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Blogging 101: Extend Your Brand

Splash your look across the web, and extend your brand with one of the following: a custom Blavatar, a custom image widget, or a Facebook fan page.

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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?

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

Nike. Coke. Zappos. Target. You may not use them, but you know what they are and what 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.

Need sources for free images? Here are a few of our faves.

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.

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.

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.

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