Have you decided to take a leap of faith and start your own business? This is a big deal and you should be super proud of yourself - getting started is oftentimes the hardest thing to do. But now that you took this step you already know that a lot of work awaits you, starting with branding your business, which is one of the most important tasks. We already shared with you why your branding is so important and how to come up with the right brand strategy, so for today, I want to get into it in more detail and tell you what exactly you’ll need to create your personal brand online.
What you need before you create your personal brand online
Let’s do a little recap of what you learned in our previous branding blog post. Before you think about your visuals, you need to define and build your brand strategy. Know the values that your brand stands for, who your target audience is, and how you want to bring value to people.
Your brand identity needs to lean on one very important factor: your audience. You need to be clear on exactly who you are marketing yourself towards - you aren’t (and won’t be) for everyone! The goal of your personal brand should be for potential customers to be able to tell if you are someone they want to connect with or not. No amount of money can get your brand identity right if you didn’t put in the work to find your position in the market.
What you need to create and build a personal brand online
As you build your personal brand online, there are four things you need to get clear on immediately, especially when it comes to building your website. Let’s talk about them!
Your brand logo
The first thing you will need, and I’m sure you already know, is a logo. Make sure that your logo represents your brand. You want it to stand out but fit in at the same time. Make it easy to understand, don’t put a lot of unnecessary text, and keep it simple. If your logo is timeless, you will be much more flexible if you want to expand or rebrand your business down the road. If you don’t already have a logo for your business, there are a few ways for you to get this sorted.
- If you are a creative person and have the skills you can definitely create it yourself! The best software to do that is Adobe Illustrator, but if you don’t want to pay for the program or are not sure how to use it, you can also use Canva for something more basic. Canva has a built-in logo maker which is easy to use and has a ton of templates to get you started. The only downside is that there might be a bunch of other small businesses with a similar logo.
- Your second option is to outsource this task and let a professional take care of it. You can either use Creative Market for logo templates from some really talented designers at affordable prices, or you can find someone on Fiverr or Upwork and ask them to create a logo for you.
- Lastly, if you are a CLD student, you can also use our community group and ask if there are any designers that could offer their help. You can either pay them or maybe do something for them in return!
Your brand color palette
The next thing you will need to decide on is your color pallet. Using color adds personality and people will be more likely to remember you. But how many colors should you choose, and which ones make the most sense? Well, I don’t want this to become a design crash course, so I’ll keep this short. Ideally, you should have 1-2 dominant colors and a few accent colors. Accents add depth to your color palette and brand identity, but they’re also great additions for different backgrounds, features like buttons, and creating a content hierarchy.
In order to find the perfect color combo, you can check Instagram accounts like @colors.cafe or visit websites like coolors.co.
Your brand fonts
Once you are set on your colors, you can also start thinking about your fonts. Here you will have two categories: sans serif and serif fonts - sans serif fonts are fonts without the little “feet” at each word (the font for our body text is sans serif), and serifs are fonts with the little “feet (just like the fonts we use for our headings). Once again, your font will play an essential role in transmitting a certain vibe and attracting the right audience, so make sure you take a bit of time researching before you choose your set of fonts.
There are a bunch of websites that you can use to find the perfect font, but some of the ones that I recommend using are Google Fonts, Adobe Fonts, 1001fonts.com, or dafont.com to name a few. Pinterest is also a great tool to find unique fonts, but you might need to pay for some of them if you want to use them.
Lastly, you will need high-quality images, especially for your website. Choosing the right images is so important if you want to build an aesthetic and effective website. It’ll set the tone for basically everything and it’s here where you can truly stand out from your competition. To get these images you have three options:
- If you have the tools and equipment, you can obviously take them yourself, which is great because you will be able to take as many as you need until you’re 100% happy. It will also give your website a personal touch.
- If you don’t have the skills or resources but still want to have unique and personal images, then you can obviously hire a professional photographer (or maybe you can ask a friend!). In this case, it’s really important to think about what you want beforehand and that you share your ideas with the other person. This will make the process a lot faster, easier, and avoid you from getting results that you didn’t want.
- Now, if you don’t have the resources or the budget to hire a professional, you can also use stock photography. Of course, this will be a lot less personal and others might use the same images, but if you chose wisely, and don’t just take the first pictures that you find - it can work. You can use pages such as Unsplash or Pexels for example - on both pages you don’t need to pay anything, but you have the opportunity to support the photographers if you can. I’d suggest though, that as soon as you get the chance to take your own images, replace the stock footage.
Once you have your images sorted, make sure that you optimize them for SEO. This might sound complicated but it’s actually not. To keep it very simple, the most important things you need to do are: choose the right size and file format for your images, name each of your image files and add alt text as soon as the pictures are on your website.
Struggling to find the right brand identity for your business?
Finding your brand identity is an important part of building a memorable brand and business, but it can be very hard if you are not creatively inclined. You might find yourself stuck choosing the right colors, or fonts, and nothing seems to match. With so many options out there, picking the right combination can be scary, and feel like a decision that you’re stuck with forever. It’s often the reason many entrepreneurs give up.
In order to change that, we decided to team up with our friends from b.yond, and together we created The Startup Market. A marketplace where you can get all of the creative assets you need to easily start your online business, and build a brand that stands out and converts - all at affordable prices. You can find premade website temples and branding kits, all customizable to fit your business! Now you don’t have an excuse to get started with your own business!
When should you start focusing on your brand?
You might be saying that you can still work on your brand later on. You might want to focus on your products and finding clients first. And while you technically can do that, I would suggest that you have a cohesive brand from day one. You want to know who your audience is and what you’re providing them. Of course, a beautiful logo and some colors aren’t what’s going to make or break your business, but it’s what will set the tone for your brand and it will help you stand out from your competitors. At the end of the day, “when you brand yourself properly, the competition becomes irrelevant”. A successful brand is timeless, so make sure you put some thought into it.
But remember, developing a brand identity needs the love and attention of being its own project, because how you present and portray your business goes far beyond just the website. You will want to project your values with your branding and give your business a face. You won’t be able to do this in a day - you need to take your time and really think this through because it’ll be an important part of your success.
Lots of love and good luck,