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On the latest State of the Blogosphere report, Technorati claimed that they are tracking over 133 million blogs. That is a freaking lot of them. If we take into consideration standard websites as well, this number will be even bigger. The result? Hundreds, if not thousands of blogs and websites on virtually every single niche on the web.
You can also bet that a good percentage of those will be offering outstanding quality content just like you do, so the competition is fierce.
Under those circumstances, how can you make sure that your blog or website will stand out of the crowd and attract visitors?
In one word: branding.
Bricks and mortar businesses have discovered the importance of branding decades ago, but on the web this is a relatively new trend (just five years ago you didn’t have that many websites around after all).
Below we are going to cover 10 ways to brand your blog or website efficiently.
1. Having a Clear Purpose
You must have a crystal clear vision about the purpose of your website, and you must communicate that to the visitors as well. They must know why they are visiting your website. Why it is worth their time.
“I am going to write about tech” ain’t going to cut it. What part of technology you are going to write about? Gadgets? Web 2.0? What angle you are going to have? Breaking news? Deep analysis? Where will the value to your readers come from?
You need to be able to answer to those questions easily.
Your aim is to make people associate a concept or thing with your website. If I say online video, you are going to think YouTube. If I say funny pictures of cats, you are going to think I Can Has Bheezburger. If I say gadgets, you are going to think Engadget or Gizmodo.
You get the idea. Now you must make this with your own website. It is not easy, and it takes time, but you should always keep this principle in mind.
2. Being Consistent with the Writing Style
There are many studies confirming that the writing part of a blog or website is one of the main parameters that readers use to determine the overall quality of that site.
You need to be consistent with your writing style if you want to strength your brand with it. It does not matter if you write bringing your personal experiences aboard or if you try to keep a more neutral tone, the important thing is to be consistent with it.
If you read tech blogs frequently, I am sure you would be able to tell a post from TechCrunch and one from Mashable apart just by looking at the writing style right? That is what branding is all about.
This point is particularly important to blogs that have more than one author.
3. Sticking with Your Tagline
Using a tagline is not mandatory, although it can help if you come up with a really catchy and descriptive one (check The Best Website Taglines Around the Internet if you need some inspiration).
The important thing, however, is that you stick with it. It got stick in people’s heads. If you change your tagline every other month, people won’t remember it, and they might even get confused about it.
If you are going to use a tagline, you could also consider adding it to the title tag of your website. This will make sure that the tagline will be displayed on search engines when users come across your site, reinforcing the message that you want to pass.
4. Investing Money in a Good Logo
Just like medieval castles used to be identified by their flags, websites are identified by their logos. If you have limited money to spend on design, make sure that the logo is your top priority.
These days you can get good looking logos for as low as $100 (obviously though that the more you spend the higher the quality you should get).
The logo is important because it is the first thing that visitors pay attention to, and usually it is also the image that will stick on their mind once they are gone.
Additionally, whenever people mention your website on blog, they will consider using your logo as an illustration on the article, meaning that the logo itself will characterize your site even on external places. The image on top of this article is an example.
5. Using a Favicon
Most modern browsers support favicons, therefore you should make use of them. Try to adapt your logo, or use the initials of the name of your site, and put them on the favicon.
Favicons are also important because they will appear on the bookmark section of your users, enabling them to recognize your website more easily among the hundreds of others.
If you are not sure how to create or implement a favicon, read How to Create a Favicon.
6. Making the Design Match the Content
The overall look and feel of your design must match the content. If you plan to talk about stock markets, it would be weird to have flowers on the background image right?
Identify what your core audience is going to be, and design around their perceptions and preferences. If you are going to write for professionals or older people, perhaps a traditional newspaper look would be a good choice. If your readers will be younger, a more colorful design could be used. And so on.
7. Being Consistent with the Colors
Make sure to choose a color palette and to stick with it. Colors and moods are very easy to be remembered, so use this in your favor.
You could use the main color on the links, on the favicon, on the footer and so on. If you are going to create special images or badges for the website, make them match the overall color pattern.
Through out the years it is probably that you will need to give a face-lift to you design. That is fine, as long as you keep consistent with the color readers will still feel at home, and your brand will be kept intact.
You can get more information about color palettes and suggestions on ColourLovers.
8. Using Your Website’s Name on Social Media
Are you going to use Twitter? FriendFeed? Facebook? If you are, you could create an account on each of those services specifically for your website.
Social networks are a big online trend, and probably one that will last. If you manage to get your site inside those networks, your brand will rejoice.
Here is a good example: Michael Arrington is a web celebrity, but instead of creating social networking accounts on his name, he always create them as “TechCrunch,” reinforcing his brand across those platforms.
9. Spending Money on Advertising
If branding was easy, companies around the world would not spend billions of dollars every year on advertising right?
It is possible to create a strong brand without spending money on advertising, but paid promotional efforts can certainly make you reach this goal easier and faster.
If you don’t have a big budget, you could consider spending money only during the launch and on the first few months. Use the money to kick start your brand, and after that work with the content and free methods.
One advantage of paid advertising is that it allows you to deliver a specific message to a specific audience. If you purchase a banner on a popular blog, for example, you know who will be reading that, and you can tailor your words to pass your brand to those readers.
10. Spreading it Everywhere
Branding is psychological, meaning that you will need to get inside people’s heads. Sometimes this will inevitably be a numbers game. That is, the more exposure you manage to give to your brand in front of the web users, the longer it will stick with them.
