How to design a kick-ass brand for your blog
A quick DIY guide to branding your blog.
When starting a blog you want your blog design to look professional. There is nothing worse than visiting a poorly designed blog and wanting to leave straight away, even though the content might have been great.
To avoid your blog having this effect on your readers, it’s important that you put thought into the design of your brand and blog. There is no need to hire a top notch designer, you can create a professional looking blog for free by following the design process in this post.
Grab a pen and paper and get ready to design an eye-popping brand for your blog!
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designing your brand
A lot of new bloggers think your brand is your logo. This is not entirely true. A brand is much more than that. Your brand is the whole experience your audience get when interacting with your business. From your website design to your social media posts to the way your audience feels when they read your blog posts.
Before designing your brand, ask yourself the following questions:
Who is your target audience?
To be able to create a brand that your readers connect to, you need to know your target audience. Think about who you’re writing your blog posts for and what you’re going to help them with. Answer the following questions:
- Are you writing for men or women?
- What age group are they in?
- What is their profession?
- What are they struggling with?
- What do they want to achieve?
If you need more help defining your target audience and planning your blog, please grab my Ultimate Blog Planner Workbook below.
What is your brand personality?
Once you’ve established your target audience, you need to create a brand personality that will connect with this audience. Write down the following:
- What are your brand’s 3 core values?
- Which words would you use to describe your brand. Eg: attentive, cooperative, helpful, knowledgeable, passionate, practical, radical, reliable, resourceful, witty. Write down 3-5 describing words.
- How do you want your audience to feel when interacting with your brand?
What is your mission statement?
A mission statement is a clearly stated purpose of your business. It describes who you are, what you do, who you do it for and how you benefit your clients.
Here’s my mission statement as example:
Sassy Boss helps non-tech women start a blog and grow it into a profitable online business.
Take some time to write down your mission statement.
Your brand name
Selecting the right name for your brand is crucial. It’s often the first impression your audience gets of your business.
A good brand name:
- conveys your brand’s personality
- connects with your target audience
- is short and punchy
- is memorable
Write down several options for brand names and check if they are available as a domain name in the search box below.
Aim to get the .com or .co extension eg: sassyboss.co.
Also check if your name is available for your main social media accounts. It can be hard to find a domain name that is available, so when you do make sure to secure it asap!
Always Google your brand name to see what comes up. Be careful if there’s already an existing business or brand with the same or a very similar name. If this business has trademarked their name you could get in trouble for using the same name.
Okay, you’ve done most of the hard work. Now it’s time for the fun stuff.
Brainstorm the look of your brand
A great way to brainstorm the look of your brand is to create a mood board. Hop on Pinterest and create a new board for your brand, you can set this as a private board if you want.
Now you want to search for images, fonts, colours and anything else that reflect the feel of your brand. Pin plenty of images, you can sift through it later and delete what doesn’t suit the rest of the board.
Create a colour palette
From your mood board pick a colour that you would like to use for your logo. You can use this free colour picker tool for this.
Simply upload the image that has the colours that you would like to use and select the colour.
When you’ve found the main colour that you’d like to work with you’ll want to add a few other colours or shades to create a colour palette. You can do this with the colour picker again or Canva has a colour palette generator you could use to create your own colour palette from a photo you upload.
To simplify your website design process, make sure your colour palette has:
- 1 or 2 main colours
- a darker shade/black/grey for your body text
- a lighter tint for alternative background colour
- a brighter version of your main colour for highlights like button-hover or link hovers
You can use coolors.co to find lighter tints or darker shades of your main colours. Here’s an example of my colour palette:
Design a Logo
There is no need to design a fancy logo when you can easily create a font based logo in Canva. Canva is an easy-to-use editor with a large selection of fonts and logo templates.
Below I’ll guide you through the 10 steps of creating a logo in Canva:
1. Go to Canva. Select the Logo category and browse through their logo templates.
2. Choose a template you’d like to work with.
3. Replace the template text with your business name.
4. Delete any elements you don’t want.
5. Try out different fonts.
6. If your business name consists of more than one word, try different font combinations as well.
7. Add your brand colours.
8. Play around with positioning.
9. Play around with letter spacing.
10. Play around with size.
Here’s an example of a logo with two different fonts, different text sizes, the words are positioned on top of each other and the letter spacing of the bottom word has been increased.
Have a bit of fun playing around and design a few different logos. When you have created 3 logos it’s time to take a break. Take your dog for a walk and clear your head.
Look at your logo again with fresh eyes and pick the one that stands out the most. Make your final tweaks and edits and Boom! you’ve got yourself an awesome logo!
