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There have been a lot of articles written on branding, and it can be a daunting, especially when everyone goes on how about how it can make or break your online presence.
But if you’re not that bothered about design or anything like that, branding can not only make your work more recognisable, it can make your life easier.
What does branding mean?
Branding is everything that makes your business distinguishable from all other businesses. We all know the Nike tick without needing to see the word Nike.
It’s a way of making you stand out, and be easily identified amongst a sea of competitors. it can make you memorable, make your customers perceive your company in a certain way.
All the different elements of branding (colours, fonts, tone, advertising etc) come together to create one identity for your business.
What constitutes branding?
It can be anything, and everything.
You can start your branding straight from day one.
- Colours – pick a colour palette and stick to those colours. Stick to two or three
- Fonts – again, two or three is ample
- Tone – are you funny or serious? Do you tell stories or get to the point? Swearing or no?
- Logo – use it in your header image, your site icon, your business cards, your social media picture
By being consistent with colour, fonts, and tones you use all across your sites and entire online presence, that’s you branding yourself.
How to go about branding yourself and your website
Branding is a million-dollar industry, but it’s also extremely easy if you’re just starting and have no followers.
I would start by going to Canva and designing a logo for your header image. If you’re totally new to design, then pick a logo template. Delete the picture in the template and pick a graphic from the ‘elements’ section to replace it. Change the colours, fonts and text to stuff you like.
Don’t waste time worrying about taglines or snappy names – just use your site title/domain name. Or even your name.
This doesn’t need to take more than a couple of hours. Use Pinterest to find font combinations that you like, and find similar ones on Canva.
Once you have your logo, you have your main branding elements. The little blue swoosh thing I use to break up my content in the background of my logo. I use the same font in my headings.
It’s all branding, and it ties my site together. Is it good? No. I don’t really care. But it means that when you see those same fonts and colours on Pinterest you’ll immediately recognise my pins.
Why branding matters to writers
You can use it to sell yourself. As I say, I don’t really care too much about the colours and fonts, but I keep my tone consistent across all my sites. In fact, all my logos are pretty similar.
If you come across my rabbit or plant sites, it won’t take you long to realise that it’s me.
It also means that if you want to set up multiple websites in various niches, you can use your own logo to recreate a new one and have the whole thing set up in an hour.
How branding can save you time
Although I don’t advise that you rely on Pinterest for traffic, I it’s worth creating a Pinterest pin for every article.
By using your brand colours, fonts, and logo, you can create pins quickly using the existing templates, by switching up the colours and fonts and adding your logo as a watermark.
It can be really daunting to create pins from scratch, especially when there are so many ‘rules’ out there about the best colours and fonts to use.
Elements like content breaks are also a quick way to break up text and give the eyes a break. I added mine to reusable blocks so it takes seconds to add in, rather than having to find a picture, resize it, upload it etc.
How to decide on your branding
I usually have a quick look through Pinterest for some inspiration and create something quickly. The branding for my house rabbit website is crap and I hate the colour scheme, but realistically no one really cares.
Avoid anything that moves or makes a noise. It’s extremely irritating and it will likely slow your site down.
Just do it. You can always rebrand later.
It’s important to remember that your branding can include and exclude certain people.
If you brand yourself with a lot of script fonts, pink and gold graphics, and call everyone ‘your dears’ and use the hashtag bossbabe you’re going exclude a large demographic.
If you don’t want to discourage certain ages, genders, and socio-economic status, be careful with your branding.
One of my niches is plants. I picked a cool green palette, because my target demographic is people who like plants. Since a lot of people who like plants are millennials, and a lot of millennials don’t have a lot of money, I don’t push a lot of affiliate links. It’s a little jarring.
Do you need to pay someone to help you with branding?
When you’re super successful it can be beneficial to have someone to help you with your branding. But when it’s just you writing articles about model trains or Warhammer books, it really doesn’t matter.
If you’re wondering if good branding = traffic, the answer = no.
But once you’ve become an established name, branding becomes more important, and it can be beneficial to hire a professional.
Branding can encompass so many things that a lot of small business owners don’t have to think about, especially when it comes to advertising.
You need to also consider things like whether you want your brand to have a political leaning, its stance on the environment, and its hiring policy.
As one person sitting behind a computer, I don’t really have to consider this stuff, but if i decided to start producing, for example, plant pots, everything from how I source the ingredients to the stores that sell my products will have an impact on people’s perception of my brand.
That’s crux of the matter really: the branding doesn’t matter; it’s people’s perception of my brand.
Does branding help with SEO?
No, not directly.
But it can help drive traffic once you’re established, especially if you want to stay relatively anonymous. I use my logo as my Instagram picture so that people that have found me on my website and want to follow me can find me easily.
Branding is extremely important, but the way I like to think about is this:
By the time branding is really going to send your business to the next level, you’ll be able to afford to pay someone else to do it.
I guess it could benefit those of you that are looking to freelance, but that’s more because it makes you look more professional to have a consistent image. The actual look of your site isn’t as important as the consistency of your branding.
Final thoughts on branding yourself
Branding is a massive topic with huge implications, but it also isn’t as important as you’d think.
I know that contradicts itself, but by using SEO as a method for driving traffic, we’re automatically making branding less important.
On Pinterest we pick the pins with the prettiest fonts and colours because we don’t have the option to choose the highest quality content.
As long as the colours you pick aren’t hideous, and the fonts you choose are easy to read, don’t worry about it too much, until you’re a millionaire that can outsource this stuff, or you fancy taking a graphic design course.