HOW TO CREATE A STYLE GUIDE FOR YOUR BLOG OR BIZ! Build your brand from the beginning with the free workbook! ---> Click through to the blog to read more and get your free printable style guide workbook!

I like gold. Yes I’m aware that this is a weird way to start a post, but I really do love that color – that’s one of the reasons I use it on my blog. Another reason is that it fits the overall look I’m going for + it goes with almost everything. Gold is the main color I chose for my blog when creating its style guide. If I had chosen lime-green instead of gold, my blog would have been completely different. One of the hardest parts of being a blogger is learning to stick to your brand. What we choose not to do defines us every bit as much as what we choose to do. As bloggers, we have to be careful not to do a lot of things.

Building Your Brand

We want our audience to know our brand – to trust our brand. But how can our audience trust our brand if we don’t? If we’re constantly re-designing here and changing a little there, we’re confusing our readers. I know it’s virtually impossible to choose only 2 or 3 fonts when there are thousands of gorgeous ones out there on the interwebs! How can we limit ourselves to 2 colors when we love rainbows and unicorns and lollipops? Tough noogies! Building a consistent brand is probably the best thing you can do for your blog and if you’re not already doing it, you need to start yesterday. Now will also do.

Building your style guide is an investment in your blog. You spend so much time on your blog already. You owe it to yourself to make sure that your blog is just as amazing as you are! Today, I’m going to walk you through it step by step.
And spoiler-alert: There’s a lot more to your style guide than colors and fonts!
There’s really no chronological order to the steps, but let’s begin with the overall design before we move on to the steps most style guides leave out.

Choosing Your Color Scheme

I’ve told you about this one before in this post about 3 Things You Need To Know About Blog Design so instead of repeating myself, I recommend you go read that post.
Basically, your color scheme is an essential part of your blog design, and you want to pick a color scheme you won’t get sick of after a couple of months.

Some bloggers operate with only 1 color while others use 5. It’s a matter of personal preference but if you use too many colors you may confuse your readers. On the other hand, if you pick only one color, your brand may not be clear enough.

No matter how few or how many colors you choose to use, be consistent! Keep those colors in mind when you’re designing your widgets, creating your header or an infographic for your next post.

Picking Your Fonts

Limit the number of fonts you use on your blog. Ideally, you’ll want to use no more than 3 different fonts (2 is more than alright!), and you want them to work together. You can read more about choosing your fonts in this post.

To make everything a little easier for you, I made an awesome style guide workbook for you to fill out!

HOW TO CREATE A STYLE GUIDE FOR YOUR BLOG OR BIZ! Build your brand from the beginning with the free workbook! ---> Click through to the blog to read more and get your free printable style guide workbook!

Planning Your Posting Schedule

What kind of blogger are you? Do you publish fresh content every day? Do you post 3 times a week or do you publish one mind-blowingly great post every Sunday? Different types of blogs have very different posting schedules.

If you run a lifestyle blog where you post pictures of your dog, your new sweater or your dinner, you may be able to publish new content every day (or maybe even several times a day) but if you want to write longer posts and create in-depth guides for your readers, posting 7 times a week is probably not an option.

You’ll have to decide on what type of blogger you want to be. One is not better than the other, but if you publish every day one week and only one time the week after that, your readers won’t know what to expect from you.

Choosing Your Images

What type of images do you want on your blog? Do you love taking photos? Do you want to use stock photos or maybe no images at all?
I follow a lot of (very) different blogs! One blogger has the most stunning photos, another blogger posts (iPhone) pictures of her life, and a third blogger couldn’t care less about her photos. If she wants to post something, she wouldn’t dream of waiting for daylight to take the perfect picture. There’s a lot of flash photography on her blog.

Ideally, you’re the first one. The one with the stunning photos. Images are so important nowadays so if you can find a way to shoot your own beautiful pictures, do yourself (and your blog) a solid and do it!

Stock photos can be great but when you spend a lot of time on the internet (like I do), there are some stock photos that just keep popping up everywhere. If you decide to use stock photos, make sure to choose the lesser-known ones.

You also have to decide what type of pictures you want. Do you want minimalistic or colorful? Bright or gloomy? Horizontal or vertical? Imagine the mood you want your images to convey – and make sure it matches your color scheme.


Pinpointing Your Audience

If you run a blog about motorcycles and your ideal reader is a 40-year old man with a beard and cowboy boots, pink is probably not the way to go. You may also want to delete that purple unicorn in your sidebar. You are the boss, and you own your blog, but it’s always a great idea to have your audience in mind when you’re designing your blog. If you’re writing for super busy moms, your audience may not have the time (or the energy) to read through a 5000-word post every day. If you’re a goth style blogger, you may want to lose the baby blue header. You catch my drift?

If you’re just starting out and don’t have an audience, you can create a brand that matches your ideal reader!

Harmonizing Your Writing

This one is pretty straight-forward. How do you want to write? Do you want to use contractions or not? Will you use slang words? Will you underline the words you want to emphasize – or italicize them?

I will never stop watching Pingu!
I will NEVER stop watching Pingu!
I will never stop watching Pingu!
I will never stop watching Pingu!
I will never stop watching Pingu!

The emphasis is the same, but however you decide to write, make sure you’re fairly consistent. Maybe you want to emphasize your main points? Find a style that fits you. Do you want to use subheaders? (Hint: I think you do!) Do you want to sign off with a personal catchphrase? Or maybe greet your readers in the beginning of every post? Think about it!

Finding Your Voice

Your tone is very much a part of your brand. Think about how you want to represent yourself to your readers. Do you want to sound academic, serious, funny, friendly, sarcastic, goofy, evil (probably not), motherly and/or smart?

Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Your readers will call you out on it, and you’ll spend way too much time and energy on a doomed project.
If you asked your friends to describe you, what would they say? Whether you’re the class clown or the brainiac, embrace it! Figure out what sets you apart from everyone else and use it to your advantage.

Creating Your Post Template

What kind of blogger are you? Do you want to focus on your images or on your writing? Or maybe a combination of both? How many images do you want to include in your posts? How long do you want your posts to be? Do you want to spread your pictures out or place all of them before the text?

All your posts don’t have to look the same! In fact, it’s probably better if they don’t. You just want to create a template for your posts and stick to it – when it makes sense! I normally don’t include more than one picture in my posts, but in my guides I include screenshots because they add to the value of the post. Remember – your style guide is just that. A guide! It’s not a strict set of rules you can never break.

Deciding On Your Content

What type of content do you want to share? How personal do you want your blog to be? Do you want to involve your readers in your life, or do you want your readers to know nothing about you at all? Probably something in between. When you first start blogging, you may try out a lot of different topics. Chances are you won’t find your niche on day one, but that’s okay. If you want to be a fashion blogger, write down the types of posts you can see yourself writing. Outfit posts, shopping updates, collages, gift guides etc.

If one day you want to publish a post on how to choose the perfect roses for your garden, go back to that list and remember what you wanted your blog to be about. It’s fine to go a little off-topic now and again, but too many out-of-context posts will confuse your readers.

Your Personal Style Guide Workbook

If you want to get started on your style guide, I went ahead and created an awesome free printable style guide workbook for you! Just download the pdf and get to work! Yes, it’s that easy 🙂

HOW TO CREATE A STYLE GUIDE FOR YOUR BLOG OR BIZ! Build your brand from the beginning with the free workbook! ---> Click through to the blog to read more and get your free printable style guide workbook!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, please share it with your friends or on your favorite social network 🙂

If you have any questions or comments, do leave them down below and I’ll get back to you in a jiffy!

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