There are so many daunting steps in the process of creating your brand! The thought of having to design my own website, which was totally foreign territory to me, was enough to keep me from taking the plunge! I know how scary it can be to invest time and money into something that you know nothing about; I went back and forth with this for months trying to decide what to do & which aspects I would invest in. *All of my information & examples will be related to utilizing WordPress as your host, as that is the provider I work with and recommend! Okay, let’s jump in!
Website Development & Membership. Okay don’t freak out! Take it from me, YOU can do this on your own! I had absolutely no clue about creating a website, writing in CSS code, or anything remotely related to it! WordPress has the absolute best support team that you can chat with day or night! They will walk you through what you need to do & go into your site and make changes for you as well. I have never had a problem or question that they didn’t know how to fix! Don’t spend money hiring a web designer if you can avoid it; it’s much more personal and cost effective if you set aside the time to do it yourself!
When it comes to purchasing a membership I recommend you go big or go home! I can’t stress enough how much I hate scrolling through advertisements as a reader when I click on someone’s post. You will not be able to customize your site to the degree you want with a free membership, or even the first paid level. I personally have a Premium Membership with WordPress, which is the 2nd to highest you can purchase. In this level, you can edit all aspects of your site using CSS coding, access premium site layouts, and input more creative features. *You cannot use CSS (which is a huge deal) with a free or first level membership.* Once I reach a personal goal I have set for myself, I will upgrade one last time to the highest level, or “Business Membership.”
Purchase Your Domain. This is a no questions asked, non-negotiable spend. Don’t let your host subdomain your web address. You NEED to own your domain license. For example, if WordPress was to subdomain your address it would be: “karascupoftea.wordpress.com” but because I own my domain it is simply “karascupoftea.com” which is clean, simple and easy for readers to remember. More importantly, if you subdomain your web address, that leaves your brand name domain license up for grabs on the internet. It would be really awful if you spent months/years creating your brand around a certain name, just to find out someone else now owns the domain. Don’t give it a second thought, buy it.
Hire a graphic designer to create an original authentic logo for your brand. I tried to tackle this one myself and regretted it after I invested several weeks and came up empty handed. When people try to DIY a logo they end up trying to use images found on the internet. Whether or not the image is copyrighted or not, it still belongs to & was created by someone else. Avoid the prospect of getting backlash from the original illustrator & have your own logo made by a professional! You won’t regret it!
Invest in a good, easy to use camera. I learned many months in that as great as portrait mode may be, it doesn’t typically cut it! The key to having a clean & pretty feed on social outlets like Instagram & Pinterest is quality photos. You don’t need to run out and purchase an $800 camera, you just need an easy to use option that will get the job done. I am not a photographer, but Nikon & Cannon are brands I have had a lot of success with! I recommend reading as many online reviews as you can when shopping for a camera & even reaching out to your blogger friends for their recommendations!
Hire a photographer who understands your vision & brand for bigger campaigns & projects. I just recently did a shoot with a local photographer for a brand campaign I am working on right now, as well as photos of my new in-home office! These were photos I knew I needed to hire a professional for, as not only are they representing myself & the brand I am working with but I was also using them to update pages of my website! While 9/10 times I shoot my photos myself or with a friend, I knew this was an instance where investing in professional photos was a necessary expense. Shop around for a photographer that understands your brand & vision to ensure that you get the best photos possible! ( Click here to read my photographer Madison Short’s tips on professional shoots!)
Photo Presets. What a game changer. Almost a year deep & I had no idea what I was missing! Presets allow your photos to have a cohesive, clean look & aid in clearing up a lot of lighting issues you may have. Ditch the hours of editing your photos and get a crisp, quality feed! Shop around & read reviews when purchasing your preset! Some sites are super expensive & overpriced! I recommend Boss Babe Presets or Monika Hibbs! They both have great prices & rave reviews! (I use Monika Hibbs!)
If you’re still feeling insecure about getting started or making a big change in your brand, we’ve all been there! You’ll never know if you don’t take chance & jump! Believe in your vision & invest in yourself! Wanna chat more or ask me a question?! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org & lets catch up!