Category: Blogging Basics

Branding Your Blog for Beginners

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to level up your online presence, understanding the what and why of branding is crucial. Here are a few tips for beginners on branding your blog- what it is, why is it important and how to do it:

What is Branding?

Picture this: you’re strolling down the street, and you catch a glimpse of iconic golden arches. Immediately, you know it’s McDonald’s. That is branding. When it comes to your blog, branding is more than just a fancy logo or a catchy name. It’s the overall experience, the feeling that your readers associate with your content. Branding is about creating a cohesive identity that resonates with your audience.

How to Brand Your Blog

Building a Consistent Brand Identity:

Think of your blog as a person. To create a strong brand identity, you need consistency. Choose a color palette that represents your blog’s vibe. Are you all about bright and cheerful or sophisticated and minimalistic? Pick out your visuals, fonts, and style. When your readers see your blog, they should instantly know it’s you.

Creating a Unique Tone:

You have a specific way of speaking. Just like that, your blog needs a distinctive tone that expresses who you are. Are you the sarcastic blogger who keeps it real, or the helpful friend who offers practical advice? Find your style and stick to it. A consistent tone makes your writing authentic and helps you connect with your readers.

Establishing Trust and Credibility:

Imagine you’re scrolling through a blog. The colors are all over the place, the writing style changes from casual to technical (Chat GPT, is that you?), and it feels like a wild rollercoaster of inconsistency. Would you trust that blog? Probably not. Building a strong and cohesive brand helps establish trust and credibility. A well-branded blog appears professional, reliable, and like it knows its stuff. You want your readers to feel like they’re in good hands, so consistency is key. If you’re just starting out or if you’re blogging for fun you probably don’t care about branding. But in the world that we live in, almost everyone can be found online and whether you care about branding or not, people WILL find your blog and they will make assumptions about it (which will then affect your personal brand). I used to think that this blog was private (way back in the beginning when I didn’t have anything personal about me posted here) but I was always hearing friends and family stumble across my blog. Eventually this blog got me my first Marketing job and then my first writing job. By that time I knew I had to do something about the branding.

Increasing Brand Recognition and Recall:

You know that feeling when a song gets stuck in your head and refuses to leave? That’s the power of recognition and recall. When your brand is strong and consistent, it becomes memorable. It’s like having a catchy jingle that’s impossible to forget. The more your readers recognize and remember your brand, the more they’ll share it with others, and that’s great for growing your blog.

Tips for Branding Your Blog as a Beginner:

If you’re just starting out, here are a few tips to help brand your blog:

  • Choose a color palette that reflects your style and niche (a great hack for this is to do some research on colours and their meanings)
  • Create a logo or wordmark that captures your blog’s essence
    Be consistent with your fonts and typography choices
  • Develop a style guide for your blog, including image filters and design elements
  • Maintain a consistent tone throughout your writing

Branding your blog isn’t just about looking pretty; it’s about creating an unforgettable experience. By having a consistent brand identity, a unique tone, and building trust and recognition, you’re setting yourself up for success in the blogosphere.

Looking for more Branding and Digital Marketing tips? Follow my Marketing blog, The Digital Unicorn for more tips.

5 Tools I Wish I Knew as A Beginner Blogger

I remember starting my blog and being so proud of myself. I had a little piece of the internet that belonged to me. But as time went on, I started realising things about my blog that were off. For starters, I had no pictures. Or links. How were other people doing that? Was I a bad blogger? As with most things in life, blogging is something where you learn by doing (or lots of Google). I am hoping to save you some time by sharing the 5 tools I wish I knew about as a beginner blogger.

1. Canva

Canva wins first place because I had zero clue how I managed as a blogger before Canva. Canva can be used to create design assets for your blog, email, social media and so much more. I use Canva for work, for blogging and even for wishing family members on special days. If you don’t know what Canva is or haven’t tried it yet, GO NOW!!!! This is an excellent way for non-graphic designers to create designs.

2. Planable

Soo full disclosure…November and December posts have been planned on Planable- which I have only just discovered. I’ve been blogging for over a decade. I do not know why I am only finding Planable now (hey, we live and learn, right?)

3. Buffer

Buffer is great for scheduling social media posts. And if you haven’t started scheduling social media posts, I strongly suggest you look into this. It is SUCH a game-changer. Simply draw up a social media calendar (or decide how often you want to post), and use Buffer to schedule these posts in advance. Not sure which social media platforms you should be using? Here’s a few steps to choosing your social media platforms.

4. WordPress App

Using the WordPress App is a quick and easy way to draft out blog posts. While I don’t typically post live from the app, I do love using it to write on the go (some of my more emotional posts are done on the app while the content-heavy blog posts are done via laptop).

5. Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you access to cool information such as where is your audience located, what devices are they using to access your blog and which are the most popular blog posts or pages on your blog. By simply signing up, Google will walk you through the steps for connecting your blog and voila, instant access to user demographics.

Do you use any of these tools or do you have your own set of blogger tools that you’re obsessed with? Let me know below!

