The Blogging Series: Part 1- Branding

I think the most difficult aspect of blogging is actually getting started. You know nothing about the industry, you have a million questions and Google has a million answers. In this part of The Blogging Guide, I will explain the basics of blogging and how to get started as well as things that I would change in hindsight. I have made a lot of mistakes and had I read these tips before blogging, my blog may have grown much quicker.
This is a very broad topic and I could write a book about branding but no one has the time to read a book about branding before starting a blog, so here are the main aspects you need to know.

Naming Your Blog
The name of the blog may not seem that important when you start but I have learnt that as your blog creates an identity, the name becomes increasingly important. My blog started of as a food and fashion blog, hence ‘Gourmet Runway’, however now I have realised that it has become more of a fashion blog. When readers explore my blog or Instagram feed, they may be expecting more food-related pictures given the imagery of the name and may be disappointed upon finding majorly fashion-related content. In hindsight, I wish I had just called the blog ‘Shweta Shah’ or something more generic to avoid this issue. So unless you know exactly what you want to blog about, this may be something you may want to think about.
It should be in line with what content you are displaying and should not create expectations that cannot be matched. For example, if you are going to name your blog ‘Luxury Fashionista’, I would expect a lot of designer wear and high quality photography. Unless you can deliver this, don’t create such expectations from the name.
Also, if you plan on making yourself the face of your blog and want people to know you, then you should probably opt for your name as your blog title!
Whatever you decide, the name must be catchy, unique and have recall value. You want people to be able to recite the blog name to their friends without hesitation.
Your Target
It may be easier to create a blog name if you know whom you are trying to target with your blog. I have noticed a lot of blogs targeting young mothers, for example, have the word ‘mom’ in them and blogs targeting men, have the word ‘guy’. Having a clearly defined demographic could make your job easier.
Having a geographic target can also assist with names. For example, some popular blogs that exist are ‘Sydney Fashion Blogger’, ‘Cali Girl Gets Fit’ and ‘Mumbai Foodie’. (Pictured Below).

A target market will also dictate the content you will be posting and the language and copy you will use across your platforms. If your target is a woman in Delhi, aged between 20-30 years, there is no point posting an outfit shot wearing a dress from Queenspark (store for middle-aged women) in Australia.
Your Core
Another thing I have realised and am still struggling to correct is having a niche content focus. The quickest way to grow initially is by focussing on targeting a niche topic area. For example, your fashion blog may focus on just denim with pictures only in jeans or your food blog may focus just on Indian desserts. You will tap into a small market but because that is the only thing you are doing people will be intrigued.
Once your blog grows considerably, you can venture into related and broader areas of interest and by then you have the eyeballs to be able to experiment and judge the response. I am still trying to find a niche within the fashion sphere, which I can maintain. This is not easy but if you have a specific interest then this will be a walk in the park.
Your Theme
Instagram feeds have become insanely (for lack of a better word) artistic and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. Having a theme from day one is crucial as 6 months down the track, you will regret not having one. This theme or colour scheme needs to flow onto all of your platforms for consistency.
Themes are created by having similar looking visuals; using a consistent editing style, a filter or a similar background. There are many ways of doing this; you just need to scroll through the most popular blogs on Instagram to see what I mean (check out Kim Kardashian, Aimee Song, Marianna Hewitt).

Having said that, if you do not have a theme, don’t stress and just start. You don’t want to put off starting your blog for 6 months just because you couldn’t figure out a theme. Starting is the most important part.
I have not had to do any research or referencing for these posts as it is raw information through my experiences and mistakes. I really wish I had a thorough guide like this one to walk me through all the hurdles. Instead of being disappointed about the fact that I didn’t, I decided to create on for future bloggers. Hope this helps!
In Part 2 of The Blogging Series, I will summarise the best blogging and social media platforms that you should use. Also, if you missed out on Part 0: Before You Begin, check it out here!
Thank you so much for reading!
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