Menu

Blogging 101, Day Twenty-Six: Extend Your Brand

Today’s assignment: extend your brand with one of the following: a custom Blavatar, a custom image widget, or a Facebook fan page.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

As soon as you started publishing, you became a brand: you announced to the world, “This is the place on the internet where you come to find XYZ.”

As you define your brand, you build a distinct personality and consistent experience for your readers that reinforces why your blog is worth reading. Think of the sites you love reading. You can probably give a one-sentence description of most of them — that’s their brand. You’ve got one, too (even if you don’t know it yet).

Today’s assignment: extend your brand with one of the following: a custom Blavatar, a custom image widget, or a Facebook fan page.

Why do this?

  • Because a consistent look that extends across the internet creates a consistent experience for your readers.
  • Because it helps you feel like a “serious” blogger, and that means you’ll be more likely to keep it up.

Think about a few well-known brands: Nike. Coke. Zappos. Target. You may not like the services or products, but you know what they are and what makes them unique (or at least, what the companies think makes them unique), and you probably have some feelings about them. That’s the power of a strong brand.

A strong brand is more than a logo, it’s a guarantee. When a reader sees something associated with your brand —  a post on your site, a tweet, an email, whatever — they know what to expect, be that a laugh, a great DIY project, a recipe, parenting advice, or whatever else you crazy kids are blogging about. It’s unique to you and creates an emotional connection with readers, and that’s what keeps them coming back.

You’v already started defining your brand when you picked a theme and title for your blog, added a header image, added widgets, and played with color and font. Now, take that a step further by choosing one of these options:

  • A custom Blavatar. A blavatar is an avatar for your blog. It appears in readers’ browser address bars when they visit your site (think of the yellow “a” you see in front of amazon.com, or the red “N” for Netflix). Upload one — try a piece of whatever image you’ve chosen as your header, or your initials — for a custom detail that makes a difference. Head to General → Settings in your dashboard; here are all the details.
  • A Facebook Fan Page. A fan page gives you a place to share your blog posts and related content without feeling like you’re spamming friends and family; you can take advantage of Facebook but keep your personal life and blog life separate. Get the down-low on how to start and maintain one.
  • Quelcy Kogel's clever link to her Instagram account resides in a text widget in her sidebar.

    Quelcy Kogel‘s clever link to her Instagram account resides in a text widget in her sidebar.

  • Image Widgets. They’re simple to make, and take your theme from typical to tailored. Take a look at how  With the Grains uses image widgets with unique drawings to highlight her Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, and her regular features, like as “Juice of the Week.” We particularly love the waffle/Instagram mashup. (Mmm, waffles.) Here are some more examples and inspiration.

If you’re looking for sources of free images to use on your blogs, we highlighted several of our favorites last week.

PicMonkey, which lots of you have already tried for custom headers, is perfect for this project. If graphic design feels beyond you, pick a few related images, slap some text on ‘em, and you’re off.

Be sure to take advantage of support documents and the forums today — you may need to stretch yourself and learn something new. And of course, there’s always The Commons

Show Comments

74 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

    1. Nice header pictures and you know I like your blog! The letters maybe a little too big (for my taste) but I like the idea of what you are doing! Keep up the great work!

      Like

      1. Hey Joel, I see what you mean about the letters, I tried making them smaller, but they were getting a little lost in the background.:-( I’m glad you still like it though!:-)

        Like

  1. I just posted blogging 201 day seven on the same topic. I am way way behind blogging 201 but have not given up. Co-incidentally while doing this topic – Extend (Broadcast) your brand, I chose to add Instagram thinking I could add my blog’s photos onto instagram but had no success. I think it is the other way round, ie first you have to take a picture on instagram and then add to your blog so no way to transfer my old blog photos to instagram? Can someone please share with me? Thank you and happy blogging.
    Here’s my post on the assignment
    http://littlegirlstory.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/blogging-201-day-seven-broadcast-your-brand/

    Like

    1. My photos are all stored in my Cloud storage on my iTunes account so I was able to use my iPad/iPhone to grab some of my favorite images that I’ve used on my blog and move them over to Instagram.

      This weekend I’ll take photos and I probably won’t get around to editing until mid-week. Some I will filter through Instagram and some through my photo editing software on my laptop. So as long as you can get your blog photos onto a tablet or smart phone you can transfer them over to Instagram. It just takes a lot of work.