7 Steps to Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms

Choosing the right social media platforms for your blog is a vital decision. While there are many social media platforms available, not all of them are suitable for every blog. Here are some steps to help you choose the right social media platforms for your blog:

Step 1: Define your target audience

The first step in choosing the right social media platforms for your blog is to define your target audience. Who are you writing for, and where do they spend their time online? Different social media platforms attract different demographics, so it’s essential to understand your audience’s preferences and habits.

Step 2: Determine your goals

What are your goals for using social media? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your blog, or engage with your audience? Different social media platforms excel at different goals, so it’s essential to determine what you want to achieve with social media before choosing which platforms to use.

Step 3: Research social media platforms

Once you understand your audience and goals, it’s time to research different social media platforms to determine which ones align with your objectives. Some popular platforms for bloggers include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and TikTok. Each platform has unique features and strengths, so research each one carefully.

Step 4: Evaluate the platform’s features

When evaluating social media platforms, it’s essential to consider their features. For example, if your blog is highly visual, you may want to focus on platforms that emphasize photos and videos, such as Instagram or TikTok. If you’re looking to build a professional network, LinkedIn may be the best platform for you.

Step 5: Consider the platform’s engagement levels

It’s also important to consider the engagement levels of each social media platform. Some platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, are highly interactive, while others, such as LinkedIn, are more focused

on professional networking. Choose a platform that aligns with your blogging goals and audience preferences.

Step 6: Start small

It’s okay to start with one or two social media platforms and then expand as you grow. Don’t feel like you need to be on every social media platform from the beginning. Focus on platforms that align with your audience and goals, and then expand as needed.

Step 7: Be Open to Trial and Error

Maybe you start on a social media platform and change your mind. It’s okay. Be sure to give your platform of choice atleast a few months as a trial run. If it doesn’t work out, you can move on to something else.

By understanding your audience, goals, and the unique features and strengths of each platform, you can choose the best platforms for your blog and start building your social media presence.

10 Things to Do Before Your Blog Launches

Whether you’re blogging for fun or for business, there are several tasks you should complete before your blog goes live. Here are 10 key things you should do before launching your blog (There’s also a downloadable checklist at the end of this blog post).

1. Pick a Blog Name:

Choosing a unique and memorable blog name is crucial for branding and recognition. Brainstorm ideas that reflect your blog’s theme or niche. Once you’ve settled on an idea or a few options, check if the domain is available as well as social media handles.

2. Purchase Domain and Hosting:

Invest in a reliable domain registrar and web hosting service. Everyone has their own preference. I use Elitehost and I’ve never had an issue. Be sure to select a hosting plan that is suited to your wallet and your blog needs. You need a service provider who is reliable and provides support.

3. Design a Logo on Canva:

Create a logo and header using tools like Canva. Incorporate your blog name, relevant visuals, and colours that represent your brand identity. I talk a bit about branding in this blog post here. Basically you want to keep your colours and fonts consistent. Designing an attractive logo and header will make your blog look more professional.

4. Draft 4 to 5 Blog Posts:

Before launching your blog, prepare a sizable chunk of content by drafting four to five blog posts. This ensures that you have something ready to publish and keeps your blog active from the start. Focus on delivering valuable information and engaging storytelling that resonates with your target audience.

5. Set Up Your Blog Categories:

Organize your blog posts into relevant categories. This will make navigation easier for your readers. Plan out your categories based on your blog’s main topics and ensure they are clear and intuitive. Well-defined categories help visitors find what they’re looking for and improves overall user experience.

6. Write a Compelling About Me Page:

Craft an engaging and authentic About Me page that introduces you to your readers. Share your story, passion, and expertise to build a connection and establish credibility.

7. Create Eye-Catching Pinterest Pins:

Pinterest is a valuable platform for driving traffic to your blog. Use Canva or another graphic design tool to design images for Pinterest. Optimize your pins with compelling headlines, keywords, and relevant descriptions to attract clicks and shares.

8. Create Social Media Accounts:

Establish a strong social media presence by creating accounts on platforms relevant to your target audience. Consider platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, depending on your blog’s niche and where your audience can be found. Again, consistent branding across all platforms reinforces your blog’s identity and helps you reach a wider audience.

9. Install Yoast SEO:

Optimize your blog’s visibility in search engine results by installing a plugin like Yoast SEO (for WordPress users). This tool provides guidance on optimizing your blog posts for search engines, improving your chances of ranking higher and attracting organic traffic.

10. Publish Your Blog Post:

After completing all of the above, it’s time to hit the publish button and officially launch your blog. Choose your strongest blog post from the ones you drafted earlier and make any necessary final edits. Share your post across your social media platforms and start building a community around your blog.

Launching a blog involves careful planning and execution. Here’s a checklist with the above steps. By following this before your blog goes live, you’ll set a solid foundation for success.

Blogging 101: How Often Should You Blog?

So you’ve created a blog. You wrote your first post or your first few posts. But then life got in the way. Now what? Do you go back after months of radio silence? How often should you be blogging anyway?

