[Branding] How To Stop Being Just Another WordPress Blog

I often find myself recommending other moms to start a blog, or to start blogging on their website. It makes sense to them that I endorse blogging, because, after all, I am a blogger. But that’s not the only reason I believe in the power of blogging. I’ve also been a web designer and a marketing Master Trainer for over a decade, and I know that blogging is a profitable practice, whether you monetize your blog content or use your blog to monetize other offerings.

And I love WordPress! I often speak at WordCamp, which is a gathering of WordPress lovers, WordPress users, and WordPress developers (AKA WordPress heaven!). It was at a WordCamp in San Francisco that Matt Cutts (the public face of Google himself) declared that “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of SEO.” In other words, using WordPress gives you over an 80% chance to be found on Google.

According to my research, about 96% of bloggers take about three years to monetize their blogs (if at all),  and about 98% of small business entrepreneurs don’t achieve any significant results from their business blog. Using a hosted WordPress theme with your own domain name is a great start, to set your web presence up for success and get found, but you must make sure you’re not Just Another WordPress Blog or Just Another WordPress Site.

Whether you are a mom blogger, a solopreneur, or run a blog for business or media purposes, the key to gaining credibility, visibility, and profitability with your blog and make your blogging efforts pay off (literally!) is to step out of the cookie-cutter template and brand yourself as an expert voice, an authority in the main subject matters related to your transformational message or very useful products or services. As Paul Rand put it: “design is the silent ambassador of your brand.

Design is the silent ambassador of your brand. ~ Paul Rand quote

In order to monetize your blog content, you must have a thorough branding strategy – based on your WHY– that builds the overall image of how you want to show up on the web. Your branding tells the world who you are and communicates a promise that tells your visitors and digital friends what to expect from you (and from your products and services). And do keep in mind that lack of branding is branding – yikes!

As I write this, I realize branding may not be your thing. As Napoleon Hill says in Think and Grow Rich (aff), the secret to success is often to “know enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.”

So I’m sharing my expert counsel with you, so you can know the essential things you need to brand your blog like the titans of the marketplace, to get considerable returns with a conservative branding budget.

 12 Step Guide To Branding Your Blog

from-blog-to-brand

Your Own Brand Identity:

Your brand identity is the cornerstone all you do. You want to make sure your brand name is sending out the right message, and that you have chosen the right domain name (URL) to go along with it. Having a custom domain (i.e. thepositivemom.com) vs.a sub-domain at WordPress (i.e. thepositivemom.WordPress.com) name is the first step to stand out from the crowd.

My team can create a FREE WordPress blog for you or export your current WordPress.com or Blogger blog to a hosted WordPress blog for a minimal fee.

Your email address must match your domain name.  I use Google Suite (aff) because it also gives me access to wonderful tools that help me work more effectively. Some other items that go with your identity is figuring out your core values, your branding statement, and your tag line!

Clean Up and Customize Your WordPress Blog

I think you saw this one coming: get rid of the “Just Another WordPress Blog” tagline or replace it with your own. While you’re at it, remove the “Howdy” on the top right of your WordPress Dashboard, and the “Hello Dolly” plugin.

One of the most important steps you can take while setting up your blog, is to customize your permalinks (permanent static hyperlink to a particular web page or entry in a blog). If you are WordPress savvy or team up with a developer, be especially intentional color palette, typeface, and page structure.

WordPress-permalinks-influencer-branding

Customize Your Website Footer

The blog footer is the last thing you see, and I think that’s why it’s probably the most neglected area! The footer is where you will add your business legalese: copyright notice, website terms of use, blog disclosures and disclaimers, your privacy policy, and even commenting guidelines.

Add an Original Logo

An original, meaningful logo will definitely add to your brand power. DIY branding and $5 dollar logos often look unprofessional. I recommend learning what makes a logo effective, and investing in your brand so your brand promise and unique brand identity is clear and consistent.

Your logo will require fonts and colors that you want to use as foundation for all your branding. I suggest you limit your color palette of choice to two or three colors, and choose a typeface (font and size) that is legible, easy to scan and read. Your typography and colors will then be sprinkled throughout your headlines, accents, and body of content.

Custom Branded WordPress Header:

The WordPress header can make or break a website. This banner gets instant attention and  must immediately communicate your brand promise, your core message, and what your website is all about. A carefully designed custom header will give a great impression within milliseconds, so your visitor knows they are on the right place, in the right company, as soon as they land.

Your header should contain: an intentional picture or headshot of yourself, your brand name, your logo, and your tagline, as well as anything that qualifies your visitors, so they can quickly determine if they want to learn more or leave.

wordpress-header-influencer-marketing

Brand Your Blog Sidebar:

Your sidebar is precious real estate on your website. Psychology teaches us that your web visitors’ eyes will be highly attracted to the right side of the screen. You definitely want to clean up your blog from useless widgets (like the default “meta information”) and avoid badges that don’t contribute to your business goals.

