Today’s post looks at how you can give your blog its own brand identity, courtesy of blogger Helen from Fuss Free Flavours.
WHAT IS BRANDING?
When I originally got my iPad the first app I downloaded was the Logo Quiz game – it was the one that was the current meme and doing the rounds. The aim is simple – can you recognise brands from their logos? It is an interesting exercise and you might be surprised at which brands you can, and cannot identify.
Many many brands are instantly recognisable – a snippet of curly white script on a red background brings to mind Coca Cola – or a smoother yellow curve on red instantly hints at the McDonalds M.
Although many bloggers are not aiming for world domination (although it would be nice) it is important to give some thought to your branding and how you portray yourself. Ask yourself:
- Why do you blog?
- What do you blog about?
- How do you portray yourself?
- Are you consistent?
If your branding is not right you will in all likelihood never feel completely comfortable with it, and it will always slightly nag at you.
My site, Fuss Free Flavours, has been through several incarnations, but I have kept the figs and green and purple colour scheme to give a feeling of continuity throughout changes. This means that when I have a new look it is fresh, but not unfamiliar.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Your name is the first and most important part of your branding. If you were to start all over again would you keep the same name? I’d probably not – I love my Fuss Free brand, but it can be hard to say (and is over the 15 character limit for twitter).
Think about why you blog and what you blog about and write down some of the words that spring to mind. Ask your friends and family what they think – something that sounds amazing to you might have unforeseen connotations and unfortunate associations. Is it too similar to someone else? Does it work in other languages or countries ( for example, Flavours / Flavor?)
Lastly check that the url for your chosen name is available – both on a .com and a .co.uk and on the main social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, G+, Pinterest. (If you connect your Twitter to your Instagram and you are named in an update that is tweeted, it is smart enough to use your Twitter name in the tweet if it is different from your Instagram name.)
YOUR TAG LINE
Once you have a name, you can choose a tag line. This is easier to change later on if you need to. Again, write down words that spring to mind. Ask friends and family. Use a thesaurus – swap words around. You will just know when you get it right.
The Internet is a visual place and first impressions count. A banner and badge that are consistent and which tie together will instantly make you more recognisable and identifiable across the internet. Free software such as Picasa or Picmonkey make it very easy to create attractive and professional looking banners and logos. Keep it simple and reflecting your brand. When creating graphics do note down the hex codes of the colours you use and use them in your site. Professional graphic design can be expensive but, for me, I think it is worth the cost. If you cannot afford a professional designer then you could always contact a local collage and ask if there are students needing case studies to work on.
Belgium Anglophile Miss Foodwise is a walking example of her very successful branding.
I use the same logos across my blog, Facebook and Instagram, my Twitter avatar is a cartoon of me, and I use the green colour scheme on my business cards (use the same photo or graphic on Gravatar too). I frequently use phrase “fuss free” in blog posts, reinforcing my brand.
If you have more than one brand consider if you can tie them together somehow – a fantastic example of this is Sarah, who writes three sites, Maison Cupcake, Oui Love France and Dinner with Crayons. They are all very different content-wise, but her graphics and site design tie together brilliantly, making it clear they are all from the same stable. I think that her tag lines are perfect too, reflecting exactly what each site is about.
Thanks to Helen at Fuss Free Flavours for this brilliantly useful post!