How To Brand Your Blog

As your blog gets bigger, branding becomes more and more important. In order to separate yourself from all those other 60+ million blogs in the blogsphere, you need to create your own brand. When you have a brand, you have an advantage over the blog next door. Even if you two write about the same thing, you will be the one that gets the press because you are a brand name while the other blog is a no name. Here are some brand building tips to get you started.

Get Your Own Domain Name

I am truly amazed by the number of blogs that still doesn’t have their own domain name. You cannot build a brand without one. If you’re still hosted by a free service like Blogspot.com or WordPress.com, then get out and move to your own place. It’s not like this is a major expense. You can register a domain name for less than $10 and hosting can be had for as low as $6.95 per month. Surely, your blog is worth at least that much.

Branding means showing your name in the domain. Being hosted by a free service doesn’t build your brand, it builds the brand of the hosting service. It is much better to start with your own domain from the get go. If you start with a free service and then move to your own domain at a later date, you’ll lose all those links and search engine trust that was build up from the freely hosted blog. It’ll be like starting back at square one. This could all be avoided if you were just willing to invest $10 into your brand.

Get Your Own Blog Design

It’s hard to build brand when you’re using the same theme as a million other blogs. If you’re running a popular theme then try to personalize it. John Chow dot Com used to run the Mistylook theme but I did manage to make it stand out a bit by changing around the colors and adding my own custom header. It also helped that the theme got associated with me so that anyone else running it was called a copycat.

The ideal situation is to create a completely new custom theme by using a service like Unique Blog Design. Not only will this help you stand out from the crowd and build your brand, it’ll allow you to make more money by making more ad spaces available. Bloggers often underestimate the importance of a good design. Readers need to have a visual sense of your blog as distinctive and unique so that they will be more likely to return to it.

Create Your Own Logo

Shoemoney has stated that most people can’t connect his face with his blog. However, once they see that big $ logo, everyone knows who is he. A logo is a great brand building tool. Look at all the big brand name products in the world. They all have logos. I’m still working on my logo. Other good examples of bloggers branding themselves with a unique logo includes Blogging Tips and Zac Johnson.

Have a Great About Page

The about page is the equivalent of your blog’s resume. We all know that your resume shows you in the best possible light so don’t be afraid to really do up your about page. My own about page needs to be redone. It hasn’t changed since I created the blog. I wouldn’t use it as an example of a great about page because it really doesn’t tell that much about me. However, what I did get right was placing a photo on the page. This is a must because it helps to connect the readers with your blog. Having a photo of yourself helps build trust and trust helps build the brand.

You might even consider offering official photos for other bloggers to use. To control their brand, many big companies offer official press photos of their management team. This is something I need to get because there’s been time when another blog posted a story about me and used a photo that I didn’t like.

If you wish to see a great example of an about page, check out the one by Tim Ferriss. The page used all the mention elements to helps establish Tim as an authority on his subject and does a great job highlighting his accomplishments, even if some of them doesn’t make sense (there is no such thing as Chinese kickboxing). To control his brand, Tim offers official press photos for both his book and himself.

Get Some Business Card & Other Promotional Products

Your blog will always be the number one place for building your brand. Business cards and promotional products like pens and T-shirt help to re-enforce it. I wrote about offline branding ideas and how to get 250 free business cards to promote your blog back in June and those ideas have done a great job helping me build the John Chow dot Com brand. They’re not that expensive either.

There are many other ways to brand your blog but these are the ones that I came up with off the top of my head. If you have other branding ideas, I would love to hear it.


100 thoughts on “How To Brand Your Blog”

  1. Awesome post John, yes I too am still amazed at how many blogs out there don’t have their own domain and hosting.
    Apart from the brand name, using free services also restrict other things like, how much you can alter your blog as well as other things.
    I like you believe that if your blog is not worth the 7$ hosting fee every month, than it’s not worth it.

    1. Simon says:

      Truly agree with you! Domain name and hosting is required for all bloggers! No matter you want make money online or not. That’s the way to brand your blog:mrgreen:

      1. It’s the three basic steps everyone must take.

      2. lyricsreg says:

        I think a big mistake most bloggers make is getting a subdomain as a test drive, to see if it works, planning to buy a domain once they have an established site. They don’t seem to understand that they are already at a bad start, and for what ? Saving a few bucks !

        1. Well I can understand the teenage kids that run on free hosting (as mentioned blogspot or wordpress.com) and for them it is not much of saving few bucks but rather, not having those few bucks.

