocket science but once you know the three branding elements above like the back of your hand, you’re pretty much good to go!
Now here’s what I want you to do today:
Pick one of the three branding elements above. Look through some of your favorite blogs and observe how they incorporate that element to their blog’s brand. How does it help emphasize their unique blogging style? Is there any similarity amongst the blogs in your niche? Take notes, and get to work. Work on it for a week, a month at most.
You can do this. I believe in you!
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