Brand! It’s what’s going to make your website stick in the minds of visitors, long after your competitors have been forgotten. So how do you make this happen?
Have you noticed how every page or post on this website is similar? Take a look around, view some other posts and you’ll see that each page is similar in appearance. That’s because I have key elements of a brand that, when taken as a whole, become a complete character set for my online business.
All my headings are the same color, a burgundy tone that I chose as part of my brand. My fonts are all the same, my text size is all the same. Do you get the picture?
Consistency of appearance is crucial with your blog, without it your visitors will get confused. Can you imagine if you came across an article here with a green heading! It just wouldn’t fit would it? You may think you’ve been taken to another website.
Although your branding is not something that needs to be setup in the first weeks of starting a blog, I’d suggest it would be a good idea to do it before gaining a fair amount of traffic.
Let’s go through why and how to give yourself a brand.
You Are a Business
I’m all for promoting anyone that wants to dabble in affiliate marketing, to make this a full time online business, rather than just a hobby.
Sure, you may start this journey out as a hobby to dip your toe in the water and get a feel for what it takes to make money online. But ultimately, if you can make $20-$50 per month, then there’s no reason you can’t make $1000-$5000 per month.
So getting the idea in your mind that this can be a full time endeavour, you’re going to require consistent branding. By this, I mean displaying your logo on every post/page you publish. Having your logo and favicon appear on all your social media accounts and making your website and social media look like they are as one.
If you outsource services, or purchase items with invoices, your templates need to be branded. Your email marketing needs to display your brand and downloads such as eBooks also should show this information.
I don’t want you to be overwhelmed by all this, it can all be implemented as you go along. However, all good online businesses will have consistent branding, so you will want to keep this in mind.
Further to this, a brand not only gives you an identity, but also an authority which will come in good time. You’re working to become an industry expert in your field by offering a GREAT SOURCE of information. You won’t start out as an expert, nobody does. It will happen as you gain credibility over time. Branding yourself as this expert shows your readers that you mean business.
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Your Domain Matters
Before I head into the 4 key elements of a brand, I’d just like to touch on domain names.
Have you ever come across a domain name that doesn’t fit with what the website is about? I’m not talking about an unusual website name, I’m hinting at a website named something like ‘Bikehike.com’ which is actually about mental health.
Yes, your domain name does matter when it comes to instances like this. It’s all part of your brand, and I’m unsure how you’d make the connection from ‘Bikehike’, to health. I’m also fairly sure search engines won’t like this either, as their algorithms attempt to make sense of what your website is all about.
You can read more about finding domain names here, which advises how you can choose an unusual domain name. Instances that are acceptable like this are Buzzsumo, Spotify or Etsy. Although these names don’t automatically link to what makes up the website, they don’t begin with words that Google will associate with a different category (like bike or hike).
It also just makes sense to choose a domain that highlights what your website is promoting. So have a good think about your domain and brand, they are all encompassing.
The 4 Keys to Your Brand
Amongst the main key ingredients that you need to identify you from everyone else, it a name. This includes a domain name like we just talked about, and a site name. Most of the time this will be the same but you make want your site name abbreviated, or vice versa.
For instance, you may have a domain called ‘bigbadbarry.com’, but as a brand you’d like ‘BBD’. Alternatively, many “experts” suggest the shorter a domain the better. So you may opt for ‘bbd.com’ and be branded ‘Big Bad Barry’.
It doesn’t really matter which way you do this, but keep in consistent. Don’t go switching it around on various social media sites. Your name is very important and in time, will become your identity along with a logo should you decide to use one.
So, this brings me to the logo part of your brand. As I indicated above, you don’t necessarily need a logo as part of your brand. You could just use your site name as your brand. Do you recognise this one!
Google are not the only brand that make use of their site name. What about the following brand that emphasise the lettering in their name rather than choose to include a figured logo.
Now, most companies find an icon logo extremely imperative in their brand identity. You may also prefer the inclusion of an icon as part of your logo, and if so, don’t just use any template you come across. I’d certainly encourage you to add a icon as your brand, as I think they can look fantastic when done right.
