To build a strong brand, you have to assess your blog, top to bottom. Today you’ll figure out what’s inconsistent or unhelpful — and start to fix it.
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Some of us have purely personal sites where we discuss the day-to-day, while others are trying to create an online presence or use our blogs as a springboard for other projects. No matter which describes you — or whether you’re a bit of both — you’re not just a blogger: you’re a brand.
You may never be Coca-Cola or Apple, but you can still use good branding to grow your blog.
Today’s assignment: audit your brand — look at all the ways you communicate information about your blog, and make sure they’re consistent, focused, and say what you want them to say.
Why do this?
- Because every choice you make, from header image to background color to widget title, contributes to you brand (or hurts it).
- Because a strong brand creates an emotional connection with readers, and that connection is what keeps them coming back.
A strong brand is more than a logo: it’s a guarantee. When readers see something associated with your brand — a post on your site, a guest post, a tweet, an email — they know what to expect, be that a laugh, a great DIY project, a recipe, parenting advice, or whatever else you kids are blogging about. It’s unique to you, and it’s distinctive.
The good news: you’re already a brand! As soon as you chose a theme, picked a blog name, and started publishing, you announced to the world, “This is the place on the internet where you come to find XYZ.” The better news: you can shape it even further, and make sure your brand is helping you meet your goals.
First, focus on your goal. Think back to yesterday: why do you blog? What do you want to accomplish? What is the thing you’d like your blog to be known for? This will be the lens you use to dissect your blog.
Second, examine your blog from header to footer. Consider your theme. Look at every widget, page, and image and ask: does this clarify and reinforce my focus? How will this help me meet my goal? Here’s a checklist to get you going. Each point includes a link to more info:
- Does my theme match my blog’s intent? What about my font and color choices?
- What are my title and tagline saying? What about my post titles? My About page?
- Do the titles of my widgets and my calls to action contribute to my brand?
- Do I have a consistent visual identity? Am I choosing images that support my brand, both in posts/pages and widgets?
- Are there elements that are counter to my brand? Why have I included them? What role do they play?
- Does all this carry through in the other places my blog has a presence — Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or forums/sites where I’m active?
Third, start introducing changes that reinforce your brand. Make one update today. You don’t have to burn things down and rebuild — just start making tweaks that move your site closer to your vision, and watch them add up. Here are some easy starting points:
- Add or update a tagline to give more context to your title.
- Customize your widget titles and comment prompt.
- Use your own photos to create custom image widgets or a custom header.
- Add a text widget with a pithy description of your blog’s mission.
- Create an email address for your site, using your custom domain or a free yourgreatblogname@gmail address.
Questions? Ask! Not sure if your blog is giving off the right vibe? Share your sites and ideas in The Commons for feedback from fellow bloggers.