How To Upgrade Your Blog's ImageLast week I launched 2 surveys via social media asking followers to tell me:
1. What stops them from hiring a Designer to brand and design their blog for them.
2. What they thought the fair price was for a well-designed blog.
In conclusion, the surveys showed that the biggest problems were budget and vision. I completely understand where people are coming from. The reality is that custom designed blogs are becoming unnecessarily expensive and I continue to believe that’s due to the demand. As unfair as this may seem, I find it extremely exciting to see that in this social media age, blogs are still being created and developed into unbelievably profitable businesses.
Let’s be realistic now — not everyone has the time, the vision nor the money to pay four figures for a custom designed blog... and nor should anyone who simply doesn’t want to make such an investment. Now, this is no reason to throw in the towel. A strong blog, friends, is a lot more than that.
For those who are not in the position where a custom design is a necessity (or even if you’ve already had your blog designed), there are a few things you can do to better the general look of your blog without spending a penny.
Understanding the purpose of your blog will help you deliver quality content and build an image for yourself that people will be able to recognize and trust through and through. Vision is what takes you from wanting something to working for it — and this is in fact something I go through one-on-one with my clients when I do coaching.
So ask yourself:
What do you want to achieve with your blog?
How do you want to be perceived?
What’s the main adjective that describes your blog?
Knowing that will establish you and reassure you in every decision you make and it will allow you to take your blog from where it is now to where you want it to be. So take your time and ponder on this. Commit to one idea and turn off all the noise telling you what to do. You already know what you have to offer, so don’t diminish that by ignoring your own vision.
Once you have vision, you need to know who you’re delivering content to. If you are yet to discover who your audience is, let me tell you, you’ve been missing out. Not having a clear understanding of this is exactly like making a dress for someone without having seen that person or asked for their measurements.
Instead of shooting blanks, get to know who the people are who read you. I use all kinds of methods to do this: I look at social media, use analytics, launch a yearly survey and check for comments or emails from the people who read me — so I know my readers are:
Mostly women between the ages of 18-37 who are currently making the switch to living a simpler and more mindful life through minimalism. 87% are Bloggers and the rest are planning to becoming one.
What do you do with this information? You make the most of it by being of service to your readers, who in the end are the most important part of the foundation of a successful blog.
Most blogs I see fail in practicing this one thing. We often want to do everything instead of understanding and making the most of our limitations. I’ve seen hundreds of beautifully designed blogs that butcher their image by not upholding consistency in 3 main areas:
V I S U A L
Your blog needs to be consistent visually no matter what. If you are trying to do it all, you will confuse your visitors and soon lose them because you’ll be sending them too many random messages. Here are the 3 main areas that need to make sense to better your image:
Fonts: Use 2-3 fonts for your blog only. This improves the quality of your visual brand and it makes things look seamless so you are not distracting your readers with a million different looks. Use fonts that compliment one another — not just random ones you like. To aid you in this you can use the web to search for free web-font combinations.
Colors: Choose 2-4 colors within a palette that compliments your brand and your vision. Most platforms allow you to change these easily. Use online applications like Colour Lovers to grab the HEX codes for each color and pick them strategically to use on your blog. For example: You want your links to be a different color than the text for easier access — so make them pop.
Images: The images you use for your blog are a focal point — and the better the quality, the better your brand looks and the more chances you'll have to get attention from other Bloggers and potential clients. When choosing the images for a post, see to it that they have the same feeling as your brand and if they compliment the overall look, please, always — and I mean always: Make your photos line up with the blog post's width. This makes your blog look that much more cohesive and professional.
C O N T E N T
Your voice should be the same in every post you write and I’d advise you to write exactly the same way you speak to others. Personalizing this area of your writing process is key. People build an online relationship with you and they can recognize when you are trying too hard or not at all. Be mindful of the way you write and how much your write. We live in an information-polluted time, so people are becoming more mindful of the things that they dedicate their time to — so only things that are beneficial, honest and entertaining make it to their list.
S C H E D U L E
This is something we all struggle with at some point and I’m no one to say slips never happen, specially if you’re going through a hard time in your life or career... but it is possible to uphold a certain consistent posting schedule if you are realistic and make everything work for you instead of biting off more than you can chew. Ideally I’d like to post every day on the blog and commit to launching posts every morning between 8:00-10am — but as we all know, the process from ideation to completion is complicated. At this point in time in my life, I’ve realistically been holding myself accountable to a schedule I can manage. That’s 3 times per week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:00-2:00pm. If you commit to a schedule you can follow, you will be creating and meeting your readers' expectations with very targeted (and smart) effort.
In a nutshell, your blog’s image is far more than just pretty graphics and catchy phrases. It’s the overall journey that you take your reader on and how you keep their attention. Committing to simple steps will take you a long way and show you the value of consistency and focused work, so that when you’re ready to have your blog designed, you'll find yourself working with it and not for it.
Feel free to learn more about my book, 30 Days To Minimal Blogging and purchase it today. Your download will start automatically after checkout and you can jump into it as soon as you receive it.
Photography: Marazzi with thanks.