I’ve also seen some ‘shockers’ that look worse than when my daughter was attempting to apply makeup at the age of 3! (She’s now 14 and can make herself look 21!)
Anyway, your logo can be created in a number of ways but first, have an idea in your head what you think you’d like it to appear as. If you’re unsure, there any many online logo creators that can give you ideas.
Once you can see an image in mind, head on over to Canva. This is a free tool that you can use to create a free logo. There are many online logo makers out there that claim to be free, until you intend to download it. Then it will cost you!
If you don’t have an account with Canva, create one, or just sign in with Google. Click on ‘Create a Design’. Then choose the ‘Logo’ option.
You’ll then be presented with loads of free template designs down the left column. When I say loads, I mean hundreds.
From here it’s just a matter of manipulating the logo you’ve chosen. You can delete parts, change colors, scale elements, insert text, add an opacity and more. It’s a great free tool to get you started with a logo for your new website.
Logo’s with your site name are also a popular branding technique, rather than just a logo.
Including a site identity will let visitors know what it is that your website is about. It’s a tagline or slogan if you will. You can add this to your logo if you like but it’s not a necessity.
You can place this identity slogan underneath your logo, or only have it strategically placed throughout your website. Although I don’t have mine placed with my logo, I do have a site identity, which is ‘Where Online Marketing Becomes Fun’.
Side Note: I have this slogan because although a lot of work is required to make it big in affiliate marketing, it can be enjoyable along the way. You get to create images and manipulate them, dabble in other programs that can help you out like Visme or ShortPixel, check how many visitors are on your website as one time via your analytics and my favourite, communicating with the community at the best affiliate marketing platform on the planet.
This site identity gives your website purpose and gives your visitors an insight in what message you are attempting to portray. As you can see with my logo, along with the site identity, lying on the beach working on my website to bring in money is appealing. And how fun is making money whilst you lie on the beach!
Critically, don’t add too many colours to your brand. I’ve done it in a past life and it just didn’t work. There are a few brands that have got away with multiple colours such as the NBC, Alpha Romeo and Apple’s previous logo before it was axed in 1997 by Steve Jobs.
However, in general, the majority of logo’s use 1-3 colours because they are so much more appealing on the eye, and easier to work with. I personally find the use of 1 or 2 colours works best. Obviously Steve Jobs does also, as he changed the apple to the simple black or white icon we see today.
Another thing to keep in mind, is to avoid gradients if possible. The use of gradients make things a little more complicated as it can make text hard to read. It can also be hard to reproduce on various types of media.
Gradients can also give a washed look, which can make it look faded or old.
However, there are some gradients that can work but they generally tend to make it look like a glow, which is intended. These are example’s that have worked well with gradients for this reason.
If you’re just beginning your blog and are trying to create a brand for yourself, try to keep it simple. Use 1-3 flat colours and head over to Canva to get a template.
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A brand is extremely important to your online business plan and should be shown prominently on every page of your website. Each of these 4 key elements plays a critical part to keeping connected with your readers.
I can’t emphasize enough, how keeping the same colours, fonts, typography size and general layout of each post you create, will brand you an authority. Any returning visitor will know exactly what to expect when they read your posts, and that’s the way it should be.
You may get further down the track and decide that you no longer like the brand you originally came up with. That’s perfectly fine, you can change your brand and give it a more modern feel. By this time you’ve hopefully got a decent audience that reads your blog, so you’ll want to notify them of this change.
Otherwise your visitors may think they’ve arrived at the wrong place. Changing brand is a fairly large job down the track, as there is all the social media channels to amend. Not to mention any video branding you’ve done on YouTube.
My advice would be, while you’re creating content at the beginning of your blogging journey, work on a branding template as a side job to implement a few months down the track. Don’t worry if anyone visits your website in the meantime, the first few months of a website rarely gets much traffic.
Try to perfect it as much as possible so you can keep it forever. Nobody ever gets it perfect, but we can at least try.
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The opinions in this article are solely mine, are are not intended to offend or discriminate. All information in this review has been researched on the public domain of the internet.