          The domain name and web hosting business is so expanded that the concurrence gives us the possibility to buy a domain for bargain cheap (even $2 where the registrar loses money, but they target to attract customers to buy hosting accounts), some other competitors even offer free domains if you purchase hosting as well (but need to pay attention as to who the domain is going to be assigned).

          But anyone that is even a tinny little bit webmaster oriented has so many ways that I can’t even express in numbers to make those few bucks that are needed to rent a hosting space.

          And back to the main subject of the post, all those points are really valid (I should adjust My about page too now that John reminded me). Especially the logo, just think about the Coke brand, or the McDonalds…

        2. True words. Saving few bucks isn’t worth it.

      3. Wahlau.NET says:

        I think at least getting a domain and hosting it with blogger is good enough

    2. MyBlogCotest says:

      Oh yes! I got my own domain name and hosting. I might success one day!!

      1. Good Luck to you my friend πŸ™‚ I’ve just skimmed through your blog and it does look promising. I’ll be checking in on your blog more often

        1. Michael says:

          Me toooo πŸ™‚

      2. Oh you definitively will succeed, just make sure not to give up on that same moment when you start thinking to let your self down. It might take some time to achieve your desired success (or it might not take time at all), every single penny I was earning with my first website i was investing it back to the site until it reached the point that the earnings would remain earnings and not investments (or at least just a small part would go on investment).

        Your blog seems promising indeed, and it is a great source for the “Contest hunters” to find some really good contests worth taking part of. Keep it going πŸ˜‰

    3. This site and content never ceases to amaze me, just incredible work.

  2. Starfeeder says:

    Yeah great tips, most blogs I come across don’t even have a logo, much less a unique name.

    1. You know I gave about 2 minutes worth of thought to my blog name, didn’t think I was going to take it serious but I have so it si what it is http://makingsalesmakingmoney.com/blog/ but its pretty

  3. Simon says:

    Good points! Get your own domain name guys!!

    1. But you have to admit that getting a domain that you want is pretty hard! THEY ARE ALL TAKEN 😈

      1. lyricsreg says:

        I’m sure you will find something if you search really hard. If not … there’s always .info πŸ™‚

      2. But lots of people buy domains and then forget about them. You’ll be surprised by what you can pick up for as little as $20

        1. lyricsreg says:

          True, but how do you get those domains ? Contact the owner ? Good luck waiting for a reply

          1. Yes. A quick WhoIs lookup and contact the admin address. If you don’t get a reply the assume they are not interested in selling. I’ve bought several domains this way, nothing to it really.

  4. Ritu says:

    Hmmmm… looks like I will be a successful blogger someday as I have incorporated all of the tips on this post, the only thing I havent done is update the site’s design which I will rpetty soon. John, how about a visit to my blog and tell me if I am doing good, as you mentioned you need to relate with your readers, so can you do that as I am a regular reader πŸ˜‰

    1. montiko says:

      i’m not john but i visited your site and when i i went to leave a comment it looked like blogger do you have your own hosting or a masked domain.

      1. Yup it looks like he is using a domain forward. But thats already one step forward, getting the traffic to come on your domain instead of on the blogger host. It will save him some hassle once he can manage to move on a paid/domain hosting account.

  5. Great Post! I am working on this for my blog as we speak. A new design, and a new logo. You would be surprised how effective just a new logo is!

    1. A web 2.0 look would be more effective :mrgreen:

  6. JoeTech.com says:

    Well, I have the name and I’ve had the domain for 10 years, but I still need to work on the rest.

    1. I have several domains I just site on as well.

    2. Michael says:

      Yes, indeed, you need to do well in all areas. πŸ˜†

    3. This ‘rest’ is quite important. Good luck!

  7. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for the tips. The about page should be an easy win. Mine sucks though.

    1. Mine too, it’s time to change it.

  8. Andrew says:

    Great post. I was just looking at your about page today and was thinking that it would be nice if you added more to it. Your an interesting and very successful person and I’d like to know more about you.

    -Andrew

  9. Andrew says:

    πŸ™„ I have to proofread better before I submit something: you’re not your!

    – Andrew

  10. GPT Sites says:

    Awesome post! Definitely one to bookmark.

    And speaking of Unique Blog Designs, the theme you have still scrolls on the 1024×768 resolution 😐 .

    1. John Chow says:

      Ya, we still need to fix that.

  11. John,
    I have written a blog post on branding yourself, it is going to be posted sometime in the coming hours. Nice post though and all good points.