Putting your brand together
High five, you designer boss you! You’ve created all the ingredients for a kick-ass brand, now all you have to do is put it all together.
The main thing about creating a cohesive brand is consistency. Being consistent with your branding will help create familiarity, recognition and trust within your readers.
Be consistent with:
Your voice: the way you talk to your audience. The best way to be consistent is to be yourself and write as you would talk to a friend, not too formal unless your blogging niche or audience requires you to be more formal.
Your fonts: pick one or two easy-to-read fonts for your headings and body text and one or two more unique fonts for every now and then use on Pinterest pins and social media posts. You can find free fonts on dafont.com or use the fonts available on Canva.
Your colours: use your colour palette when designing your website, social media post, your news letter etc.
Your profile picture: use the same profile picture on your blog and all your social media platforms. Try to use your brand colours in your clothing or background to make you really stand out.
Your blog images: Try to be consistent with your blog’s images. Are your images super colourful, more muted, monochrome or pastels?
Your social media posts: Canva has great templates for Facebook posts, Instagram posts and Pinterest pins. Choose a template and add your brand colours and fonts and save it. Every time you need a Facebook post, you’ll have a branded template to start with.
Your blog/website design
Now you’ve got all your brand ingredients, you can start designing your website. If you are new to web design I highly recommend investing in a premium theme. Premium themes are a lot easier to edit than free themes. They also have lots of template pages that you can start your design with. All you have to do is edit them to suit your brand and replace the content.
Premium themes also come with great support, so if you get stuck with a problem, all you have to do is ask your question in the support section of the theme’s website.
WordPress themes I recommend
A great theme for beginners is Divi. It has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor and comes with more than 20 pre-made layouts, making it easy for you to create the look you want.
For $89 you get a year access to all themes and plugins on the Elegant Themes site. They offer a 30-day-money-back guarantee, so it’s risk free!
Another great theme I love (and use for this blog) is Enfold. It comes with 38 demo sites that you can import and replace the content of. Or you can start building from scratch with the super easy-to-use drag-and-drop layout builder.
It is a well maintained theme and they constantly improve it and add new features. The best thing about this theme is their dedicated support staff, no question is too big or small they always help you out.
You can buy Enfold for $59.
If you are not much of a designer and you would like a gorgeous feminine design for your blog, you have to check out Bluchic Themes. They have a huge selection of beautifully designed themes that will make your blog look stunning and professional.
Bluchic even supplies training videos to help you create the perfect look for your blog.
Most Bluchic Themes are available for $79.
Designing your Website
Once you’ve installed your theme you can add your brand colours in hex code format. Here’s a screenshot of the Enfold theme’s ‘General Styling’ options, to show you how easy it is to design your site with Enfold.
Design your Home page
After you’ve added your brand colours and your logo to your site you’ll want to design your homepage. You could use your blog page as your home page but I’d like to create 2 separate pages: a home page and a blog page.
In the WordPress Dashboard (Settings > Reading) you can choose wether you use your blog or a static page as your home page. (You will have to create a home page first for it to show up in the dropdown.)
Having a dedicated home page will allow you to add more info and help your site visitors find their way around your site.
When designing your home page try to keep it simple and uncluttered. You want your visitors to find what they are looking for in the shortest amount of time.
Check out the Home Page Design Template below. It has a freebie opt-in below the header so your site visitors can sign up to your email list and receive a helpful gift (a cheatsheet/workbook/checklist etc.)
Below this they can find your latest blog posts and on the right is a sidebar where you can introduce yourself and include a brief mission statement explaining what you do and who you help.
HOME PAGE DESIGN TEMPLATE
Last minute hot tips to make your brand POP!
Add a favicon
If you want to add a little professional touch to your blog, you could create a favicon. A favicon (short for favourite icon) is that little logo that shows up next to your blog name in the browser tab. It makes your blog recognisable when someone has 22 tabs open and it’s just super cute.
You can create a favicon with Canva. The size should be 32×32 or 40×40 (Canva won’t let you create a document smaller than 40 pixels.) You can use a small picture, the first letter of your blog name or a logo icon. Make sure it has your brand colours!
Here’s my favicon as example:
Create a gravatar
Leaving comments on other blog posts is a great way to get your brand noticed. But no one is going to notice your brand if your profile picture next to your comment is the generic grey gravatar.
You need to create a branded profile pic asap, so you’ll stand out in the blog comments.
If you have no idea how to create a gravatar, don’t worry, it’s super easy. Follow this quick tutorial here.
Congratulations you’ve designed your own brand!
I hope this tutorial has helped you design a kick-ass brand for your blog. Let me know how you went in the comments below and please share this post if you found it helpful!