(read all the way to the end…there is a surprise for you!)
I’ve seen a lot of “rebranding the blog” type posts lately–how to’s on making your blog more “professional”, how to bring in income, etc. There are some very good tips, as well (the ones that have helped me are in bold:
– know your basic coding
– have a memorable title and tag line
– make sure your tag line fits into your mission statement
– make sure you have a mission statement
– use the same theme (colors, fonts, styles) throughout all your social media platforms and graphics
– have a professional do your blog design
– have the same “user name” across all social media platforms
– join communities of the same mission and be a participant
– join affiliates and have ads, sponsor other blogs, join ad campaigns
– find your niche and add a new, fresh, unique view to it
– have high-quality photos, and HAVE photos or graphics
It could go on and on. A few of my close blogging friends have decided to rebrand their blogs for several reasons:
– they’ve found their niche and love it
– they want to dramatically grow their blog
– they’ve opened up a shop or starter business
– they want their primary income to come from their blog
For reasons 1&3, I say, “Fantastic! I wholeheartedly wish you luck and I’m truly excited for you!”
For reasons 2&4, I say, “…Good luck….”
Time and time again, I’ve been caught in the terrible web of statistics and growth. I’ve suffered blogger envy more times I care to admit (especially with those who have been blogging for less than a year and already have hundreds of viewers). I’ve even fallen into the trap of sometimes losing my voice and writing solely for my audience. I had forgotten who I was and the beautiful prose I wrote the first year or two I had this blog.
This month, for my New Year’s Monthly Goal, I wanted to work on my blog. And, I did a lot. I redid my entire Pinterest account, creating new boards and reorganizing them, updating links, etc. I learned how to schedule posts across social media and I created a pin-it button. I’ve gotten ahead of my posts–not because I’m trying to “brand” my blog, but because I’ve been so inspired to write lately! I’ve joined a lot of facebook groups to share my blog, and I’ve followed new blogs.
But, I’ve realized through this month of learning more about my blog, I don’t want to “rebrand” my blog. Yes, I may not grow as quickly as others, but I have already gained 20 new followers in just this month! That’s 1/6 of my following (quick–do the math!). Because I have been better at being true to myself. I’ve participated in communities more. And, that’s what I want to do. So…
I am henceforth “un-branding” my blog. And I invite you, too, as well. This past year, simplifying has been a huge fad–living a simpler life, decluttering, being more “at home” in your sphere. That is what I want with the blog, and I have seen many people start to lean that way. Therefore, here are some tips on how to “un-brand” your blog.
1) Don’t worry about having a niche and a mission statement
My friend, Amberly, at A Prioritized Marriage, is one of my friends who just rebranded because she found her true niche–marriage and relationships. She says she never runs out of things to say and always has the perfect mix of information and personal life. However, I’d never be able to limit myself to a single (or 2 or 3) subjects. I blog about: teaching, books, recipes, marriage, family, motherhood, my daily-average life, blogging, and really anything else that comes to my mind. I don’t have a niche and I won’t ever have a niche. That’s why we have “lifestyle” bloggers. As for a mission statement, I don’t have one because I don’t really have a mission on my blog. I water-mark photos I worked hard on, and any money I gain from blogging is put back into blogging. So, I don’t see a reason to have one.
2) More personal stuff and less information
I’ve seen plenty of articles that say the opposite: “to brand your blog, you need to have more information and less personal stuff”. Yes, that way, your blog becomes click fodder, but, is it really even a blog anymore or a self-help site? Blog is short for web log. A log is a type of daily account. Or in other words, a journal. And yes, sometimes it’s nice to know “5 ways to improve your photography” or “3 ideas for fashion posts” or “7 things I wish I knew when I started blogging”, but it gets old, fast. I want to know more about you and not want to have to rely on the About page only! I want to share who I am as well. A lot of my family and old friends reads my blog because it is a way for them to keep in touch with me. It’s a great communication device, if you stay personal and let your readers into your life!
3) Don’t separate your personal and blogger social media accounts
I know many bloggers who have done this and suggest it, but again, we aren’t “rebranding” our blogs. We are “unbranding.” This also goes along with the previous reason–be more personal. I write a lot about my family, so why not show pictures of my family on my one and only Instagram account?
4) Just practice your skills in graphics and photography, don’t stress about it all being main-streamed
It took a lot for me to justify saving up for a year and buying a DSLR for Christmas because they are such big purchases. But, my husband was supportive. I wanted better quality pictures. Not only for the blog, but also for posterity. So, I got one and I love it. I haven’t done anything but the automatic setting yet. I have some great looking pictures, and some terrible ones. Now, I’m not saying use terrible pictures on your blog, because well, why would you want terrible, blurry pictures even for you? I’ve also been working on new graphics for each post. I used to be the ad designer for my high school’s newspaper and have since, lost the talent for graphic design. I, personally, want to improve my own skills in these two aspects, but if they don’t look as nice as others, well, that’s because I’m not a photographer or a graphics design major and I’m ok with that.
5) Don’t be a sell-out
The hardest thing I hear from bigger bloggers is the balance of sponsored posts and personal posts. I know bloggers who grasp at every chance to be paid for a post or do a review. I’ve done product reviews, myself, after receiving free products, but I’ve only done ones I’ve wanted. It isn’t a lot, but it’s definitely helped my family–we’ve gotten protein shakes, dresses, baby clothes, cavity fillings, massages, and rugs, just to name a few. I’ve only been paid once for a post, and that was just enough to go to a Blogger Sleepover with a few of my friends. I hate going to blogs and seeing Google Ads or Affiliate Ads all over their sidebars and sub-bars. It just looks too cluttered! But, that doesn’t mean don’t have any sponsored or paid posts. Just last week, I saw a blogger I follow open an Etsy shop with super cute personal mugs. I asked her if I could have one with my blog’s name on it to review. I doubted she’d agree as I only have 120 followers, but she did! And yes, I’m going to Instagram the crap out of it to advertise my blog. But guess what. I’ll have a cute mug to drink out of and a closer friend for helping her shop. And, I still will be doing paid sponsor spots, because like I said, all money I earn (as little as it may be), goes back into blogging.
6) Be true to yourself, write for yourself, and have fun
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve lost myself in the blogosphere. I lost my passion for experimenting with the written word, which was the original reason I started a blog all the way back in 2009. The most important reason to write is yourself. So, ignore the stats (as hard as that may be). Ignore the most popular kinds of posts, the dimes a dozen posts. Write what you want to write and have fun doing so.
And now, because y’all have been such great readers and commentators and friends, I want to celebrate YOU! So, I have three prizes up for grabs for three different winners!
1st place: $20 Paypal
2nd place: The Novella In-Post Banner Ad for the month of February
3rd place: The Tall Tale 250×250 Top Side Ad for the month of February
(more info on the ads here)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What other tips do you have to “un-brand” your blog?