Creating a blog style guide is time well spent. It makes consistent branding and marketing a breeze - whether you do all your design work yourself, work with a design professional or have a team of contributors or guest bloggers. Today, Shareba Abdul gives us some tips on how to get started with a style guide for your blog.
There’s no question that having an easily identifiable brand is more important now than ever before. There are millions of blogs out there, and your readers need to be able to pick you out of the crowd.
No matter where you exist online, your branding needs to look the same. From Facebook to Twitter, and now even on Instagram, you want your readers (and potential new readers) to recognize your work without seeing your name.
One of the easiest ways of putting together a cohesive look for your blog is by creating a style guide. This document should be an easy, at-a-glance reference that helps you to keep your branding consistent. This can be especially helpful if you have more than one contributor to your website!
What to include in your style guide
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how much information goes on your style guide, but here are some suggestions.
Choose your colours:
If you don’t already have specific colours associated with your website, now is the time to decide! Think about colours that you love and use often in your photographs and blog design. Do you like bright neon colours or pretty pastels?
Pick two to four colours that you'll use consistently across your blog and all of your social media outlets. Then write the HEX # - a 6-digit code that's used in your blog's Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to represent colours - for each colour you’ve selected, so it’s easy to use those colours everywhere.
You may also want to determine your colours' CMYK and RGB codes if you ever want to print your logo. You can easily determine the different codes for a colour using software like Adobe Photoshop.
Find your fonts:
While you can’t control the fonts used on most social media sites, it’s still important to assign certain fonts to your brand. Even small details like your font can add to the overall look and feel of your brand.
Try to choose one for headings, one for subheadings and one for paragraph text. You can use these fonts on your website, and in all of your email communications too.
Imagine your images:
Have you noticed lately that the most popular Instagram feed have a cohesive look to them? Personally, I hate that because it limits what I can share on Instagram but the reality is that a clean, consistent Instagram feed just looks better than one filled with random images. This concept also applies to your blog and other social outlets.
Your images should be easily recognizable because they have a similar look or feel to them. This doesn’t mean that you have to style everything the same way, but it’s a good idea to decide if you want your style to be dark and emotional or bright and happy or something else entirely.
Write Out Your Words:
Traditionally, a style guide for writers includes things like grammar and punctuation rules (do you use the Oxford comma?), accepted abbreviations and specified spellings. This can be really helpful to give to guest authors when they're creating content for your website.
For example, I might decide that since my blog is in Canada I’m going to use Canadian spelling rules. I might also point out that I prefer my blog name to be written out as In Search Of Yummy-ness, instead of In Search of Yummyness. These little bits of information help the guest author understand your style, and can save you time when you’re editing the post later.
How To Format Your Style Guide
Your style guide can be a PDF file saved to your computer drive, a printed document pinned to your pegboard or a note saved to your phone. Mine is hand-written and taped to my wall. You can make your style guide as pretty as you want – the important thing is that you actually remember to use it.
Some web designers will actually create a style guide for you, at least with the fonts and colours that they used in your design. You can always add more information to this if they provide you with one. This is also handy to have if you move to a different designer at a later date - you can pass on the style guide for them to use as a base when updating your site.
Do you have a style guide for your blog? If you’ve got any tips, please share them in the comments below.
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How to Create a Style Guide for your Blog was written by regular FBC Contributor, Shareba Abdul. Shareba is a food blogger and freelance writer. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies and a Diploma in Journalism, and has a passion for writing, photography, and blogging. You can check out her yummy discoveries at InSearchOfYummyness.com or connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.