For example, you may want to add a subscription button, an optin area to build your email list, your blog categories, and latest posts. If you sell any products, services, or subscriptions or sell ad space, this is a great place to promote what will help you monetize your blogging efforts.

optin-image-influencer-branding

Brand Your Favicon:

A favicon (short for favorite icon) is a small, 16×16-pixel image displayed to the left of a URL in most modern web browsers. Depending on the browser, a favicon may also appear next to the website name in a list of web bookmarks.

My team and I always add a favicon to the sites we develop, using the logo we design or an image that is consistent with the influencer’s branding. Your website will look more professional with a Favicon, making your blog more memorable, increasing your brand awareness, and even get better SEO ranking!

favicon-image-influencer-branding

Branded Social Icons

An effective online influencer always cross promotes! It takes several exposures for someone to know, like, and trust you and your brand, so even if they don’t sign up to your list or subscribe to your blog on the first visit, if they connect to and engage with you on social media, it can accelerate that process. Having custom-designed social icons in your branded color palette or branded pattern, creates consistency and links all your social network profiles from your header, sidebar, and/or footer.

Consistent Social Media Branding

When your blog visitor or reader wants to connect with you on the social platform of their choice and preference, you want to make sure they see the same branding elements they saw on your WordPress site.

Your social handle must either be the same or have the same brand promise, and your bio space updated with relevant information. This also helps make your profiles search engine friendly: if I type in your name + Twitter on a Google search you should be on the results!

Below are some examples of social branding designs my team and I have worked on to take them from Blog to Brand:

Branded Facebook timeline cover

facebook-timeline-cover-influencer-branding

Branded Twitter header image

twitter-header-influencer-branding

Branded YouTube channel art

you-tube-background-influencer-branding

Branded Google Plus header image

google-plus-branded-cover-influencer-branding

Branded LinkedIN background image

linkedin-background-influencer-branding

Branded Gravatar

And speaking of social platforms, it is imperative to have a uniform profile picture or headshot that looks professional and helps people identify you as an influencer and your brand.  

Using a branded profile picture and signing up for Gravatar will help you stand out when you comment on other blog posts, as part of your visibility strategy.

LaToyia Dennis branded profile picture - The Positive MOM influencer branding

Branded Buttons and Graphics:

You must also consider having some custom decorative visual elements designed:

  1. Branded buttons or banners to move your visitors to action
  2. Branded bullet points, icons, and symbols to highlight key content
  3. Branded lines, frames, or separators to break up important sections of a page
  4. Your own post signature (which you can also use on your e-mail newsletter).
  5. Branded arrows, check marks, and images with titles

Offline Branding:

You will also want to complement your custom branded WordPress website with offline such as a business card, printable flyers or posters, a downloadable one-sheet, and even your own deck design for speaking presentations and webinars. All your marketing collateral must look and feel the same so your audience has the same user experience throughout the marketing process.

Branded Content

Crafting a strategically designed image is what will take you from blog to brand; however, all the branding in the world won’t be effective unless you deliver on the brand promise with meaningful, helpful, useful content, delivered in your voice, tone, and style.

The secret to blogging success lies in being authentic to who you are, being deliberate in how you present your compelling content (including length, titles, keywords, and media used), and being consistent in your publishing schedule.

Make investing your time, energy, and money in building your brand a priority and reap the results! If you’re not an expert marketer, web or graphic designer, or copywriter, it’s always wise to seek someone else’s expertise.

Have blog branding questions or tips of your own? Share those with us and if you need branding help, my team and I can help with all the tools and training you will need, for a reasonable price.  xOxO

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

I’d love to keep connected with you! Join my Instagram community | Watch me on Periscope Subscribe to blog post Updates | Like on Facebook | Follow on Twitter

103 thoughts on “[Branding] How To Stop Being Just Another WordPress Blog

  1. Ive never heard of Word Camp before – sounds like a great resource for WordPressers. I use it and I love it – even more so after what you just told me! Didn’t realise that it takes care of most of the SEO stuff for you! Perfect

  2. This is so timely as I have a cousin asking me a lot of questions to get started on her own blog adventure. I honestly have answered all that I can but I think maybe we are too close for her to really LISTEN lol. I also may not be as much of a teacher, as a DOER so I am directing her here to this post!
    Thank you!

  3. Thank you for posting such an informational blog. I used WordPress in the past but couldn’t get familiar with it well so I switched to another platform. You make it look so easy…I may just give it another shot!

  4. These are some great tips on branding your blog. Its kind of like dressing right for a job interview. Your blog has to have the substance too, but if its sloppy and unprofessional the value of the content will be lost.

  5. Branding your blog is definitely important. Adding character to it is one of the things that make you unique. These are all lovely pointers for people who are trying to improve their blogs or those who are just starting out.

  6. It feels good to have a professional presence online; is like going to a business meeting well-dressed and being confident not only on your abilities, but that you also look the part. I’ve seen the difference when I talk to potential clients and I can send them to my website with confidence, and their responses are so positive.

