Two years ago, there was an estimated 152 million blogs on the internet. I can only assume there are nearly double that many blogs online now in 2015. With such a flooded market, it may seem like it’s not worth your time or effort to create a personal blog or website, but I really wish everyone had their own blog!
There have been many times I have wished that everyone I knew had a blog, and had a blog over a Facebook or Instagram profile. Personal blogs are the perfect way to express yourself! They are way more effective than sharing a one paragraph update on Facebook, or that one single image on Instagram, or that 140 character Tweet.Personal blogs encourage you to really form a coherent thought, flesh out ideas, and share who you really are and what you are really about. Plus, with a personal website you are in control of your content and its far less likely to be taken out of context. Italics and bold text do wonders to clarify your intended meaning!
My blog, What’s up Fagans?, started out as a regular personal blog that updated our family and friends in other states about our adventures, complete with photos and updates of what was going on in our lives. It literally answered “What’s up Fagans?” But, even in its relative infancy, we often shared our passions and thoughts on marriage, music, movies, school, family, and friendships. My husband at one point thought our blog really should be named “What the Fagans think” because we stopped sharing purely update information and pictures and shared more of what we were currently interested in and thinking about.
Our blog started taking on this wonderful life of its own as we shared our personal and family goals. In some ways it’s held us accountable to them because we made them public, so we had to live up to them. Creating this personal website based upon us and our family was an exciting and fun creative outlet for both myself and my husband. Little did we know so many years ago that people from around the world would come to our website and follow us on our journey through life.
We no longer share as many personal updates about our lives in such blatant ways as we’ve transitioned our website into a business and not just a family-update blog. But, its still about us.
Branding What’s up Fagans? into our own unique website by buying a domain name and setting up hosting and hiring a designer (among other things) has helped our website be much more than just one of the millions of blogs out there. It has character and personality. What’s up Fagans? is its own little brand on the internet.You might think branding is a weird term to use when referring to your own personal website or blog, but I assure you that as much as Martha Stewart or Oprah are brands, you can also be your own brand. I highly doubt you will ever become the international superstars that are, but with great branding and writing people will come to recognize you and even discuss your blog with their friends and family.
How to Successfully Brand Your Blog
Like any brand, you want to connect with your audience. You want them to identify your brand and your writing or photography instantly. You want them to understand who you are and what you are all about. You want to be recognizable! In order to do that, I suggest seriously considering the following:
1) Your Blog Needs a Personalized Design
Despite the millions of blogs out there, millions of them share the exact same themes, the exact same layouts, and the exact same color schemes, and often even similar content.
Your blog needs a good design. You don’t have to get all fancy and be 100% unlike any other website. In fact, doing so may make it really hard for people to navigate your site if it is too new and too different to understand and find certain information. But, you should create a unique logo or pay someone to design one for you.
You also need to think about a color scheme for your blog and choose wisely. Colors affect us more than most of us realize. Choose colors that make sense with your blog content, its goals, and what emotions and feelings you wish to elicit from your visitors.
Once you have a color scheme and palette, customize your theme with those colors, and personalize how things look. Again, if you don’t know CSS or HTML hire someone to do it for you!
2) Your Blog Needs YOU
There are some seriously beautiful websites and blogs out there, but other than looking amazing, some of their content kind of sucks. You can wrap up a present beautifully, but if what is inside is garbage, people will leave it behind and move on.
This is why adding in your personality is super important. People want to connect with you, as you are your brand; you are your personal blog! Write in such a way that your readers have a clear sense of who you are, what you are about, what you value, what you love, what you hate, what your strengths are, and what you have to offer them.
It doesn’t matter what your blog niche is, make it your own. I am not suggesting you write about whatever you feel like, but that what you do write has a slice of you in it. Maybe you’ll include a bit of your humor, or your humility. Maybe you’ll add colorful dialogue, powerful imagery, or casual everyday speech. People who come to your blog want to know if you will be providing entertainment, answers to their problems, encouragement, a discussion, a great laugh, commiseration, or inspiration. How you write often does that. Let your passion for your blogging subject show.
The reality is that a personal website allows you to connect with other like-minded individuals.
3) Your Blog Needs to be Memorable
A great blog design, logo, layout, color palette, writing, and photography all work together to help your blog become memorable. But something I hope you don’t overlook is the name of your website! A personal website and a personal blog should be as wonderfully special and unique as yourself, and leave people remembering it afterward. With the millions of blogs on the internet, a personally branded domain name will help you jump out at your visitors.
It is very important to find a great name right off the bat. Sometimes I have disliked What’s up Fagans? as a blog name, especially once I decided to kick my blog up a notch and turn it into a business. However, What’s up Fagans?, the original name my husband and I came up with on a whim way back in early 2009, has a sense of memorability to it! I’ve been told by several people that they love my name because it is easy to remember, and that they have fun saying it over and over! That is the power of a unique domain name!
When you are going to create your own personal website, take some serious time considering what you should name your blog. If you want a fun, and new, domain address that offers lots of great character and uniqueness then you should try out Domain.ME. Domain.ME allows you to brand your website with a unique .ME domain, similar to a .COM or a .NET with the same SEO benefits. If you really want to create your own personal brand or persona online, the .ME address is a memorable marketing tool. They are short, provide a great play on words, they are available, and they are personable.
You can create a .ME domain name and even get help with website building through Name.com. This limited offer will be available for one-month starting on 10/16/15. Create your own personal blog now!For other tips on picking a domain name, check out my suggestions in my post How to Start a Blog that Will Make Money.
4) Your Blog Needs Consistency
A well branded blog is a consistent blog that sets up certain expectations. Readers will come to expect a certain consistency in the quality of writing and photography. They will come to expect a consistency in how frequently you update your blog and social media channels. They will come to have expectations about what content you will share, its length, and its purpose. They will come to expect a certain layout and flow.
An important part of branding will also come from how you open and close posts, divide up your texts, and even how you create pinnable images and your watermark on your photographs.
This can be hard for many of us to live up to these expectations placed on us by our readers and fans. But, the more we can meet them, the more trust we’ll build and the better relationships we’ll form with them. If you ever need inspiration for what to write about or how to make your blog hot, here are 135 blog post ideas. These ideas can help you break through any writer’s block and even spice up the great content you are already (hopefully) producing by presenting them in exciting new ways.
I am not saying you have to be bossed around by your readers or your blog, but you need to understand that every great brand has consistency to their presentations, images, text, marketing and so on. Your blog should be the same.
I will admit that I do not have the best branded personal website out there. I lack in many of these areas, but I strive to present my readers with a good reality of who I am and what my brand is. Building your blog as a brand will not happen overnight. Thankfully it can also be tweaked and changed as many times are you need until you are really ecstatic about how your brand is perceived and the connection it is making with those who stumble their way to your 1 in 152+ million blogs on the internet today.
This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME, and Name.com, a registrar that provides services like custom website design. They aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own, however.