This is a question I get asked a lot so in this article I want to go over what I truly believe to be the graphic elements you need for your brand new blog (and what you don’t).
Let me start by saying my opinion might differ from every single graphic design blog you might come across but I’m ok with it.
When I was a new blogger I was so overwhelmed with the number of voices out there and how they were all saying different things. I get the frustration, I promise I do.
But that’s also how I learned who’s ideas I wanted to follow and learn from, so here it goes!
Creating a Brand As a New Blogger
Now, most designers might tell you that you should hire a designer for an amazing logo and brand kit to get started. You’ll answer questions about your mission and messaging in order to create this beautiful brand with the perfect colors and fonts.
My question is: how do you know that’s your true brand?
Fun fact! My very first blog was “shifted focus” 3 times before I was comfortable with who I was speaking to and what I was writing about.
I didn’t know much about blogging when I first started so it took me awhile to really find my “lane”.
So, here’s the brutal honest truth: if you’re so new that you have:
- Less than 20 blog posts written
- Little idea of “who” you’re speaking to (your avatar) and why you want to help them
- Little idea of how to blog as a business (like how you’ll monetize, what an email list is, etc)
- No email list (you’re using a RSS feed instead of an email list)
Then I recommend a completely simple DIY approach to your brand. This is something that should take you no more than 2 days to do and then I don’t want you to touch it at all.
New bloggers sometimes spend weeks on tweaking their brand so it’s perfect. Then they go back a few weeks later to tweak again.
Your colors and fonts are not what’s going to set you up for success. Determining your avatar and creating content (blog posts and freebies) will!
Investing time and energy into actually learning how to make money with your blog will go further than investing money into a web design or brand specialist.
If you’re that brand new blogger, here’s what I recommend: create a basic text logo and then start writing!
Write, write, write! Write blog posts, learn about email lists (I use and love convertkit) and write a welcome nurture sequence. Write content for freebies so you can grow your list.
Just start writing.
And no, I don’t recommend keeping your blog private or hidden in any way- likely no one will find it anyway until you start actively promoting it.
What About New, But Not BRAND NEW Bloggers?
Ok, NOW is when I recommend getting a little more involved with design! You have a blog set up, you have a good amount of pillar posts written, email service provider is set up to start collecting emails, and you have some great content to promote. You might even have your first freebie to start growing your email list with.
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Want to remember this post later? Pin it to your favorite board!
Now is when you may want to invest in design services. That being said, I understand that design services can be quite expensive.
At this point people may be seeing some growth but they may not be actually making money yet, so hiring a designer to create a logo for $250-500 or a branded website for $1000-1500 is just not possible.
This is why most bloggers at this stage go the template route since you can get the same (or similar- depending on how you edit it, of course) quality of design but you’re editing them yourself which brings the cost way down and the designs are so flexible and can be used over and over for just about anything.
Related post: How to Brand Your Blog And Achieve Brand Consistency
So What Designs Should Be Prioritized At This Stage?
This is the million dollar question! Here’s what I recommend when you’ve got your foundation set and you’re ready for promotion of your blog:
- A set of colors and fonts that you use over and over on your site and in your designs (a basic brand- Note: I have a free brand board in my design library you can use)
- Social media headers for all your platforms (you can set up your platforms but start really getting serious growing just one at a time to avoid overwhelm)
- Pin images for all of your blog posts (recommended size: 1000x1500px)
- Facebook images for all your blog posts (recommended size for images posted directly to Facebook or used for ads: 1080x1080px, for images uploaded to your yoast plugin: 1200x628px)
- Featured image for all your blog posts (size varies depending on theme)
- A set of 2-3 graphics that specifically promote your lead magnet so you can use them on Facebook and Pinterest to send people directly to your opt in page
- Design of the actual lead magnet
- At this point you may want to invest in a paid WordPress theme (still much cheaper than hiring a designer for a custom website) and if that theme requires images such category graphics, etc then you’ll want to set that up appropriately.
If you’re looking for the ultimate hack for creating a brand you love, check out the Five Minute Brand! With over 40+ logos and done-for-you, ready to customize brands, you’ll be able to create a brand that’s perfectly you in just minutes! Not only does it have logos and brand boards, but it also include templates for all the other graphics you need for branding your blog, email newsletter, and more!
As You Grow Your Blog, Your Design Priorities Will Shift
Maybe you’ll start a podcast and you’ll need graphics for that. Maybe you’ll start designing digital products and lead magnets. Maybe you’ll start getting more active in various social media platforms and doing stories. (If you’re looking for templates for all these things, check out the The Complete Blogger Template Toolkit!!)
You don’t have to be everywhere at once when you get started. You don’t have to nail down your design or have everything perfect before you hit publish, you just need to start writing.
Once you have that foundation- you can go back to the design but still be strategic about how you spend your time inside of Canva. Your logo probably doesn’t need to be tweaked but designing a new lead magnet?THAT time is well spent.
Spend your time creating designs that will bring you the most amount of growth in the least amount of time. Then, when you’re making a good income- you can rebrand with a custom website and refined logo, etc.
By that time, you’ll know your avatar inside and out and you’ll know exactly what message you want your brand to convey. You will have likely shifted and clarified your message over and over and now you’re comfortable with exactly who you are in this online space.
This is when you’ll want to invest in that branding package or website design. Until then, remember that everything can be changed and what really matters in the beginning is that you just get started!
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