“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Childhood lesson #2,914. I strongly agree with this, however, when it comes to managing your website and brand, childhood lesson #2,914 goes out of the window. Yes, content is key, but the visual appeal of your website is extremely important. When you brand yourself and your website, you are showing the world who you are and what you have to offer them, be it your readers or potential companies seeking a partnership.
There are so many graphic designers and brand specialists out there that will gladly craft this image for you… for a price. Skip the hefty price tag and do it yourself! Utilize these three principles and you will be well on your way to crafting a brand that accurately represents you and what your website has to offer.
- Step One: Who are you as a blogger or company? Articulate your writing style and voice in order to figure out who your target audience is.
- Step Two: Design the key elements of your site.
- Step Three: Be Consistent. Maintain your social media image and create a unified look that effectively expresses your message.
Step One: Finding Your Identity
» Who are you as a blogger or company?
When I first started Progression By Design, I didn’t really have a clear direction that I wanted to go in. Two years later, I have finally articulated the direction and niche that I want my blog to be in. There is nothing wrong with taking your time, but the sooner you can identify just who exactly you are as a blogger or a company, the bigger advantage that you have. What are these advantages you may ask? Finding your direction will help you target your audience. When you identify your target audience you are able to identify what posts, content, and products will most appeal to your readers. You no longer need to waste time trying to figure out if a post will be successful or not, because you already know the types of things that your readers like.
» Identifying a Target Audience
Sit down with a pen and paper and write out as many words as you can that describe your blog, website, or company and what it is that you want to talk about.Now take these words that you came up with and narrow them down to three categories or less. For example, my blog categories would be fashion, lifestyle/college, and interior design.
Next, identify some key information about your target audience. Fill out this questionnaire that I wrote. It may seem a bit silly at first, but I promise identifying and keeping this information in mind when you are creating content for your website is extremely helpful.
Step Two: Design The Key Elements of Your Site
» Let There Be Color
The first step to creating a cohesive visual look to your website is choosing your color palette. I had a tough time with this at first because my go to safety net is black and white- clearly the opposite of colorful. So I thought about the colors that I am naturally drawn to. I wear a lot of bright patterns and colors (ironically not black and white) so I knew that I wanted Progression by Design to feature several colorful elements. If you are completely stumped and in need of some color inspiration check out Design Seeds. There are SO MANY amazing color palettes available that are sure to inspire.
» Design Your Logo
This is literally the visual representation of your website so designing an effective one is crucial! It took me several weeks to come up with one that I truly liked, but trying several different ones was worth the extra time and work. This being said, don’t stress about it. Sometimes it takes a while to come up with a winner. If you are stuck, head over to Pinterest or another blog for inspiration.
» Select a Font Set
Identify two or three fonts that you will use for your website’s heading, body text, and other design elements such as your blog post images. Here is a great article that is really helpful when selecting complimentary fonts for your website.
» Create a Signature Post Image Style
Creating memorable, appealing images to represent your posts is extremely important when branding your website. These images (when done correctly) are the types of images that will get repinned out the wazoo on Pinterest and subsequently, become a large driver of traffic to your website. You want people to be able to identify where the image came from before they even see that it is from your website. Develop a style and stick to it! Use similar colors to your website if possible, and when using text overlays, the same fonts. Here are some examples of post images that I have used in the past. Do you see a pattern? For more inspiration on post images check out my Graphic Design Love board on Pinterest.
For a more detailed guide to finding your target audience and creating the visual elements on your website check out this workbook. I freaking love Regina! Seriously ya’ll if you want to grow your blog and brand, she’s your girl! Well I am too… but so is she!
Step Three: Remain Consistent
>> Establish the Same Identity Across All Social Media Platforms
Visually, your social media accounts should look cohesive. For example, my Twitter cover is an image of fresh cut grass which highlights one of the prominent design elements on my website. Get creative! Don’t limit yourself to just using your brand’s logo everywhere. Consider utilizing other visual elements to illustrate your brand. I love that Carly from the College Prepster used different objects to create a fun, unique Facebook cover photo for her website.
Creating a successful brand identity is not just limited to the visual side of things. Consistently posting relative, informative, and pretty content across your various social media platforms sets your standard of excellence. Your goal is to teach your followers (and the public) that you will always post strong content that is not only relative to their lives, but content that looks pretty too! Your followers will come to expect no less, and that my dears, is a really good thing! I talk more about becoming an influencer in my post all about dominating pinterest!
Wrapping It All Up
Take the time to consider your audience, and create a visual representation of your brand and what it has to offer them. Create a website branding mood board like I did, and use that to construct the elements on your website. Take some of those design elements from your web design and translate them to your different social media accounts! The ultimate goal is to create a consistently beautiful package that wholeheartedly represents your brand and it’s message across all platforms at all times.
Happy designing everyone! Let me know if you have any specific questions on the creation of my site, or the creation of yours! I would love to help!