The phrase “Brand your blog!” is everywhere these days. Have you noticed that? It seems like everywhere I look, someone is talking about growing their brand, rebranding their blog, or developing their personal brand.
And of course, I get it. After all, branding is what I do. (Have you downloaded my free Branding Resource Guide yet? If not, get it here.
But I get the distinct feeling that branding can be very overwhelming for some. So, today I’d like to talk about 7 simple, non-overwhelming things you can do to up your brand game (without having to hire a web designer, a graphic designer, and a team of virtual assistants).
Sound good? Good. Let’s dive in!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links I may make a small commission; this comes at no added cost to you. I only post affiliate links for products that I have personally used and recommend.
What is Branding?
I like to define branding as the public perception of a person, company, or product. Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon, is famously quoted as saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Pretty great definition, right?
Related reading: What Is Branding? And Why Is It Important?
But developing the core of a genuine brand takes time. It takes interacting with customers, understanding their wants and needs, and earning their trust.
What if you don’t have that kind of time? Or, what if you just want to get started with branding (or rebranding) without the rigamarole of redesigning your entire website, sending 10,000 surveys to your audience, and spending hundreds of dollars on promotion?
Well, you can actually start branding your blog piece by piece and accomplish quite a lot without having to invest a lot of time or money.
Brand Your Blog Using Any (or All) of These Ideas:
1. Get (or Create) a New Logo
Creating a new logo is probably one of the easiest things you can do to visually brand your blog. You can either pay to have one designed, or you can design one yourself. Although I haven’t used these services myself, I’ve heard excellent things about 99Designs and 48 Hours Logo. You can also hire a graphic designer through Upwork or Guru.
Need a simple logo today? You can create your own logo from a template (for free!) using Canva. Here’s a brief example.
1. Under Marketing Materials, choose the Logo template.
2. Browse the available templates and select one that is representative of the layout you have in mind.
3. Click on the individual elements to edit them. A toolbar will appear at the top. Use this toolbar to change the font, size, and color of the individual elements in the logo.
4. Export your logo by clicking “Download” in the upper right hand corner. Choose either “PDF-Standard” or “PDF-Print” to download a vector file. This vector file can be edited in a vector-based graphics program such as Adobe Illustrator.
After you’ve created your new logo, make sure that your logo appears in the following places:
- At the top of your blog or website
- On your landing pages and opt-in pages
- On your thank you pages
- Future graphics
For companies, you’ll also want to make sure that your logo is updated in all of your social media profiles and printed collateral (letterhead, business cards, etc.).
2. Pick One or Two Signature Colors
One big component of visual branding is having one or two signature colors. For example, Sprint’s signature color is yellow. Target’s signature color is red.
The reason why I bring this up is that I often see novice bloggers using a rainbow of colors throughout their blogs. While I like rainbows as much as the next person, from a branding standpoint, not having a signature color hurts your brand recognition. This makes it more difficult for your audience to see your blog as a serious, established brand; it also makes your brand more difficult to pick out when searched for (e.g. on social media).
So, my advice is to pick one or two signature colors and stick with them. Experienced designers are able to pick out up to five complementary colors and make them work together nicely, but if you’re new to branding I suggest sticking to only one or two. It just makes the branding process easier.
Where should you use your signature colors? Anywhere and everywhere! Here’s a list to get you started:
- In your WordPress theme
- In your logo
- On your landing pages and squeeze pages
- Social media header images
- Website graphics
- Shareable graphics
- Business cards
3. Pick One or Two Signature Fonts
As a designer, I love fonts. So, if you’re the kind of person who likes to experiment with fonts and change things up frequently, know that I completely get that.
But, your blog is the one place where you really shouldn’t experiment with fonts too much. That’s because your audience comes to you for organized, clear information on the topic at hand. If you have too many fonts on one page, the information itself appears to be confusing.
The tool that I use to set up my fonts on my blog is the Easy Google Fonts WordPress plugin. With this plugin, I can easily (and globally) change all of the fonts used on my blog without touching any code. Easy Google Fonts should work with any WordPress theme, and I know for sure that it works well with Genesis and Divi.