  7. The biggest mistake brands and bloggers make is forgetting to be consistent with their brand/message. They create a brand on their blog, but don’t follow through on their social media platforms. Consistency helps people know who are and what you are all about. I would also add, keep your branding and design clean. Too much clutter will cause people to click away and then they won’t take the time to understand your brand.

  8. It’s important to make your blog look unique and appealing to your visitors and readers. These are lovely tips and it can definitely help both the old and new bloggers!

  9. I agree blog branding is very important! I have word press and will definitely be putting these tips to use. I love your signature line by the way! Thanks for sharing, this is quite informative!

  10. Saving this post! Thank you so much for all these tips. I have a lot of blogging goals for this month so I hope to take some of the advice you’ve given here and apply it on my own WordPress blog!

  11. Super duper resource that I shall share right away with a new team member looking to brand herself. This is awesome Elayna. Thanks for sharing with the public. Clearly you got this pat down.

  12. Great post! It took me awhile to come up with the name and then a tag line for my blog, once that was set in place everything else did as well. I’m rebooting for a brand new year as well . Great tips!

  13. These are all some great ideas to make our blogs look professional and unique. I try to redesign my website at least once a year. Your website looks really cool!

  14. These are all some great ideas to make our blogs look professional and unique. I try to redesign my website at least once a year. Your website looks really cool!!

  15. I love that you encourage other women and mom’s to start their own blog. There is enough room for all of us on the web and it’s amazing to encourage other women. This was a great post!

  16. I have learned so much reading this blog post. So many useful tips, thanks for sharing it with us. I should definitely work on my logo.

  17. Where were you two years ago when I had to learn all of these things through trial and error. Such great tips and info. Also, a check up for my own blog that I just stumbled through to get where I am. Thank you for your tips

  18. Creating a blog is not as easy as one, two, three. You really have to commit your time and efforts on it. Plus building your market and readers and creating your credibility.

  19. Fantastic tips here! When I first started blogging I completely clueless about things like this. I didn’t know about branding, and all I thought was important was a beautiful blog template. I’ve learned so much now and still learning more.

  20. These are all wonderful tips. One thing I haven’t done is create a custom Logo. I heard recently that WordPress.com has limitations when it comes to monetizing with Adsense and that it is better to use a self hosted site with WordPress.org. What is your take?

  21. So much great information. I love WordPress. I think it is definitely the best blogging platform. Branding is so important and is so much more than just a logo. There really is so much more to it, and you have explained it so well here! I am definitely going to be putting some of these tips to use to give my site an update, thank you!

  22. These are great tips! I don’t know if I’d put a picture in the header, I have mine on my sidebar, but a picture is definitely necessary so your readers can relate to you 🙂

  23. I feel like my biggest problem is promoting my brand. I feel like I don’t know how to get it out there.
    Thank you for all of the great tips! I will keep this in mind if I have a rebrand!

  24. I’m a huge WP fan as well and mostly a DIY’er but I’m working with a designer right now to create more professional branding that I can cross promote on my blog and social media. I am lacking a favicon but it just slipped my mind so thanks for including that in this post… which is epic by the way so I’m sharing it on my networks as well.

  25. What a great tip sheet! I need to start implementing these myself! I have started to over my year or so, but have done so haphazardly! Your stuff looks very cohesive and flows together well! Bookmarking this to remind myself to work through it!

  26. I’m a Blogger user, because I love the interface and find it more familiar (but maybe that’s because I’ve been blogging off and on for over a decade!) – but these are good tip either way, and tips that can be used in varying ways across any blogging platform.

  27. There are a lot of factors that contribute to making your blog unique and stand out among others! These are all wonderful tips! There’s nothing like branding your blog to the style that you want and what suits you.

  28. This is so helpful! There are many ways to make your blog look good and establish a brand that your readers will remember you by. These are all great ideas and they’re going to help a lot of bloggers out there who would like to improve their readership and their branding.

  29. This is such complete advice! I sure wish I had researched more and read more articles like this when I started because you touch on SO many little things that make a big difference – even the favicon!

  30. These are awesome tips. I think I have the blog branding part done, it’s just being consistent on all social media that needs work! You reminded me of how important that is too. Will get on that asap.

  31. These are great tips. Especially for those bloggers looking to rebrand or redesign their blogs. The information given is priceless.

  32. Branding your blog and everything to go with it was my first step into the “real” blogging world. This post is wonderful – it gives so much info to brand your site and yourself.

  33. This post is very interesting. I did do some of the changes on my blog title and social media sites. I have learned many thing from blogging and still open in learning new things. I appreciate the time you took in providing useful information.

  34. I moved to WordPress about a year and a half ago and after 6 months switched back to Blogger. I was not making any gains at all. I would like to try it again however I want to make sure I am well prepared beforehand.

  35. These are such great tips and thanks so much for sharing. I so agree with branding + monetization, Infact they should be the most important things to cover after the blog content. I loved the social media header tip and I’d be changing all of mine now 🙂

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *