How to Start a Blog on a Budget | Step 2: Planning and Branding
I’m a pen and paper lover, but I find it easier having it all digital when it comes to blogging. So, I started a board on Trello for my new blog. (I have several other posts about Trello on the blog, you can find them here)
The first thing to decide was the launch date for my blog. Since it’s a blog to celebrate Autumn and I want to publish new posts every Friday, August 31st was the best day to choose for me. Once I had that in mind, I’ve been able to properly break down my to do lists.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the first list contains all the branding elements (more on that later), while the second one is for the actual plans. There are three checklists there, one for things to do before the launch, one about social media because they require a lot of work too, and one checklist is for things to do after launching the blog.
Then, I started brainstorming the general vibe (or “branding”) that I wanted to give to my blog: colours, icons, fonts, etc.
After putting all the elements together to make sure they matched, I started creating header images and avatars using Canva (which is free). The process above it’s what designers call “mood board” and, if you don’t have access to any tool like Photoshop or you aren’t familiar with Canva, you can just use Pinterest, pinning your favourite images in a single board.
You’ll probably see a different headshot and header on my actual blog, I didn’t even use all the icons above, but it doesn’t matter, it was just a brainstorming session.
Putting it all together
Once I got all my colours, fonts and images, it was time to put them on my website and the social media accounts in order to create a cohesive online presence.
Again, Canva is very helpful because it has premade templates with the right size for social media headers, posts, avatars, and so on. You just have to upload your images or pick one of their hundreds templates available.
Once I had all the images, I went on and started setting up my social media accounts. Another thing I would recommend you to prepare is a “working progress” status that will show that you’re working on the blog and that the accounts will be active very soon. This is definitely better than showing an empty profile, you want people remembering you and it’s easier if you’re already “on brand”.
In my case, I used the main colour of my branding palette, the header font and the icon I’ve used on my blog. I’m not a designer, so this isn’t a professionally made brand for my blog, but when you have a limited budget you just have to do your best.
By the way, a great place to find icons and images to use for your blog is PNGtree.
Here is an initial look at my Twitter profile.
The header image is from Unsplash, I’ve added the blog title and tagline using Canva.
It’s important to mention that I recommend using websites like PNGtree and Unsplash to find stock photos and icons for personal use (the commercial use requires a license) because they are distributed with the artists’ permission. I wouldn’t recommend places like Google Images, for example, because you would risk violating the copyrights.
And that’s a wrap for Part 2! I hope you found it useful.