Module 2: Branding And Launching Your Blog

At this stage, you should know the niche you intend to focus on with your blog. The next step is to develop a brand identity for your blog; how to launch and build your website.

Launching blog

Branding Your Blog

Branding your blog simply means coming up with appropriate elements by which it can be easily identified among the millions of other blogs on the internet. The three most essential identity elements include:

  • Domain Name
  • Logo
  • Brand Voice

Domain Name

Domain name is an unique address of your blog on the Internet. For example, the domain name of my blog is mrmoneyfrugal.com.

A domain name is divided in two parts: Top level Domain and 2nd Level Domain, for example in my blog domain, 

.com is a Top level domain (TLD) & mrmoneyfrugal is 2nd level domain. Other TLDs include .org, .edu, etc. You can read more about domain at domains and domain names by Hubspot to understand the different types of top-level domains. 

Bluehost Domains

"However, I advise you to choose a “.com” as your TLD name. “.com” is as old as the internet and is perceived as more professional for blogs.

Your domain name is the first thing your target audience would notice about your blog, especially your second-level domain name. Therefore a lot of thought must be put into coming up with one. But, I don't like that you keep on thinking about your domain and never final it and start blogging.

A great domain name for your site should be free; unique, easy to pronounce, remember; flexible, and meaningful. 

1. Free

This is the most crucial factor when considering a domain name— it should be free, meaning no other blog should be identified by the same name. Fortunately, you cannot use a domain name that is not free. For example, my domain name is not free because it is already taken by me and so you can register it for yourself. 

So, before you settle finally on any name, ensure you check its availability. To do this, visit https://www.bluehost.com/domains. Type in your domain name and click search.

You will get back from Bluehost with information on the availability of the domain name..

2. Unique

Your domain name should be unique to you. Uniqueness helps you stand out, making it easy for your target audience to identify your blog. 

3. Easy to pronounce

Your target audience's language would determine the domain name you should develop. If a predominantly English-speaking audience reads your blog, you might have to reconsider using a domain name native to your tongue.

4. Easy to remember

A domain name which is easy to remember is either mono-syllabic or di-syllabic, as they are easy to pronounce. The easier it is to pronounce your domain name, the easier it will be for readers to refer others to your blog. However, if you can't find any mono-syllabic or disyllabic domain, don't be disappointed and stop progressing. The real game is launching the blog and moving forward. 

You can put even your name and get started. There are also people who are very successful with their names in domains for example Neil Patel. Neil Patel own neilpatel.com which is a successful digital marketing agency. 

5. Flexible

The goal is to develop a name that would not entirely restrict the type of content you can write about in your chosen niche. Just because your niche is in “Persian cats” doesn't mean you should include “Persian cats” in your domain name.”

You might decide to write about other types of cats in the future, and you will find it hard. Some of the most flexible domain names are created from the name of the owner of the blog — the first name (refer above example of neilpatel.com).

Also, like in my blog, I can write about anything related to saving money, investing money, frugal travelling, making money and even improving myself (self development). So, choose the domain name accordingly because it is something that will stay with you for the long time. 

6. Meaningful

Do not mindlessly put words together to form a domain name. Be deliberate and make sure your domain name has meaning to you. For example, if you want to write about guitar lessons, you can't choose a domain name about swimming or something like xipinglaw.com, it does not make sense. 

Logo

Your logo is the second way your target audience will identify your blog. When building your website, you must upload your logo in several places, especially as an icon when you set up your site identity. This is unique to all sites. Below is the image of all the sites I have opened on my tab. You will see next to the title of each page’s site is their logos and favicon.

Logos and favicon

You can design your logo by yourself in Canva. However, you can always hire a professional from Upwork or Fiverr.

Other essential visual elements for your blog include color, font, photography style, patterns, illustrations, etc. Refrain from overthinking any of these when starting. Go with “simple,” and you can establish these elements as your blog grows.

Brand Voice

Your brand voice simply means how you sound in your blog. You have to decide early on if your content will be written in a formal style, informal, jovial, descriptive, etc. style. Upon determining this, your goal will be to stick to it.

Building Your Blog

If you wanted a website, you would have had to hire a developer a few years back. But thanks to Content Management Systems like WordPress, you can build and launch your blog within a few hours. I will take you through building and launching your blog in this section.

Here is a glossary of terms you need to know and be familiar with to build and launch your website.

Content Management System, CMS: These are software application programs that allow users manage, create and edit digital content like websites. With CMS, users can build intuitive web pages without knowledge of HTML, Javascript, MySQL, and other technologies. 

WordPress: WordPress is the most used CMS for building websites and blogs. 49% of all websites on the internet are made using WordPress. For example I useWordpress for my content management. 

WordPress Plugins: Plugins are software built to add required functionalities to a website or enhance the functionality of the site. 

Below is a step-by-step process for building your blog.

Purchase A Domain Name And Hosting Service

You have a number of options to purchase your domain name and hosting services from several companies. The top four companies I recommend include:
  • Bluehost
  • Hostgator
  • SiteGround
  • Godaddy

There are others, and I advise you to research one with a price that fits your budget. For this course, I will use Bluehost, as WordPress recommends.

