Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Create a Blog Style Guide
What is a style guide?
A style guide is a document that sets out guidelines about how your blog looks and sounds, i.e., its style. Most professional publications and many blogs create style guides. Depending on the publication, a style guide can be one page or an entire book.
Why do I need a style guide?
Well, you don’t necessarily need a style guide. But having one can be very beneficial as you build your online presence with a recognizable style. Simply going through the exercise of identifying your style, both for your writing and your design, will help crystallize those concepts and therefore make them easier to follow.
Obviously, your style guide will be customized to your specific blog needs. Here are a few things to consider putting into yours.
What tone (or tones) is your blog written in? Is it conversational, educational, artistic, objective, humorous, etc.? Does the tone ever change? Are certain posts written in certain tones? Who makes up your audience? Answering these questions can really help as you sit down to write and as you make other decisions for your style guide.
Identify one or two tones for your blog and when you use them.
2. Color Scheme & Fonts
What is the basic color scheme of your blog? What fonts do you use? These are the most basic building blocks of your blog’s visual style. Sticking to these colors and fonts for most of your design and graphics will give your blog a more unified look. (This is particularly helpful when you are posting across platforms, as we’ll discuss down below.)
Identify the HTML codes for the two or three main colors in your color scheme.
Identify two or three fonts you use most.
3. Design & Graphics
How would you describe your blog’s visual style? How do you break up the text of your posts? How do you use graphics to convey your ideas? Do you have a set graphic size or alignment? Do you use a lot of white space or do you like to fill every available space? Do you use punctuation or no-caps or all-caps in particular ways?
Identify one or two visual rules you follow on your blog.
What do your reviews look like? What information do you include about the author and the book? Do you have specific prompts that lead you through the review? Do you give ratings? Do you include spoilers? How do you identify spoilers when you do include them? Reviews are the bread and butter of a book blog, right? So make sure your readers know what to expect when they see a review from you.
Identify two or three elements that should appear in every review you publish.
5. Social Media
Can users visually and stylistically connect your blog with your social media accounts? What elements can you replicate visually? What elements can you replicate in your writing style? If you want to increase your online authority and following, it is very important to have a similar style across all of the platforms of your online presence. Readers hopping from your blog to your Twitter account should be able to tell its you immediately.
Decide on a Gravatar and use it for all of your related online activity.
Identify one or two elements from your blog that you will use on every social media account.
Other Ideas to Consider
- Create some rules for your categories and/or tags to best help readers find your content.
- Establish a uniform style for subheadings in your posts.
- Create guidelines for how you link to other sites and give credit for images.
- Identify some basic grammar guidelines (British vs. American spelling; Oxford comma or no, etc.).
- Consider setting a standard image size and rules of alignment for your graphics.
There are lots of online resources about creating style guides. Here are a few posts I liked as I researched the topic:
- 5 Tips for Creating A Style Guide for Your Blog
- How to Create a Content Style Guide to Improve Your Blog’s Quality
- How to Create a Style Guide for Your Blog or Brand
- How and Why to Create a Style Guide for Your Blog
- The Simple Template for a Thorough Content Style Guide
You can obviously be as simple or as complex with this as you like. But whether you are standardizing your blog, soliciting guest posts, or writing for a site with multiple authors, a style guide will help give your blog a consistent look and feel.
Challenge & Giveaway
Your challenge is, of course, to start a style guide. Leave a comment below with one or two guidelines from your style guide. One comment will be randomly selected after Bloggiesta, and its author will receive a bookish gift from me.