Whew, where did 2015 go? I lost track of time somewhere after I started the “Starting a Blog” series. So far, we’ve talked about the 5 questions you should ask yourself before starting a blog and how to choose a name and niche! Today, we’re taking your blog to the next step by talking about a seriously important aspect of blogging: branding and blog design.
If picking a name you love (and can live with) is the hardest part of blogging, branding and blog design are a close second. Branding and blog design are way more than just picking a pretty theme for your site. It’s about flow.
I know, flow is this unrealistic, intangible concept but hear me out. Think about websites you’ve visited frequently. What do they have in common? If it’s a page you frequent, chances are they have some sort of “flow” to their website. I know that if I don’t like the site for a particular store (looking at you Macy’s), I won’t go back to that site unless I absolutely have to. Now, this may have more to do with the site not being user friendly than it does with actually branding and design, but having a cohesive and put together (and user friendly) blog is going to make your blog more legitimate in the eyes of readers.
Since branding and blog design are technically two different things, I’m going to break them down for the purpose of the rest of this post. First, let’s talk a little bit about branding.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing what branding is because, honestly, you already know. Think about some of your favorite clothing brands. What does every item you get from that store and/or brand have in common? For example, everything Kate Spade comes with a cute little gold embossed kate spade new york logo.
Obviously, you’re going to need a logo. Unfortunately, no one can really tell you what the trick to creating the perfect logo is. They kind of just happen. My advice is to come up with a few different designs you like. But before you even think about creating a logo, think about what you want your overall brand to be.
Branding is more than just creating a logo and style that make your blog visually appealing and establishing familiarity with readers. What do you want your brand to be? This should relate back to your niche. What do you want people to think, feel, etc. when they see your logo or anything else related to your blog?
When you have that vague concept of what you want your brand to be, then you can think more about the graphic design side of branding. Logos shouldn’t be the only thing you focus your efforts on, however. Keep in mind font choices, colors, etc. when you’re creating your logo and defining your “style.” Creating a style sheet as you go will be helpful in the long run, especially as you get to creating blog graphics, which we’ll talk about in a later post.
When designing the look and feel of your blog there is one word you should keep in mind at all times: simple. Every aspect of your blog design should have a purpose. Remember that visitors to your blog aren’t going to want to fuss around or search hard for information, especially if it’s their first time there.
There are these great things called templates for those of us who are not so familiar with web design. If you’re using WordPress, there are literally hundreds of thousands of options for you to choose from.
Remember back to the first post in this series when I said you need to know how much you’re willing to spend on your blog, up front? Well here is where knowing this information in advanced will really come in handy. You can pay for blog templates, themes, etc. or even hire someone to design your blog for you. The pro is you’ll end up (probably) with a great looking blog. The con? This kind of thing can cost a lot of money. If you can’t afford someone to completely design your blog (because really, who can?) you can always check out Etsy for great (and reasonably priced) themes! The one I bought included the Genesis parent theme which usually runs $99 alone!
You’ll also want to think about the way you want your blog to be organized. For example, all of my posts are sorted into various categories. Those categories appear on the top bar, just under the banner. Clicking each of these categories will take you to all the posts that have been tagged within that category. This is an easy way for readers to read the type of posts they like, especially if you’re a lifestyle blogger, like me, who has a wide audience. Organization can also include the type of pages you want your readers to have access too, like an About page, for example.
This is meant to be a really brief intro to my thoughts on branding and blog design. Ultimately, what you do with your blog is completely up to you! That’s what makes being a blogger so great, you can be you and do what you want with your space! I’ve enjoyed writing this piece so much, however, that I plan on doing an eBook coming later this year! Subscribe so you can get all of the updates!