This post is based on episode 206 of the ProBlogger podcast.
So you’re about to start a new blog. It might be first, or it might be one you’re setting up to try something new. And you’re just about to buy the domain name for it.
But now you’re hesitating, because you still haven’t decided whether your new blog should have a personal brand or a business brand.
Even if you already have the domain name, you may still be wondering which way to go. Just because you have a business-related URL doesn’t mean you can’t give it a personal brand, and vice versa.
So this week I want to talk about some of your options when it comes to branding so you can decide the best way to brand your blog.
Let’s start with the personal brand. This is where everything is about the blogger. The URL is often their name (or a variation of it), and the content is pretty much focused on whatever they’re thinking or doing.
Here are some of the benefits of using a personal brand for your blog.
1. It gives you more flexibility
If you started blogging about bird photography, and now want to talk about parenting instead (or as well), a personal brand gives you the freedom to do it.
2. It’s a great way to sell yourself
If one of your goals is to become a professional speaker, writer, artist, consultant, coach or whatever, creating a personal brand is perfect because for each of these professions you are basically selling yourself.
3. It helps you become known as an authority
If you want to be seen as an expert, authority or thought leader in your niche, having a personally branded blog that includes your face, your ideas and your appearances on podcasts and in videos will certainly help.
4. It helps you connect with your audience
People do business with those that they know, like, and trust. And having a personally branded blog gives you the opportunity to make a personal connection, especially if you incorporate mediums such as podcasts and live video.
So why doesn’t everyone brand their blogs this way? Well, there are also some drawbacks.
1. It doesn’t explain what your blog is about
Most people who see our problogger.com domain name will immediately assume it has something to do with blogging. But if I’d used darrenrowse.com instead, they probably wouldn’t have a clue unless they either knew me personally or visited the site. Using your personal name as the URL makes it harder for people to associate your name with what you blog about.
2. It makes your business harder to sell
Creating a brand that’s all about you will make it far more difficult to sell your blog later on. The new owners will want a blog they can start using straight away instead of having to try and de-personalise it first. If I’d set up ProBlogger with darrenrowse.com as the URL I doubt I’d ever be able to sell it – especially if someone else already owned the problogger.com URL.
3. It makes it harder to scale your blog
If you create a blog that’s all about you, then your audience will expect all the content to come from you. After all, how can anyone else write about what you’re thinking or feeling? So you will either have to keep writing all the content yourself, or face the possible backlash when you start bringing in other writers.
4. It puts the spotlight on you
Being the centre of attention can be great. But it also means that if anything goes wrong, you will be the person everyone points the finger at. You will need to fix the problem and take the blame. And depending on what happened, that could be hard to deal with.
Down to business
Now let’s talk about business brands. This is where everything is about the company and/or the product or service. The URL is usually the name of the company, product or service, and the content focuses on what the company does or sells.
Here are some of the benefits of using a business brand for your blog.
1. It makes your business easier to scale
People generally understand that businesses usually have more than one person working at them. That means you can expand your blog by bringing in other content creators without upsetting your audience. You can make them part of the team, or use them as guest bloggers.
2. It makes your business easier to sell
Having a blog that isn’t tied to a particular person will make it a lot more attractive to potential buyers. They know they’ll be able to start using it pretty much straight away without having to make too many changes. They may even be able to use the same contributors you were using.
3. It explains what your blog is about
When people see the names of my blogs (ProBlogger and Digital Photography School), they immediately get an idea of what they are about and who they are for. (It can also improve your SEO ranging slightly.)
4. It can keep you out of the spotlight
While ProBlogger is technically a business brand, I tend to feature on it quite heavily. My photo is on the home page, and I create a lot of the content. But on Digital Photography I don’t have much of a presence at all, and can keep out of the spotlight.
Of course, there are also some drawbacks to setting your blog up with a business brand.
1. It makes it harder for you to pivot
If you’ve branded your blog around a particular niche, it will be hard for you to narrow/broaden/change that niche down the track. You may have to completely rebrand your blog, or start a second one.
2. It can make it harder to connect with your readers
A lot of readers who come to Digital Photography School assume we have an actual school they can attend. They don’t expect there to be human beings on the site who will help them learn about photography. Having a personal brand makes it easier to connect with your readers.
The best of both worlds
There’s nothing stopping you from creating a business brand that’s quite personal. That’s what I’ve done with ProBlogger. While it is a business brand I’ve made it quite personal, which helps me make personal connections with my readers.
Of course, that does mean that if I’m away from it for a little while people start asking, “Where’s Darren?” But it also allows me to bring other voices onto the blog. We have many posts written by other people, and there’s very little pushback as long as their content is good.
What will you choose?
I hope this post has helped you decide how you might brand your blog, whether it’s your first one, your next one, or a redesign of the one you’ve got.
So what have you decided? Let us know in the comments.
Photo by Fachry Zella Devandra on Unsplash