      Hope that answers your questions.

      Like

      1. That makes sense. I have never use itunes for storing photos (didn’t even know you could) so that is a handy tip. I find it hard to blog on a smartphone hence I store most of my pics on my mac. I may have to sync the iphone and the mac to get those photos. Sounded like hard work. Thanks so much for your tip.

        Like

      2. I use my iPad for actual blogging – though I prefer the laptop (I’d kill for a MacBook Air)

        Once you sync the photos to your iTunes photo stream Instagram will pick them up. I can use photos from my camera roll, shared folders, photo stream and saved folders.

        Like

    1. It’s cool checking out everyone’s Blavatar. It is helping me discover new blogs, like yours! I enjoyed the Annabel post and look forward to reading more.

      Like

  2. Hmm, need to work on my Blavatar… I think. However, I already have a Instagram account, but I’m not sure if i can connect it to my blog. Could it be so that some themes do not allow “Latest pics from Instagram”?

    Like

  3. I am not sure if I want to make a fanpage for my blog right now. So I just uploaded a blavatar for the time being. Its just for the temporary though as I am still looking for a better idea:)

    Like

  4. I was wondering why my palm tree was still showing up when I didn’t have a featured image picked out. Now my cow is showing up and I’ve adjusted some of my date and time settings. The things you forget once you’ve got everything set up. Today was a good review of my settings. 🙂

    Like

    1. I know what you mean. I’m still not sure about making a Facebook page, however I shouldn’t knock it until I try it! Good luck! I’ve noticed you already have a lot of people liking your page so far, so you should be fine.

      Like

  5. I love instagram over Facebook. In 18 days I was able to get 50 people to like my account. That would never happen on facebook. I also find Instagram is more interactive (people actually like and comment on your pictures). My username on Instagram is : paws4moment.

    Like

    1. Wow – that is amazing. I am struggling to get to a 100 (I was but after the last update I lost 20 something followers) – How do you get that many followers in that short time, if I may ask?

      Like

      1. Hi. My account is strictly cat pictures. I also try to have a variety of pictures (not just head shots). Also I make sure my pictures are good quality (I will not follow an account that just has blurry or dark photos, lol). Now on the other hand my other account (thescarecrowforest) has only 11 followers and I’ve been doing it for 3 to 4 months, lol. I post pictures of anything and everything on it and people don’t seem to like that. Also I try to follow as many people as I can who have the same interests as me. I’m guessing some types of pictures work on Instagram and some types of pictures don’t.

        Like

  6. I am on the Facebook fan page fan (would like som love here, please) and the instagram should also be up – Now for the blavatar – that needs some more work and thinking

    Like

      1. Thank you!

        My main blog doesn’t have one, just the collage blog (it’s blue). I will check on other browsers to see if it’s showing up …

        Like

  7. I actually made a Blavatar within the first few days of creating my blog. I saw it on other blogs and thought “I had to have one of those”. It is a really cool element to have on your blog to help distinguish your brand. It’s interesting image widgets are mentioned, I have been thinking over ideas to display my social media networks over the last week. I will get started today!

    Like

      1. Thank, I need to alter them a little.

        I uploaded each one in the add media panel, then created a image widget and linked them to each website.

        Like

    1. Facebook and Twitter are more interactive in that you have to really get out there and retweet or share or post, things of that nature…a blog is different as people tend to find you…twitter especially it’s very time consuming…you need to get in there and twit fairly often and talk to people or use #s…Facebook is a bit of a combination of both…it’s a different beast…I know I have a couple of pages on Facebook, and one gets seen by hundreds of people, while the other does not…it’s odd…with twitter I noticed the more I engage with others, the more I get out of it, but that is monumentally time consuming and depending on what you do it for may not be useful. It’s really about your intention for who is reading your stuff and what you want to get out of it and find where ‘the audience’ is so to speak. Don’t forget though, if people know you don’t use that (meaning you have made comments about that) they won’t go there as they know you won’t really post there…Hope this makes sense…

      Like

  8. I have facebook, twitter and instagram on there…thoughts? Does anyone have a problem with the widgets? Also I changed the header…thank you all for the feedbacks!

    Like