Whether you just blog as a hobby or hope to turn it into a full-time career, having a brand for your blog is really important. Not only does it look nice, it also makes your blog memorable so readers will keep coming back and brands will want to collaborate with you. Plus, in the future if you do decide to make your blog a full-time career or you set up a small business related to your blog, you’ve already got a ready-made brand waiting for you! Here are my top tips on how to brand your blog.
1. Come up with a name for your blog
I’ll admit it – coming up with a name for your blog is hard. I spent days trying to think of mine, and eventually resorted to scrolling through iTunes for song titles I could steal – hence why I ended up with Elevator Musik, it’s not even a favourite song or anything, I just thought it sounded cool.
Whatever you choose – whether it be your own name, a combination of your favourite things/words, or just a random phrase – make sure you use it consistently and make sure it’s original. Before deciding on the final version, do a quick Google and make sure no one else has already used that name. As well as your blog itself, try to make sure your social media handles match the name as closely as possible so people immediately recognise you.
2. Set up a domain name and email
Having a domain name isn’t essential if you’re just blogging as a hobby, but if you want to brand your blog and turn it into something more professional then it definitely is necessary. Firstly, it will be easy for people to find your blog (elevatormusik.com is a lot easier to remember than elevatormusik.blogspot.co.uk, for example). Secondly, it really helps to have your own domain name for SEO purposes – a lot of PR agencies now use domain authority (aka how well your site ranks in search engines) as an indicator of whether they’ll work with you or not. Thirdly, having your own domain name will also allow you to have your own custom email address (such as email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org). This looks a lot more professional and helps to add to your “blog brand”.
I would also recommend moving your blog over to self-hosted WordPress if you’re serious about blogging. It gives you a lot more control over the look and function of your blog. I use Bluehost to host my blog and I’d really recommend them as they’re cheap and reliable. Currently, you can get hosting for just $3.95 per month with a free domain name thrown in: find out more here.
3. Design a logo for your blog
The best way to brand your blog and make it instantly recognisable is to have a good logo. This could be as simple as your blog’s name in a particular font, or as complicated as an illustrated logo designed by a professional. My logo is fairly simple and I just designed it myself – the V and A are meant to be a subtle nod to an elevator’s up and down buttons, but I’m not sure anyone else gets this apart from me!
Once you’ve got a logo you like, use it everywhere! Use it as your blog’s header and work it into your social media cover photos. Add it to any blog stationery you have such as media kits or invoices. Put it in your email signature. Use it on your business cards – you get the idea!
4. Choose a good blog design
First impressions are important when it comes to blogging, so make sure you’ve got a good blog design that looks nice and is easy to use. There are lots of web designers out there who can build you a blog from scratch to suit your tastes exactly. However, this can be expensive so to start off with you might want to opt for a pre-made template which you can then add your own logo and colour scheme to.
Etsy is a great place to look for templates to help brand your blog. There are lots to choose from, and most can be edited to suit your style. I would definitely recommend having a consistent colour scheme to help personalise your template – although the majority of my blog is bright white and grey, I use small flashes of green and pink to match my logo. Having a consistent colour scheme like this really helps to add to your brand identity.
5. Get blog business cards printed
If you attend a lot of events, having branded business cards is a great way to tell people about your blog and make sure they remember it. As with all the tips above, make sure you’re consistent and use your logo, colour scheme and usernames throughout. I use Moo to create my business cards and they’re always great quality. If you’re not used to designing things for print, Moo makes it easy to add your logo and text without any design know-how. Last time I did an order, I also got some little stickers printed just for fun because, eh, why not?
6. Consider the future of your blog
When you’re going through the process of creating a brand for your blog, have a think about how it might develop in the future. Will your logo still look good in a few years time or will it look dated? Things like your blog template and business cards can be updated in the future, but the core part of your brand – like the logo, name and colour scheme – should stay largely the same to make sure you’re recognisable.
Also consider where your blog might end up in the future – will you start a business related to your blog? At the start of this year I set up my freelance social media business and decided to keep it part of the “Elevatormusik brand” which I think worked really well. I also set up my Etsy shop under the same brand. If you end up doing something similar, consider the possibility of turning your online shop into a bricks and mortar shop – will your brand still work well in “real life”? Companies like Stocksigns* can create customised signs with your logo and branding on them – imagine your blog logo up in lights above your shop or office… one day!
What are your top tips to brand your blog successfully?