  12. Great post John,
    Branding is crucial for the success of any blog.

  13. Bob says:

    Yes agreed. Free domain days where there fewer bloggers are over. Creating a blog is much different now. We didn’t have build any brands back then.

  14. Michael says:

    All said correct. Great post but unfortunately I am still among those people who do not have a domain name. πŸ™
    But I am planning to one later.

    1. F1Wolf says:

      if you plan something, better do it now, the later you do it, the bigger headache it becomes …

  15. Unfortunately, a great design is not a simple $10 investment. You get what you pay for.

    1. Michael says:

      But a great hosting plan is.

    2. lyricsreg says:

      Not necessarily. You can download a free template, and with a little html “coding”, you can make it somewhat “unique”. All you need is time and passion for your work

  16. I agree with everything said. I’m trying to build my brand right now. I’ve got my own unique design, my own unique logo so I’m ahead of most in the game I guess. Now if I can just find time to write all the post ideas that I’ve got bouncing around in my head. πŸ™‚

  17. Scoot says:

    Very good material to work from, I don’t know about the about page though, I’m not all that photogenic. πŸ™‚

  18. booring man says:

    I’ve a domain but not my English blog..
    Not very confident to write in English

    1. I ca see that from the comment you made :mrgreen:

      1. Just try, it will cost You only Your time and You can improve Your english.

    2. To have a domain name and run a blog under the domain name it does not mean that your blog must be in English. You can still have your blog on your own language and run it under a domain name.

      1. But, english really gives You a lot more opportunities. Blogging in english is easier.

  19. Your are underrating Blogger. You can have your own domain, build it and let them host it for free. I get dugg today, it doesn’t crash like wordpress and it’s completely free. 75,000 hits would have cost me a fortune today with a host and with blogger it’s free. My blog sucks but it has nothing to do with my host.

  20. Shaun Carter says:

    It’s funny you mention that anyone with Mistylook was branded a copycat.. because that’s what happened to me. I wasn’t too upset about it because everyone who reposted the list of copycats just increased the traffic to my blog.

  21. F1Wolf says:

    did just that πŸ™‚ launched the latest of Nate’s beauties πŸ˜†

  22. for me a blog branding is the content and the voice or the persona behind it. i discover your blog is either thru’ search engines or from links elsewhere because of of its catchy title, interesting content or good argument you raised in someone’s comment. i won’t know how your blog looks like in the first place. and i will go back to read or subscribe to it because i love what i’ve read. but a well-designed blog looks visually pleasing that’s all. there are millions of great looking logos, packaging, retail outlets, offices all over, but ultimately it’s the product or the service we go for.

    1. Michael says:

      Content is very important but a great look and design adds that little bit extra.

  23. Hey John,

    I think your tips are basic and easy to do. Now that my blog is starting to get a bit traffic, I’ll definitely implement all of your recommendations.

    Thanks for the tips John.

    Cheers,
    Carlo Selorio

  24. GettyCash says:

    I want to have fashion blog.. Still can’t think of domain I want to purchase. :mrgreen:

  25. Michael says:

    John, one thing that I want you to change is your blog’s header design. It is too big and fat. Because I normally work with a small 15 inch laptop, all I see is the title and the picture of the car! 😈

  26. Thanks John, I learnt something today.

    1. Good to here, but you always learn something new if you visit johnchow.com everyday :mrgreen:

  27. Israel says:

    i agree 100%. i am looking to get a new design, unique but i cant justify the expense right now.

    1. Don’t make the header look gigantic! :mrgreen:

  28. Dandruff says:

    Good article John. You blog has a great brand name, and I have seen other blogs discussing your blog on the forums and on other blogs. I personally love your blog.

  29. I’ve just been looking at starting another Blog and checked out Blogger and Wordspress hosted. I had no idea that you were so restricted with what you could change and add. The extra expense of a domain name and some cheap hosting has got to be a must for everybody serious about blogging.

  30. I already have #1 and am currently working on #2 and 3!

  31. ok at the risk of being laughed at, I have a question…

    When you say brand… is that the same as niche?

  32. Jason says:

    What I’ve noticed about all the comments here is that they’re simply empty statements about how nice the post was, in a rather transparent attempt to have our urls and avatars on this one (successful) blog. Is it all about the money? Do you not feel the need to share something personal, create an outlet for the inner artist/writer/journo? Personally I think one needs to produce something worth looking at – is it just a case of following current blog trends, seeing what kind of material attracts the most attention and then regurgitating that flavour of the week over and over through-out blogdom?
    Why not do something you care about – feel a passion for – and success, financial or otherwise, will surely follow.