Practically speaking, use your website name and logo in a many different places as possible. Put the link on your email signatures. Write guest articles for popular blogs and put your website name on the byline. Talk about your website in online forums. Purchase advertising banners. Stamp tshirts with your website logo on it and so on. (via dailyblogtips)
2008 autumn and winter, the women have prepared for themselves what kind of jewelry accessories, we are here for the beauty of a woman who recommended quarter 10 new jewelry, and let you in the fall and winter in 2008 to become the focus of most attention.
Colorful, bold imagination, he is a rich symbol of style, the world’s leading jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane’s works of interest caused by innovation, modern generous, willing to spend a lot of celebrities in the auction to bid for gold jewelry as a collection of KJL. From U.S. presidents to his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, the best grade of these women are KJL loyal Fans. “As long as you like with your personality, and that is the most beautiful.” Kenneth Jay Lane this to tell you that when your mind and your jewelry will resonate with echoes, What can be more fun?
Always delicate and elegant French royal jewelry brand CHAUMET for the wind industry jewelry designer inspired by the new breeze. CHAUMET first Croisiere jewelry series, inspired by the beautiful scenery of nature: the sea with waves of golden light, summer sunset, the romantic moonlight. Series with 20 precious stones, diamond 5, 3 different colors of precious metals, up to a circle of diamonds, designed rings, earrings and pendants, intertwined different sense of light, such as the golden waves of the sea, bright and charming .
Inc.com has published their annual “30 Under 30″ online article on the country’s top young entrepreneurs. An interesting feature is T-shirt apparel company — The Hundreds.
What started as a blog and a simple T-shirt line produced by two law school classmates has become The Hundreds — a worldwide skateboarder lifestyle and apparel brand with an online magazine that attracts more than 1 million unique visitors a month. Kim and Shenassafar are the company’s sole owners, and they credit much of their success to their independence. “We’re not a corporate clothing company trying to sell down to you,” Kim says. “We’re ringing you up and sweeping the floors, and then going back to running a 30-person company. Our customers relate to it because we’re on their level.” Revenue is expected to hit $4 million in 2008.
For a full list of the Top 30 Under 30, click here.
Late last year, we tested a prerelease of the software development kit for Google’s Linux-based Android mobile phone operating system. Although we saw a lot of potential in the platform, there were a number of serious flaws in both the software and the underlying development process. Both have seen noteworthy improvement since our original tests.
The developers announced the availability of m5-rc14 this week, a new Android prerelease that addresses many issues and brings a significant user interface overhaul to the operating system. I put the new version of the SDK and Eclipse plug-in to the test on my Ubuntu desktop computer to see how it compares to the version that we tested in December.
As we noted in our previous review, one of the significant strengths of Android in the area of third-party development is the ease of installing the SDK. That advantage has been retained, but I ran into a minor snag with dependencies for the Android Eclipse plug-in. Ubuntu 7.10 users who wish to use the Android plug-in might need to download the latest version of Eclipse in order to do so. If you have a standard version of Eclipse, the installation process for Android and the plug-in is relatively straightforward and can be done in a matter of minutes.
Twittering away on Android
My first test after installing the new SDK was attempting to compile and run the experimental Twitter client that I developed for my previous article. This initially failed because of alterations to the Android XML manifest file format, but it was very easy to make the requisite changes. You can refer to the Android manifest documentation page to see how the current manifest file should look.
In the source code for the program itself, the only element of the Android API used by my Twitter client that no longer works is the now-defunct EmboldenedSpan object. I simply changed it to a StyleSpan object with a Typeface.BOLD paramater. All things considered, it wasn’t all that painful to get my simple application working with the new version of the SDK, but developers with more complex projects might have a different experience. Google’s documentation includes an overview of the API changes between the m3 and m5 releases. In general, the documentation seems to be a bit better all across the board.
Squashing bugs and polishing the UI
In our previous article about Android, we voiced sharp criticism of Google for failing to provide a public bug tracking system, an omission that greatly impeded the process of providing feedback. Google finally resolved that problem last month when it announced that it would be using the issue tracker at the Android code.google.com page. This is a very positive sign that Google is taking the needs of the Android third-party developer community more seriously.
The user interface of the Android platform also got a big boost with this release. The home screen menu system is a bit more finger-friendly now and still retains solid usability with navigation buttons. We noted in our previous article that Android has a highly hardware-neutral design that reflects Google’s intention to make it support a variety of different kinds of handsets. The user interface changes generally seem consistent with that approach. One oddity is a slide-down panel that displays notifications. It can be dragged from the top of the screen, but I couldn’t find a way to activate it with a button. Overall, the new home screen menu feels more functional and less cramped than its predecessor, but is a bit less stylish.
One very noticeable change in the Android user interface is the addition of transition animations. The animations show up in many places throughout the system, generally when windows, dialogs, and menus appear. They are very subtle and add some additional elegance without becoming a distraction.
I tested several of the applications that come with the SDK, including the mapping program, the contact book, and the web browser. I also tested the experimental Google Talk chat integration feature. I was able to connect to Google Talk and receive messages, which are displayed as items on the notification panel. The performance and usability of the bundled applications is pretty decent.
The interface feels more complete now, but there are still some holes. For instance, the home screen menu offers an option for changing the background wallpaper, but selecting it only displays a dialog stating that the feature isn’t available yet. There is obviously still work to be done before the interface is ready for use on a phone, but it is definitely improving at a reasonable pace.
It seems like the initial prerelease was primarily to let developers see what the platform would offer, and this release is more about addressing the needs that emerged in the process. Google is clearly giving due consideration to criticisms of Android and resolving problems identified by third-party developers. There are still technical issues to resolve, but Google has now demonstrated enough responsiveness to developer demands to justify giving the company the benefit of the doubt. This second look at the platform and the development ecosystem has boosted my confidence in the endeavor and given me reason to be optimistic about Android’s prospects.