4. Define Your Linguistic Style
Linguistic style is one of the more subtle branding elements, but it’s an important way to brand your blog nonetheless. What kind of wording does your audience relate to? How can you express happiness or sadness in a way that they can understand (without sounding too corny or too uptight)?
Check out these phrases I’ve seen bloggers use:
“Hey gorgeous babes!” (written by a female blogger addressing her mostly female audience)
“That’s crazy, yo.”
“Aw, heck to the no!”
Since I’m not a verbally colorful kind of person, I tend not to use this kind of language. (That’s not a judgment, that’s just my personality.) But I would encourage you to figure out what kind of language a) expresses your personality best b) resonates with your audience and c) best reflects your brand’s message.
Then, use this language in:
- Blog posts
- Email newsletters
- Landing pages
- Product descriptions
- Social media updates
Not quite sure what style suits you best? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to find out what phrases work best with your brand:
- What are 5 different ways to greet your audience?
- What are 5 different ways to say goodbye to your audience?
- What are 5 different ways to express excitement?
- What are 5 different ways to express disappointment?
After completing this exercise, you should find it a little bit easier to write for your audience. 🙂
5. Nix “Off-brand” Images
Posting off-brand images is one of the most common branding mistakes I see new bloggers make.
What are off-brand images?
They’re images that aren’t quite in line with either a) your niche b) your audience or c) the image you are trying to promote. For example, if you’re blogging about fun crafts for kids, you might be tempted to throw in some recent photos of your family vacation. And I understand why—it’s nice to add a personal touch to your blog posts, right?
The thing is, people usually read blog posts because they want useful, valuable information. Adding in irrelevant content makes the delivery of information cluttered and difficult to process. Instead, I recommend sharing personal photos and other interesting tidbits on social networks like your personal Facebook wall, Twitter, and Instagram.
6. Replace “Off-Brand” Images with “On-Brand” Images
In addition to avoiding off-brand images, you can easily brand your blog by including on-brand images. And what exactly are on-brand images? Well, using the previous example, if your blog is about fun crafts for kids, you’ll want to feature photos of kids crafting, photos of their finished projects, and photos of the crafting supplies.
Is it kind of a pain in the butt to get on-brand images? I’m not gonna lie. Yes, it kind of is. You’ll either have to shoot them yourself, pay someone to shoot them for you, or use stock photo images. Luckily, there are a number of places where you can get free stock photos. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Death to the Stock Photo
7. Brand Your Social Media Profiles
Being active on social media is a huge part of running a successful blog. But that’s old news, right?
What some bloggers forget is that branding your social media is just as important as branding your blog. In fact, it might be more important because social media is such a large factor in driving traffic new traffic to your site.
Here are some ways you can easily and quickly brand your social media:
- Upload a branded header photo
- Upload a branded profile photo
- Change the theme to match your brand colors
- Put a link to your website in your profile
- Create a Facebook page
- Upload an on-brand header photo to your Facebook page
- Upload an on-brand profile photo to your Facebook page
- Add relevant information about your brand to your Facebook page
- Upload an on-brand profile photo
- Write a branded profile description
- Include a link to your website in your profile description
- Create a board dedicated to pins from your blog or website
When branding your social media, the important thing to remember is to be consistent. If you’re using a logo for your profile photo, use the same version of that logo for all social media platforms. If you’re using branded language, use the same wording. That way, when searching for you on social media, your followers will easily be able to find and recognize your profile among a sea of possible matches.
Ready to Start Branding Your Blog?
As you can see, branding doesn’t have to be a huge, stressful endeavor. You can take these steps one at a time, at your leisure, and cultivate your brand at your own pace.
So, if you’re ready to take your blog (and your business) to the next level by focusing on branding, go ahead and download my free Branding Resource Guide. In the guide, I walk you through the 12 tools I regularly use and recommend. I think you’ll find it really handy. Download it now!