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Building A Blog Brand 101

  July 10

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The other day I got a tweet from a new reader and fellow freelancer that really got me thinking about building a blog brand and what it takes. It said:

Building A Blog Brand

This tweet made my day, mostly because it was out of nowhere, it was a nice compliment, and it made me realize how much Budget Blonde has transformed over the past three years.

I didn’t start this blog with a business concept or a specific idea to start building a blog brand and promote it in that way. I chose a name that was me, someone who was blonde (at the time) but also well educated, someone who likes pink websites and sparkly things but who is also serious about crunching numbers and paying back debt, and someone who is honest and goofy and enjoys calling readers “blog peeps” (hey yo!)

I really had no idea that the blog would become a business. If that was my goal, I would have definitely gone about building a blog brand in a different way. Still, I’m happy with the way the site has grown up with me and how my thoughts, ideas, and life experiences have changed me in a way that all of you can read about.

Essentially, all I was doing was just being me. I went about building a blog brand without even realizing it. Recently I was at the pool and a few med school students were talking about student loans. One said, “I just don’t know what I’m going to do,” and the other said, “Go ask Budget Blonde.” It’s become a normal thing to be referred to as this blog name. It’s now a part of me, and it’s gotten to the point where I really don’t know what I’d do without Budget Blonde and the 50 or so personal finance blogs I read every week.

That said, now that I’m somewhat of a blogging veteran, I’d probably advise anyone new to do the following few things when building a blog brand.

Building A Blog Brand 101

1. Choose An Excellent Name

You shouldn’t choose your blog name on a whim. You should carefully think about it, ask friends what they think, and process on it for a few days. Remember, this name is going to be the biggest part of building a blog brand, and it’s important that you really like it and that it encompasses you and everything you hope the business will become.

2. Choose A Logo

BudgetBlondeLogo

Most people don’t realize how important a logo or a specific image is for your blog. When you’re building your blog community and commenting on other sites, your logo or chosen picture will show up next to your name. Many people also use this picture on their social media profiles, like twitter, google +, and facebook. The longer you are on the grand ol’ interwebs, the more people will identify you with your image. It took me two years to redesign this website, and I wish I would have had my logo from the beginning.

3. Get The Goods

One of the things you can do as a blogger, just as in any other profession, is go to conferences. When you do that, you’re going to want to get business cards with your logo on them and a little bit about you. Heck you can even get fancy plastic business cards from a plastic card supplier if you want to stand out. Essentially, treating your blog as a business, just like any other business, is the best way to establish yourself as a serious professional.

4. Stay Relevant

If a brand stopped making products, they would cease to be relevant and eventually no one would be wearing that brand’s clothes or using that brand’s camera. Just like any other company, building a blog brand means staying relevant, posting every week, expanding your community, and maintaining the qualities and characteristics of the brand that you started out with.

Like I said, Budget Blonde became a brand all on its own purely by being representative of me. It was a very organic growth. However, had I decided from the beginning to make a living through this website, I would have put some of these steps into place a little bit sooner.

Do you want to start a blog, or if you have a blog already, do you consider your blog a brand? What other steps or advice would you give a new blogger who wants to build a blog brand?

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52 responses to “Building A Blog Brand 101

  1. I love your logo. I see so many bad logos that it makes really professional ones stand out. While I can understand skimping on lots of areas of your blog, saving money by using MSFT Paint for your logo is damaging. I think that if you took the time to develop a blog, shouldn’t you take yourself seriously enough to do it right? Great stuff!

  2. Good tips, and I like the look and logo on your site too. I chose my name on a whim, fortunately I do think it works? Yes? πŸ™‚ I’d love to get a logo done. Maybe I’ll find a task rabbit or fiver to create one.

  3. I’m basically in the same boat as you are. Lots of people refer to me as Blonde on a Budget – some even still as LC! And I can’t say I did anything to build up the “brand” I have now, but I do see that it’s there and want to make it a bit bigger. Stay tuned. πŸ˜‰

  4. Great tips Cat! I could not agree more. Being in advertising, I just shake my head when I see any site (blog or otherwise) that either put little thought in what they want to be about or didn’t spend a little money to make it look halfway decent. If it’s something you’re going to stick with then it should be taken seriously. I agree with the others, love the logo and think it’s spot on. πŸ™‚

  5. I definitely hope to improve my brand a bit through a blog redesign (and probably new logo??) as well as some business cards so I can network better with others (though there are certainly other ways of doing this!).

  6. I knew there was a reason I liked you – “someone who likes pink websites and sparkly things” LOL! You may not have started with the goal of creating a business but you have done a great job building one. I agree it’s important to have a nice looking website, especially if you want to be taken seriously. I went back and forth on The Heavy Purse name. The name originated from my daughter, Taylor, but probably doesn’t appeal to a lot of men and I did not want to exclude them. In the end, having my daughter name my book and business meant more to me and men still visit my website – even in all it’s pink glory! πŸ™‚

  7. I’ve always loved your logo! When I was meeting with my designer-friend I showed him your site as inspiration for what I wanted from mine – clean, modern, and a simple logo. While I’m very happy with my design, the logo part isn’t quite there yet. I gotta get on that soon πŸ™‚

  8. Great advice, Cat! I think the naming of your blog is essential. It can be tough to get everything on the same page (i.e. name, logo, material, etc.), but when you do it definitely shows. People are more apt to come to your blog if your logo and name are recognizable.

  9. Haha my friends call me pf pro sometimes and sometimes I’ll refer to myself in the third person. “Let me check with the pf pro and get back to you” haha

  10. Great tips, Cat! I haven’t been reading your site long, but I love the design of it! I also love pink and sparkly things, and it seems that your site is a perfect extension of who are!

  11. You have a great brand Cat. I have been wanting to get a sweet new logo, but just haven’t had time. I think I need to go do it in order to create my brand. What a great tweet to get.

    1. Awww thanks Grayson! I really appreciate that. I love your blog name and your current logo. It’s really unique, but I totally understand wanting to update. I always want to tweak the site. πŸ˜€

  12. I haven’t been blogging long enough to build a brand yet, but I do like to think of GMD and my cartoon avatar as my bad ass student loan kicking superhero πŸ˜€ You’ve come a LONG way in 3 years Cat – Congrats!

  13. As someone just starting out, this is a great article. Besides being a quick and easy read, it makes me hopeful that you don’t always need such a serious plan in the beginning (albeit it certainly has its benefits). Personality and perseverance can go a long way πŸ™‚

  14. Some great tips. I read blogging for dummies before I started my blog and made notes on the entire book. I think I still have my brainstorming sheet around here somewhere. I chose my name based on the fact that I would be talking about finance and budgets but the binder part is like a book that encompasses all things in our budget ie: clothing, grocery, retirement etc…. I’ve learned so much and learn every day about blogging. It’s a wonderful world. Cheers Cat

  15. Its all about branding! I still need to come up with a logo and i really like the plastic business cards. You are doing a great job and its shows and people are noticing. I really like your logo its simple yet elegant and stands out. The content speaks for itself and you are absolutely everywhere I look. That the one thing I like about having a great brand people look for you and you don’t have to worry about search traffic as much.

  16. Great tips. I don’t have business cards because until recently I wasn’t using my full name. I guess now that I’m “out” I should have some made up. I haven’t been to any conferences yet, but I’m hoping I’ll make it to at least one next year.

  17. great advice here, Catherine. you picked a great hostname and branded off of it from the start– which played a big part in your success, without a doubt..

    of course, putting in the time and effort is an even more important driver towards taking your brand to the next level.

  18. Pingback: Closing Report: July 8th – 14th | Real Simple Finances

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