Rebranding a blog takes weeks of grueling work, not just in the execution, but in the planning, the critique, and fixing everything that goes wrong along the way. I rebranded my blog This Girl Knows It twice and came across many problems along the way, some of which required extensive research to fix (especially when it came to Google Analytics). Some bloggers may even be shocked to find out that not everything counts as a re-brand. After all, a rebrand should primarily focus on the change of content, rather than the change in design.
However, the “look” of a website does contribute to the visual elements of the brand. Therefore, when it does come time to hit the “do-over” button and rebrand your blog, these are the several key visual brand elements that you should consider:
A blog theme is your brand’s biggest visual element and most likely the one you will be spending the most time and money on.
While researching which theme will best suit your blog’s visual rebrand, here are some key questions to consider:
Can you customize it?
Most themes come with customization options, but it’s important to note that some come with more than others. For example, I’ve seen some themes where you can only change the theme’s colors to 3 or 4 set options, which is difficult if your brand’s colors are something completely different from what is offered. On the other hand, other themes may have a number of available layouts available, infinite color options, etc.
What is the cost?
Themes can vary greatly in price. Although a free or cheap theme can work great, it is important to note that sometimes it’s worth it to invest more and get a higher-quality theme. This is especially true if your blog is your full-time business or you require additional features.
However, when you’re just starting out, I would suggest setting aside a budget of about $50 to $60 on your theme as the highest point in your budget. As you begin building up your blog, generating blogging income, and decide that you enjoy blogging and are going to stick with it, you could then invest more in your blog theme. However, the decision is up to you!
Is it easy to install and set up?
Unfortunately, installing a theme and having it automatically set up to your preferences isn’t possible. In fact, theme installation can be quite complex due to how personalized website themes can be. Although a simple theme may only take a short time to set up, I’ve had some themes that have taken days to install and personalize.
However, some themes do offer a theme developer to install it for you (at an additional cost), so it is up to you to gauge your technical comfort in installing a theme and how complex the theme’s installation is. You should also consider the impact downtime would have on your blog, especially if you run ads or if your blog is experiencing a peak season.
Does the theme complement your blog’s “niche”?
A theme can highlight certain portions of your site and bring them to the forefront of your visitor’s attention. For example, the theme on This Girl Knows It focuses more on photography than any of my previous themes due to the travel niche and the need to show plenty of photos.
Before re-branding, my old site (Forever Charlotte Nicole) had a basic “blogger-like” theme on it: just a simple scroll view with a static column on the right that included my photo, an “about me”, and my social media links. It worked, but it wasn’t what I envisioned when I thought “travel blog”. I knew I wanted to take my blog’s look to a whole new level and invest in something that I knew would not only work for my site but would help me achieve my goal; the result was a theme that not only complemented with my brand but fit the needs of my niche.
Think of some of your favorite brands and you can instantly pair a color to it. Whether it’s Target’s iconic red or McDonald’s bright yellow, these specific colors are easily associated with these brands, even if few other visual clues are provided.
Why is this important?
It means that color can create a key visual distinction for your content, especially on social media sites like Pinterest or Twitter. Maintaining a consistent and recognizable color (or color scheme) and using it throughout your content can cause a loyal follower to stop their rapid scrolling and click on your post.
To identify your brand’s colors, I highly encourage researching color psychology and also considering the niche of your blog. If your brand is more of a personal brand (such as this portfolio blog), you may decide to focus less on color psychology and more on what reflects your personality and preferences.
If you’re still having trouble identifying a key color or color scheme, I recommend creating a mood board of photos on Pinterest, which can assist you in identifying a pattern of colors (and even styles) that you’re interested in for your brand. I also recommend using a color scheme generator like Coolors to find colors that compliment the primary color of your brand; a color scheme generator makes the process of finding corresponding colors much simpler and guarantees that the colors go well together.
Although it’s possible that other bloggers may have the same website theme as you or the same/similar color scheme, a logo will be unique to your brand. When creating a logo you can go through a professional service, use an online template (which I do not recommend), or you can create your own using software such as Photoshop or Canva.
Some of the characteristics of a great logo include:
Fonts have a personality of their own. They can be cursive and romantic, bold and powerful, or rounded and fun. The important part is to choose which font(s) speak to the overall personality and brand of your blog.
Consider which colors you are going to use in your logo and how they will be used. Whether you are using color in the font, in the background behind it, or in the graphic elements around the words, how and where you use color–as well as which color(s) you choose–can affect your logo in a variety of ways.
While some logos only include words, others incorporate graphics. For example, my logo for This Girl Knows It features a paper airplane weaving in and out of the words. Using a graphic in your logo can easily make your logo stand out among others.
Visual weight is what means makes the logo’s fonts, colors, and graphics evenly weighted throughout the visual space.
The easiest way to think about visual weight is to imagine how a logo would look if one side used a bold typeface, lots of colors, and polka dots but the other side was a simple black font with no other decoration. Visually speaking, it wouldn’t make any sense and would be hard for site visitors to understand.
Photography Style and Editing Theme
Using a similar photography style or photo editing theme is another key visual element for your blog’s brand, especially on social media platforms. In fact, it can become a stop-and-interact factor for your blog’s brand. After all, I’m sure you can think of a time you stopped scrolling on social media to read a brand’s caption and engage with your post because you identified a “constant” of a brand you enjoy, such as their color scheme or photography style. This is something that can work in your favor if you apply it to your visual brand, too.
For example, I use the same preset for my Instagram photos and blog photos on This Girl Knows It. This ensures that my photos are easily identifiable as being mine, even if my social media handle isn’t immediately seen, as these visual elements alone should be strong enough for someone to know that the photos came from my account.
Although we previously discussed the impact of font in a logo, it’s also an important factor for your website.
While having several different fonts is fine, you don’t want them to be majorly different, such as having bubble letters in your logo, a typeface font on your Pinterest graphics, a cursive font in your newsletter, etc. Choosing a set of 3-5 similar, complementing fonts to use across all platforms is the best option when establishing your visual brand.
Final Tips on How to Identify Your Blog’s Key Visual Elements During a Re-Brand
Like I said before: re-branding isn’t easy. It can take a lot of planning to coordinate everything and ensure that everything complements the brand you want to create for your blog. However, identifying and establishing the visual elements of your blog during a re-brand is also a great opportunity to better establish your brand, make it stand out, and achieve a great blog re-brand.