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.