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New year, new blog?
With the new year coming up, a lot of people start thinking about changes they want to make to their blog to make it even better. There’s always small improvements to be made when it comes to blogging – even if that improvement is a completely new look to freshen things up a bit. I recently gave my blog a new look when I moved over to WordPress and I am so happy with it now! I do tend to get bored easily so I will probably change things up again next year some time, but for now I’m loving how it looks. Some of you may know that I’m a Graphic Designer so I know a thing or two when it comes to branding anyway, and today I’m sharing a few tips for those that want to take their blog to the next level.
Pick a strong name.
It’s likely that the majority of bloggers have already chosen a name and have no plans to change it, ever. However, if you are toying with changing yours or maybe you want a complete re-brand including the name – then pick a good one. It’s very likely that once you choose your blog name you’re stuck with it so make sure you like it for a start. It’s so difficult these days to pick something you like and then find the domain name or social media handle available, so if you happen to find one that is, grab it with both hands and stick with it. Some of you may know that my blog used to be ‘Just Little Things’ and I couldn’t have the social handle for it but everyone knew me by it. I played with the decision to change it to my name for months before I actually made the move and I’m so glad I did as I feel like my branding is so much better now. Having said this, a lot of people (like me) have a name that is really common so if there’s loads of bloggers with your name already then it’s probably best to have something more unusual. If there’s a blogger with your name as their URL and they have a substantial following, you’re not going to want to go down the same route as you’ll just get mixed up. There’s plenty of things you can come up with related to your blog, your interests, your life. Just brainstorm and maybe ask some friends or family to help and I’m sure you will find something you love before you know it!
Start with a good logo.
With all visual branding, the logo is where you should start. I recently switched up my logo to create something solid that I could use to bind everything together. I feel like this gives you a much more professional look and helps brands to recognise you easily. I opted for a symbol type of logo for mine, as I find it easier to use on different things like my blog, media kit, invoice, social media etc. I also use it for my Graphic Design business so I tie that in with my blog branding too. A lot of bloggers will just use text for their blog but I would recommend finding a font you like and sticking with it to keep everything simple. If you really want to stand out, hand written typography is a definite winner and it’s what I’ve used in mine to avoid using a font that a lot of people end up going for, which is what I found happened before. Quite often, a font that everyone likes will be going round the blogosphere and so many people end up using it for their logos that it gets a bit repetitive, so I highly recommend hand drawing your own typography or there’s plenty of listings on Etsy where designers will do it for you! I’m terrible for getting bored of my blog logo, but I think that’s mainly because I’m a designer and I’m constantly feeling inspired to update it. If I do decide to give it a little update, I will always make sure I change it on everything I’ve used it on so that it all stays consistent. Try not to change your logo too often, or too much – when you recognise big brands from their logo there’s a reason for that, it’s because they keep the same elements so that they leave a mark.
Consistency is key.
Consistency definitely takes some time to master, but if you keep your content uniform across your blog, social channels and everything else, it definitely looks more business-like. I think this is one of the reasons that I always feel like my instagram grid has to look perfect, because I want everything to stay consistent and within my style. You can keep your branding consistent by sticking with a photography style, choosing a colour palette that’s persistent and like I said before, using the same logo across everything. Another way to stay consistent is to pick a blog niche and keep it, rather than being a beauty blogger one week and a food blogger the next. A mix of both is fine too but make sure you keep up with it.
Style your blog.
Styling your blog is so, so important. The first thing that someone is going to see before working with you, is the homepage of your blog. If it looks unprofessional or not appealing to the eye, then the likelihood that they’ll work with you is reduced a lot. From the logo, fonts, colours, menu’s, categories, and far more – there’s a lot to think about. I think the best thing you can do for your blog is to choose a beautiful theme to do the majority of that work for you. After that, you can alter bits and pieces until you’ve personalised it enough for your tastes. There’s so many gorgeous themes around these days and my current favourites are from the team at Pixelgrade. Pixelgrade Club is a selection of beautiful wordpress themes for bloggers and content creators. There are currently six gorgeous themes in total but they are constantly growing and creating more. There is something for every blogger, lifestyle, food, fashion… you name it!
I’m a big believer in that if you really want to put your all into something, then you should throw yourself in the deep end. When I first started blogging, I didn’t start with a free theme, I bought myself a blogger theme from Etsy that looked good. I was completely new to the blogging world with no followers or readers, but I wanted to make a great first impression – and it worked. I do realise that not everyone has the money to do this and blogging can soon become expensive, but Pixelgrade Club offers you the option to pay monthly so that it’s more affordable. I pay monthly for everything when I can, it’s such a good way to be able to treat yourself to things you can’t afford and some of the payment options are so little that I hardly notice the funds leaving my bank account every month. Pixelgrade give you the option to do this and you can get a gorgeous, unique & professional theme for less than £7 a month. Not only that, but they allow you to switch between any of their themes. This means that you avoid investing a ton of money into a blog theme and hating it 5 minutes later after installing it on your blog, because you can change it! How amazing is that?
It’s $9.95 (roughly £7.50) a month to become a member of Pixelgrade Club, and this gives you access to all of their themes, but you can also have a 14 day trial of a theme of your choice to see if it works for you before you sign up. This gives you enough time to test it out, play around with it and get a feel for it amongst your content. Their themes are modern, sleek and feature everything that you would want your blog to have, so even if you don’t fancy a new look yet, I would still recommend having a quick look and bookmarking them for the future. The Pixelgrade team are so lovely and helpful and will be there with you every step of the way for any questions you have – so knowing you have support whenever you may need it is an added bonus. They work on quality over quantity, so whilst there is only six themes to choose from so far – there will be plenty more in the future.
My two favourites include Gema, not just because of the name 😉 – and also Julia, two beautiful, sophisticated layouts which you can see below.
If you want to try either of these themes out or any of the other themes that Pixelgrade have to offer, you can go to their website and view them here.
Have you re-branded your blog lately?