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7 Branding Guidelines You Need To Define For Your Blog

branding guidelinesYour blog is a canvas ripe and ready for your creative touch. In fact, without that touch your blog is just another website hogging space on the interwebs.

It's the unique combination of your artistry, personality, purpose and style that will take your blog from "eh" to "ooh yeah" and skyrocket you into the world of successful blogging.

That combination is called your brand identity!

Creating your signature brand identity is what is going to set you apart online. It's what everything you do for your business should be built on. Needless to say, it's one of the MOST powerful tools in your brand building arsenal.

To help you create your signature brand identity and turn your blog canvas from drab to fab

Here are 7 branding guidelines you need to define and infuse into your blog {and everything you do across your brand}:

1. VOICE

Every artist has a distinctive expression and style that makes their art completely original. When it comes to branding a blog that is your voice.

No two people use the same lingo, inflection, and approach, which makes your voice arguably the most unique element in your brand identity.

Don’t make the common rookie mistake {I was totally guilty of this!} by underestimating the power of your authentic voice. Without it your blog will very likely end up drowning in the sea of sameness out there. The truth is, your voice should ultimately dictate the other guidelines in your identity. It’s truly THE secret to your success, so it's your job to work tirelessly to find it and build your brand around it.

Bottom line: Own your voice loudly and proudly and make sure everything about your brand seamlessly celebrates it!

2. WEBSITE HEADER

The next essential guidelines you need to define for you blog is your website header. This is the first taste of your visual brand that will greet your visitors. Just like low-budget paints can ruin a painting, a poorly designed header can squander a first impression.

Your header should include:

  • A well-designed logo that includes the name of your brand
  • A tagline that tells a visitor what your brand is about, who it helps and how it will help them
  • A hint of your overall brand style

Be aware of what I call the 'hotdog effect' when designing your website header. You do NOT want to put everything but the kitchen sink in there. Your header is a qualifier for visitors, so its sole purpose is to tell your visitors enough that they can make an informed decision on whether they want to learn more and leave now. Don't cloud that with a bunch of extra distractions.

3. FONTS

Fonts are to a blog what paint brushes are to a painter. You need to find the ones you like best and use them regularly to see consistent results.

Without defining specific fonts for the different typographical elements on your blog your brand identity will be lacking the consistency you need to foster brand recognition and make your content a lot more difficult to scan and read.

There are 3 fonts you need to define for your blog:

  • Headline font
  • Secondary headline font or accent font
  • Body font

The best place to source out fonts for your blog is Google Web Fonts. All of Google's fonts are web ready AND they make it scary easy to load them onto your blog by generating the line of code you need to paste to your WordPress theme to make the fonts available to you. We all love ease and convenience, right?!

4. COLOR PALETTE

Aroma dazzles our senses by bringing out emotional associations from our lives and experiences on a visceral level. Colors do the same thing for a blog.

The unique color combination you choose will help you emotionally and visually stimulate your visitors while making your brand identity truly signature.

There are 5-6 colors you need to define for your blog:

  • ONE Dominant color (Iconic color associated with your brand)
  • ONE Primary Action Color (for calls to action, links and buttons)
  • ONE Light Color (for fonts and backgrounds)
  • ONE Dark Color (for fonts and backgrounds)
  • ONE to TWO Accent Colors (to use in your images and on your blog when you want to stress or highlight something special and interrupt your basic color scheme)

Once you define your color palette you want to consistently pepper your blog with each color in the elements the color was defined for. Consistency is the key to success when it comes to building brand recognition and awareness with your visitors, so keep your color use potent by always using your defined color palette, no ifs, ands, or buts about it!

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5. DECORATIVE ELEMENTS

When done right, frames and enclosures are an organic way to beautify the presentation of art without disturbing the finished product. Defining decorative elements for your brand identity can result in the same type of finishing touch for your blog.

Decorative elements that are perfect for blogs are:

  • Lines/Separators
  • Frames
  • Bullet points
  • Backgrounds {patterns or textures}
  • Icons

Decorative elements are meant to ADD to your brand identity, so If something detracts from your style in any way it should be left out. Like an artist's signature to a painting, use decorative elements in a way that if left out they would not affect how inspiring your identity is.

6. IMAGES

Used the right way and in the right ratio dimension gives art movement. Images, when done right, have the same effect on a blog. It’s not images in their rawest form that creates this movement but the branding guidelines that are infused into them that create the motion. And that motion is in the form of a direct path back to your blog.

It’s only when your visual content is presented in a consistent way that seamlessly showcases the elements of your brand identity that the magic really happens.

There are 5 elements you need to infuse into your blog images:

  • Your color palette
  • Your font theme
  • Any decorative elements you've defined
  • Branded background {whether that's stock photography, a pattern, screenshot, or so on}
  • Watermark

If you make sure your images are infused with these 5 details, you can count on them adding movement. Movement that will keep your readers coming back for more again and again.

7. SOCIAL BUTTONS

After you combine your artistry, personality, purpose and style together into your signature brand identity you’re going to need a gallery to showcase it in. Enter social buttons.

There are two type of social buttons you need for your blog.

Social Profile Buttons

These are buttons that are linked to your specific social profiles, which helps visitors find you on their favorite social platforms.

There are 2 ways you can brand your social profile buttons:

  • With your color palette
  • With a pattern, texture, or shape that's part of your branding guidelines

Social Sharing Buttons

These are the buttons visitors can use to share your blog posts on social media. The only way to create branded social sharing buttons without an ounce of coding is to use the Social Warfare WordPress plugin.

One of the coolest features {and there’s a lot of them} of this plugin is the ability to change the color, shape and style of the buttons. Hint hint, this means you can tweak the color of the buttons to the action color in your color palette.

Here are a couple of examples from folks that have installed the plugin on their blog and use the defined action color in their color palette for the social sharing button color.

Successful Blogging {your very own Sue}

branding your blog

The Branded Solopreneur {yours truly}

Dre-SocialWarfare

Brent Jones Online

branding

When branding a blog you need to start with your voice and strategically define the other 6 guidelines one by one making sure that you stay true to your unique artistry, personality, purpose and style.

Your signature brand identity should end up being a vision that's painlessly and subconsciously burned into a visitor's mind and soul in a way that helps they recognize you anywhere they are on the web.

If you don’t want your blog to end up a harsh and blinding vision or a boring bundle of sameness, either of which is going to send your visitors running, you need to take your time and put great care in defining your blog's branding guidelines. They are the difference between blogging and successful blogging. True story.

Here's to creating a canvas blog your audience will love to consume!


 

brand your blogIf you're looking for a more thorough blueprint for creating your signature brand identity check out my new ebook, Badass Branding for Solopreneurs.

It's a 100+ page instruction manual that guides you through the entire 3 phase brand building process, complete with tons of examples, worksheets, and exercises. It's one of those resources you wonder how you lived without!

Grab your copy HERE.

Here's to your solopreneur success!

Dre

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