    I congratulate you on your achievement, John, I just dislike seeing so many hangers-on (perhaps disciples?) simply mouthing empty syllables like goldfish in a bowl.

  33. Kacper says:

    Nice post, John.
    Seems I have to design a logo for my new blog.
    have a good time

  34. Saedel says:

    Good post, John! One thing I do is when I finished fixing my clients’ computer, I gave them my site and ask them to subscribe to RSS Email. Also, if you have a big family extension, it doesn’t hurt to send them email of your best articles. :mrgreen:

  35. I hate to admit it. I am one of those whose blog is getting value for the brand which hosts my blogs. It took this article to open my eyes. Frankly, I did not know that it is not very expensive to get a domain name. I intend doing the right thing sooner than later, and John, the first blog on the new domain name will be dedicated to you.

    1. Kanute says:

      Frankly it is cheaper than you can imagine. 9Euro for your domain and maybe 30Euros for hosting ie server and database included.

    2. Michael says:

      Cheap to rent but expensive to buy! :mrgreen:

      1. Kanute says:

        True, cheap to rent but expensive to buy, there also a third choice, do it yourself. You must invest in something, in studies, monies or exchange like John Chow does. Publicity for free web hosting.

  36. Kanute says:

    Well it means I’m half branded, cause of the five points I’ve got 4, for now I don’t need promotional cards and maybe I’ll have to redo my logo. Anyway its funny to see renowned blogs with good content still running on blogspot.com or wordpress.com

  37. Jackie Li says:

    thats write, but what about my Domain,

    i started to thing about Blogging than i had to change my mind in Forums and then Blogging 😑
    i couldnt make up my mind, but finally as JOHN CHOW SAID : Make some GET YOUR OWN BLOG DESIGN.

    i did that .. now i run many things. forums/shops/live chat to help people/about me (thats my blog) n few mores….

    i needed some suggestion is that Correct what i am doing. 😯

    As Branding a Name is UNIQUE
    isnt.
    Peace out!!! 😳

  38. Most of this I have read in Your book Mr. Chow 😎 this topic is always good as we can see…

  39. chtanxw says:

    Unless you really want to monetize your blog, you can brand your blog even you use wordpress.com and blogger.com.
    One good example is lorelle.wordpress.com.

  40. Novice SEO says:

    As usual you have provided some great advice and information. As I start the branding process for NoviceSEO.com in earnest I will certainly use your advice and tips. Thanks again for being a great source of information on how to be a better blogger.

  41. PlatinumGirl says:

    Yup. I only started to blog for about 2 weeks in the beginning of my blogging history and i went all in to get my new site.

  42. Enough says:

    Really amazing John, no, its not about the actual content of the post.
    Its about how you managed to promote 4 of your sponsors in a heading with only 5 sections. That’s devoting 80% of your post to them and getting away with it with noone noticing it!

    I’m really learning a thing or two from you.

  43. CatherineL says:

    Great tips John. U should also get a wig like Donald Trump’s then people will call you the Blog Logo.

  44. Cyrus Nguyen says:

    Good tips on branding your name. Very true if you want to brand yourself you definitely need your own domain and hosting. As for logos and customizing the theme, not many people have the knowledge or the money in the beginning to do that kind of stuff. Asides, great job.

  45. Ognjen says:

    Thanks for another great article.

    I am currently running free blog on WordPress, but I plan to by my own domain with hosting very soon. Then I will have new logo, about page and everything else you were suggesting πŸ™‚

  46. Rob says:

    “You cannot build a brand without one. If you’re still hosted by a free service like Blogspot.com or WordPress.com, then get out and move to your own place.”

    This is not really true for all sites, John. Take http://bigpicture.typepad.com/ for example – a very popular website.

  47. I highly doubt John Chow wrote this post. πŸ™„

  48. ionut_brasov says:

    Nice indications. Thanks a lot!

  49. Didn’t know that the about page is important in branding. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Lito Montala
    The Filipino Entrepreneur Blog

  50. I have not yet actively been into offline branding and promotion ideas but i guess these are all excellent points.

  51. How Will i have to brand my blog/site

  52. Great tips the hardest thing I had was the logo. Finding someone to design something I liked. I finally just gave up and found a font I liked and just went with.

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