There is no one correct answer. Experts say two to three times a week as per a quick Google search. I say that the correct blogging schedule is the one that you can stick to. Maybe that means once a week or once a month. As long as your audience knows when to expect new content from you, you’re good. Just remember that Google also needs to know that your blog is active.

Maybe you don’t feel like blogging constantly but there are things you can do to update your content. Or if you’re feeling too lazy, repurpose your existing content.

Take a look at others in your niche. How often are they blogging? Is it overkill or just enough? If I had time and resources I could get away with daily blog posts on books but things in the corporate world move a little slower.

As long as you continue to engage with your audience in some sort of way, you should be good to go.

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Start a Book Blog

I love my blog. Usually. Sure there are some moments when I’m stumped for content ideas and want to tear my hair out but most of the time I am pretty proud of what I have created. That being said, book blogging always feels like something I fell into rather than consciously going into. And with my years of experience I want to share 5 reasons why you SHOULDN’T start a book blog.

  1. Free Books– First and foremost. Free books. Whenever I mention I have a blog, the first thing people want to know is if I get free things. In fact I remember drawing out plans for a book blog back in ninth grade before an exam with the sole intention of getting free books. The blog never even got started but don’t be that person. Getting free books for a blog is so far off in the future that you are better off not starting a blog at all.
  2. It is hard work– Coming up with content is tough especially if you’re looking for non book-reviews content. Yes your blog can focus on just reviews but everyone does that. You want to stand out. You NEED to stand out.
  3. If you’re a bookworm, this is an expensive hobby– Here, ladies and gentleman we have the real reason I fell into book blogging. To justify my bookworm habits. No I’m not obsessive about books and fictional characters. I’m just a book blogger. For the longest while, my book blog was used as an excuse to purchase more and more books. Now I’m sitting with 3 shelves of unread books and instead of reading them, I’m watching Netflix. (They look at me with judgement in their spines and I can’t stand it).
  4. It is incredibly time-consuming– You need to generate content ideas, get graphics, draft posts and edit. Then you need to promote on social media- preferably different platforms so your work gets exposed to a different audience. I’ve been sitting here for two hours just preparing this post (and okay, occasionally checking Whatsapp but my point stands).
  5. There can be some ugliness– Trolls hating on your feed, copycats duplicating your work and passing it off as theirs and even authors just being downright shady in some cases. Google it. I don’t even want to go there but I remember a story of an author tracking down a book blogger’s physical addreses (What the ACTUAL fudge?)

In life, nothing and no one is perfect. I will always say that you should start a book blog. It’s an amazing experience provided you’re doing it for the right reasons and you know what to expect.

Do you have a book blog? Feel free to leave your link below!

Why You Should Consider Self-hosting Your Blog

It’s been two years since I took the leap and bought myself a domain and hosting. Till today, I still believe that this was the best decision I had ever made. Here are some reasons why you should consider self-hosting your blog if you haven’t already.

Laptop and cellphone

1) You have greater control over your blog- You can have ads (and control the ads that appear on your page) as well as write sponsored content which some blog hosts don’t allow.

2) Plug-ins galore- there’s a plug-in for everything. Stopping spam, managing SEO, Pinterest, torturing your jackass ex. Okay that last one is still a work in progress but there’s no end to the amount of fun plug-ins available for a self-hosted blog.

3) It looks more professional/People take you more seriously- sadly people tend to find self-hosted blogs and their bloggers as more serious about blogging. I hate this stereotype (especially since I know so many great blogs that aren’t self-hosted) but it’s difficult to combat. Also I kinda like seeing in my blog URL. It makes ME feel professional.

Is your blog self-hosted? Why or why not? I’d love to know your views on hosting.

5 FREE Sources for Pictures for Your Blog

Laptop and notebook

When I first started blogging I had no pictures in my blog posts. I didn’t think I needed them- I cared more about my words than the way they looked. I also had no idea where to get photos from. If you’ve had issues finding pictures for your blog posts this is for you.

1) Take Your Own- It’s your blog and no one know better than you what pictures you need. The easiest way to get pictures that you need is to take your own. However, keep in mind that you need great lighting and a good quality picture. I know nothing about photography so I always rely on websites instead. Also I really don’t trust my photo skills.

2) Death to the Stock Photo- Death to the Stock photo provides you with monthly photo collections based on a theme. Most of my pictures are from their site.

3) Picjumbo- Picjumbo provides you with new photos every few days and they occasionally allow you access to their premium packs. Their photos are of a high-quality and always have a theme depending on the time of the year. Need a Christmas or Easter-themed photo? They have you covered!

4) Canva- There is no end to what you can do with Canva. Use it to create social media banners, blog posts, infographs or printables. I especially like using Canva to add text to my pictures from Picjumbo or Death to the Stock Photo.

5) Pexels- I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pexels. Simply type in what you’re looking for in the search(e.g, a picture of a laptop) and pick from one of their many choices.

How do you get pictures for your blog? Have you tried any of the above sites? I’d love to know below.


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