[slogan]Blogging 101 is part of a Blogging Master Class series where you can find everything you need to know about taking your blog from hobby to pro. Dana Rohr is a fellow travel blogger who is upping her travel blogging game with help from mentor Jessica Peterson of Global Girl Travels. [/slogan]
There are three things that are essential to having a successful blog: engaging content, beautiful photos, and yes, good blog design. In the marketing world, we call that branding. Just like cattle branding, your blog design — logo, colours, layout, etc. — needs to stick with your readers. In addition, everything you post should have your stamp or brand on it, whether it’s a font, filter, or graphic element.
Your brand should match your personality, but don’t take that too far. Less is more when it comes to the web, so your blog design should be clean and uncluttered, simple to navigate, and easy on the eyes.
I see a lot of very clean but boring blog designs and honestly, not too many are memorable even if the content is aces. That’s why I took the time to customize Global Girl Travels to truly brand it with my personality. I love vintage clothing, travel posters, and fonts, so I worked long and hard on designing my logo. I chose a simple color palette that I stick to in the headers and in graphic design elements like my featured images and even my media kit (a future post will be devoted to designing a killer kit).
I have 17 years of design experience (geez, that makes me feel old), so I did everything myself. I have designed dozens of client logos, sites, and graphics, so get in touch if you’d like to hire me. I’m also offering a new service — a comprehensive blog analysis and 30-minute Skype consultation. This service is available for the first 10 readers for only $250, after which the price goes up to $350. Drop me a line at email@example.com if you’d like my help.
These past few weeks since I’ve decided to devote my life to blogging, I’ve been dreading the inevitable “branding” process. I have zero skills in the styling department, I have my sister Angelica making my blog and all of the graphics in my posts — seriously, I am incapable. While I do pay my sister for helping me out, the real cost of hiring someone to create my logo and brand my blog is $200-plus!
I know. Pretty steep. But think of it this way, the nicer your blog is, the longer people will stay on it; the prettier it is, the more people will visit. It’s an investment for the future.
*cue spooky music*
While at the moment I don’t have $200 to spend on my blog, I’m getting there! It is something I plan to do as I progress. For now, my sister will have to do. (JK. She’s actually super awesome at it. Shhh, don’t tell her I said that.)
Now, I have compiled a list of things that I’m working on in order to eventually hire someone to brand This Girl Is Dana for me.
Perhaps it’s something that will be helpful to you as well!
My Name: This Girl Is Dana
It took me a while to settle on this name. I felt like it was too “meh” and didn’t well describe what I would be blogging about. Eventually I decided it fit best simply because it conveys that whatever is on my blog is me. All the random crazy stuff I do to travel, save, and budget, it’s all me.
The first thing I did after decided to keep this name was buy the domain.
My Blog Description: Travel Classy on a Budget
I can’t even tell you how long it took to come up with this catch phrase. I have two pages of names that got scrapped before I settled on this one.
My sister, Angelica, helped me with this one. She picked a bunch of different colors that I liked, picked shades that would match well together, and keeps a master list of color codes to refer back to whenever she does something for my blog.
This one I’ve changed recently, and it’s probably something you’ll find yourself doing. I got feedback on one of my recent blog posts, and the commenter said, “I love the post, but the weird font made it hard to read.”
I have grand plans for little envelope icons, and a character version of a half black girl with an afro running across a map or a globe with nothing but a carry on suitcase and a cellphone that I’m super excited about.
While I save up the $200 it would cost for me to hire a blog designer, I’m clarifying what exactly I want my blog to look like, so that when the day comes, I can explain what I want.
Blog Branding Costs
Global Girl Travels (ahem, the blog you’re reading now) charges $400 for logos and $1,500-plus for customized WordPress templates loaded with your content.
Unable to afford a blog designer and you don’t have a very useful group of sisters to help you? No problem! I bought my current template at Designer Blogs and it was only $15! They also design blogs and templates, but of course that’s more expensive.
As a beginner blogger, I highly recommend purchasing one of their ready made, customizable templates, just so that you can start blogging right away.
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Read part 1 of this series: Blogger vs. WordPress.