Step 1: Go to https://www.bluehost.com/ Click “Get Started Now”

Step 2: Go through the plans and choose the one you want. You can start with the BASIC PLAN and upgrade to a higher plan.

Bluehost Hosting

Step 3: Next, enter your unique domain name. When you host your site on the platform, you get a free domain name from Bluehost.

Step 4: Fill up the necessary forms: account information, package information, and package extras. You can include Yoast Premium SEO in the package extras. You will learn more about the Yoast SEO plug-in later in this chapter.

Step 5: After payment, choose your password and log into your Bluehost account.

Step 6: Attempt to answer the questions you will be asked or skip them. However, make sure you choose “blog” when it gets prompted.

Step 7: Skip “theme” for now: More about this further down.

Step 8: On the Bluehost dashboard, click the WordPress button to install it. 

Congratulations, you just registered your domain name, hosted your blog, and installed WordPress.

Build your blog

Upon installing WordPress, you will be prompted to pick a theme but skip this. Next, you will be directed to a page where “start Building” is highlighted. Click on this.

On the next page, click “I don’t need help.” Then enter your site title and description once prompted to.

And now, you will be directed to your WordPress Dashboard. This is where you will build your blog. Now you have to follow the steps below to build your blog.

Install A Theme

A theme determines the aesthetic of your website: how it looks, its structure, and some of its functions. Themes are customizable, making replacing the content in its templates with yours easy. There are free, premium, and freemium themes.

Every WordPress installation comes with a set of inbuilt themes. However, the best theme for your blog is WP Astra. Wp Astra is a freemium theme and can be customised to suit your blog. 

Follow below steps to install a theme.

Step 1: On your WordPress dashboard, hover your mouse on Appearance and click on Themes. Either way, click “Appearance” and then “Themes,” as shown below.

Themes

Step 2: Click on the “Add New” at the top of the page. 

Step 3: Now you can find here free themes. You can also search a theme by name to check if it is available as a free theme. Here you can also upload a theme, install it and activate it. Here in below image you can see that I have Astra Theme installed and activated. Astra is a freemium theme. 

Now basic things of your blog are set up. And you can start adding following pages to make it more authentic;

About Page: The “About Us” is where the audience would go to to learn more about your blog. It should have all the information you want your audience to know about you, what the blog is really about, vision, mision, etc. You can also setup your home page as your "About Us" page. 

Contact Us: You must set up a Contact Us page so the people can contact you whenever they need your services or products. You can also put your contact details in your footer or header if you don't like to have a separate page for it. 

Privacy Policy: Privacy Policy page should explain how and where the information collected from the visitors will be used. They must know whether sharing their personal information is safe and secure at your blog or not. 

Disclaimer Page: A disclaimer page is required if you have affiliate links, Ads and the sort on your blog. Your audiences  should be made aware of this on your disclaimer page.

It is easy to configuring these important pages on your website/blog if you're using a page builder like Thrive Architect, Elementor etc. This post is designed in Thrive Architect. You can also use Elementor which is also available for free. 

Install Plugins

WordPress comes with a couple of plugins already installed. However, for a fully functional website, there are a few more plugins you must install to be able to build your blog.

There are both paid and free plug-ins. Most premium(paid) plug-ins offer users a free version with limited features, often sufficient for a new blog. However, as your blog grows, you must upgrade your plugins to the premium version.

All the plugins discussed in this section are premium, which means they are paid plugins but can still be used for free, although with limitations.

Elementor Pro: It is a page builder that boasts a live drag-and-drop editor, hundreds of templates, hundreds of widgets, and an intuitive user interface used for building websites on WordPress. Elementor is easy to use, and you can build any website without coding knowledge.  

Strive Content Calendar: Fundamentally, you should have a schedule for publishing blog posts. With Strive's content editor, you can schedule your posts beforehand, ensuring you never miss a day.

Icegram: Icegram is an intuitive pop-up plugin used to capture the attention of your readers, directing them to take specific actions like clicking on a button, signing up, etc. 

PrettyLinks: As the name implies, pretty links beautify links in your blog posts. You can cloak, shorten, organize, and shrink links with pretty links.

WooCommerce: This is the most powerful WordPress e-commerce plugin. With Woo-commerce, you can build a fully functional store on your WordPress, with fantastic back-end support.

SumoMe: Newsletters are one of the most important ways to engage with your readers, update them on new information, and brief them about your blog. With SumoMe, you can manage everything newsletter, including sign-up, list building, AB testing, and analytics.

Other notable plugins you should look into include Tutor LMS, Divi Builder and Optin Master. However, not all of them you will use, so choose which mostly suit your need while starting out. 

To install a plugin, take the following steps below.

Step 1: Click “Plugins” in the left corner of your WordPress Dashboard

Step 2: Click on the “Add New”, as shown below.

Plugins

Step 3: Type the name of the plugin you want to install in the search button. Don't Make Any Mistakes; some plugins differ in spelling by a single letter. Type in for example “Yoast SEO". As you can see the status is shown here "ACTIVE", it means it is active on my website. However, if you look at the "Rank Math SEO", it is ready to install.

Once it is installed, you can activate it, the "ACTIVATE" tab appears when the plugin is installed. 

Depending on the Plugin, you might be prompted to perform other activities like sign-up and configuration.