How to Create a Genuine Blog Style Full of Personality
So, you’ve got a blog or you’re thinking of starting a blog. Either way, defining a genuine blog style that speaks to you and your audience can be tricky. First, before we get into how to do just that let’s get clear on exactly what a “genuine blog style” is.
I know some of you might think about branding, others might think about content, and a few might land on the visuals. All of you would be right but, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on the big picture and not so much the nuts and bolts. Things like brand mission, colors, fonts, etc. will come into play here but I won’t be getting into the fine details about any of them.
Instead, I want to focus on the vibe or the overall feeling that you want your blog to have. Adjusting a small component like a header size can have a big impact but a blog style takes into account how changing that header affects the blog as a whole. Does it cause your blog to look more formal or professional? Does that fit with the tone of your writing or the visuals within the post?
Envision your ideal online space
For me, I want Violet Roots to feel like a fun gathering where you can have a chat with a friend and work on your passion projects while a sick playlist hums along in the background. You’ll learn something, get inspired and enthusiastically support one another.
When I started to take my blog more seriously, that’s the blog style that I decided on. The branding details, fonts etc evolved later on over time.
What image comes to mind when you think of your own blog? Take a moment to think of an incredibly detailed vivid picture. I shared the gist of how I envision my online space but I want you to delve deeper and really pay attention to the environment you want to manifest online.
It might seem a little silly but think of everything from the smells in the room, to the fabrics draping the table, the art on the walls, the weather outside . . . really go there!
Have your ideal vibe in mind? Okay, keep that in mind when we go through the next few points. At the end of this, you should be able to figure out your genuine blog style with no problem at all!
Know your purpose
Previously when I discussed finding a new blog theme I compared it to a party. The same metaphor can be used when finding your genuine blog style. What kind of party do you want to throw?
Based on my description from earlier I want to host an entertaining yet comfortable gathering. For you, it might be different. It all depends on what your overall purpose is for your blog.
You might want to translate high fashion trends to the masses like The Fashion Folks or you might want to offer pro traveler tips like Coat + Coffee. Be clear on what your purpose or mission is. If Violet Roots was a blog dedicated to geek fandoms like A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) things would look a lot differently around here. My content might be bite-sized tidbits about breaking news within the fandom or it might be more sparse long form essays on various theories and plots.
It all depends on your main blogging goal or what you’re trying to accomplish at your party.
Alright, so you know why you’re throwing your party – cool. Now it’s time to make sure that your goals are truly in line with you. For instance, let’s go back to the idea of VR being an A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) blog. If you’re not already aware, I’m a huge ASOIAF fan. I’ve won trivia prizes at HBO events, attended screenings, exhibits, and even sat on THE throne! I’ve read the books, I watch countless YouTube videos and listen to a ton of podcasts made by the fandom. You get the picture!
The thing is, as much as I love the series I know that if I wrote about it all the time that would take the fun out of it for me. So, ask yourself this – what do you enjoy enough to be fully immersed in it 24/7?
Why did I say 24/7? Well, because blogging never ends. It’s like a rave or warehouse party that goes on until 7 AM the next day. You have to love it enough to be mentally and physically engaged in it at all times. Of course, you can take a break or set work hours, however, the nature of the internet is that the job is never quite done.
So, what topics could you chew someone’s ear off with at a mixer? If you can think of a few that’s great!
Formal vs. Informal Tones
Continuing with the party theme let’s focus on whether or not your genuine blog style is a formal or informal one. This blog is relatively informal. Again, I wanted my words to come across as much like a friend talking to another friend as possible. Still, I didn’t want it to be so informal that what I’m saying couldn’t be taken seriously.
In other words, I aimed for a late afternoon gathering. One where you could show up in jeans but not in sweats. What about you? Is your style more like a sleek and professional editorial brunch or a relaxed chat around the kitchen table? Refer back to your purpose and your personal interests to see which side you fall on. Then use that to guide your writing style and tone.
Theme Design & Brand Colors
Here is the spot that most people like to begin at. I know it’s tempting to just get to the part with the pretty stuff but you have to do the mental legwork first. I went into depth on choosing blog themes in a previous post so I won’t go too far into it here. Still, just decide if you want the theme of your blog to be light and airy, calm and serene, full of whimsy and color, clean and minimal etc.
Make sure the theme you choose and the colors you pick to go with it make sense with your purpose. Don’t decide to be a green beauty blogger with a focus on eco-friendly spa products and then pick a moody red as your main color. I’m sure there is a brand out there doing exactly that and maybe it works for them. Still, I’m pretty sure that when you close your eyes and think “eco-friendly” and “spa” red is not the first, second, or third color that comes to mind.
This one might be out of left field for you, however, menu descriptions are really important. After all, your navigation is the key to getting visitors to your site to stick around and check out more of what you have to offer (Click to Tweet). So, what should you take note of?
What you choose to include in the navigation, the order you place each tab in, and where you place the menu bar. Some blogs have only 1 menu others have 2 and some even have 3-4. I personally think that anything more than 3 is confusing.
When putting your navigation together decide on the main tabs, if you want a sub-menu, and if you want to repeat or include other useful links in the footer menu.
Consider what you want each visitor to focus on. If you have a shop or offer services then that should be in the main menu. Include a portfolio, press mentions, and anything else major here as well.
Content formatting is to blogging like the seating arrangements are to a dinner party. My format has consistently been centered headings in H2 and H3. The visuals for graphics, post headers and click to tweets have all evolved over time but they’ve all been consistent with the format I was using at the time.
Decide how you want to organize your content or your guests. Streamline it so that it’s easy for them to figure out where to go, where to sit and what to do next. It sucks arriving at a party full of excitement only to soon feel your social anxiety kicking in because you have no idea who anyone is, why you’re there or why you should even stay. Take the guesswork out of it for your visitors. Stick to a consistent format so they know what to expect and what they’ll gain each and every time they stop by.
I briefly touched on this back when I mentioned my ASOIAF example. The point is, blogging every day and blogging once a week result in two very different outcomes. You might be called to the magazine approach and in that case, you’ll become responsible for writing multiple articles a day. I, on the other hand, fall on the other end of that spectrum. I blog 2x a week but I make up for my reduced posting schedule by writing posts in the 1,000+ word range.
Both directions offer their audiences a lot of valuable information they just go about delivering it in different ways. Does posting multiple times a day or week resonate with you and your genuine blog style?
Solo vs. Guest vs. Contributor
Lastly, how would you like to plan your party? A lot goes into planning a blog strategy and for some, doing it all alone just doesn’t work for them. At Violet Roots, I’m a one woman show. Will it be like that forever? Doubtful but for now that’s how I’m rolling. Decide if you want to plan everything on your own or if you’d like to invite others to help you.
If you go the guest route, that means you’re open to allowing the occasional guest speaker into your event. The speakers change from event to event but you remain the sole host.
If you choose to open up your blog to contributors then you’re essentially welcoming a bunch of co-hosts onto the team. You might still rule the roost but ultimately everyone takes ample responsibility for the content and how the blog performs overall.
Developing a genuine blog style that speaks to you, your purpose and your audience doesn’t need to be tricky. Crafting a cohesive and genuine blog style involves a lot of little components but when they come together they can present an impactful message to the world! Just think of it like you’re planning a party and all the pieces will come together in no time!
How will you create a genuine blog style? Did I miss anything? Share it below!