Building a Blog: Deciding on the Color Palette

finding your blog color palette

I’m still working on nailing down my design direction so it may not be obvious, but I decided from the beginning that I wanted my personal brand to be associated with green, which includes kadeeirene and BoomerangBeat.

For those who haven’t been following my Building a Blog series, BoomerangBeat is meant to be a news source that simplifies complex issues. A resource for those who want to understand, from start to present, what’s going on without the clutter or unimportant, too frequently wrong, “breaking news” bits.

However, less than two months into blogging on BB I started to re-think my color scheme.

In an industry where the expected color palette seems to be red and black (or the boring standby, muted blue), green started to feel really backwards. It’s something you see associated with “fresh” or “outdoors”, not news.

Then, Entpreneur magazine once again hit me upside the head with an article on color trends that read, “understand the norms in your sector. Know your competitors. Know the color palette. Nothing trumps personal preference.”

The thing is, I started BoomerangBeat because I wanted it to be the exact opposite of everything current news organizations are – breaking, fast-paced, shocking. Why on earth would I want to follow their color lead? After all, red means excitement and I don’t want my readers to feel rushed. I want them to slow down and stay calm when taking in the information.

Green seems perfectly out of place in the news industry.

Did you ever second guess yourself when choosing your blog/website’s colors? Did you ever go through with the change? 

 

Building a Blog: The Why Factor

Finding your Why Factor – today, mine hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve thought about it several times before but it felt like I was trying to nail jello to a wall … I couldn’t quite get it.

I think the Why Factor is important because it gives you clarity and for me, freed me from a very odd struggle I was dealing with. The Why Factor doesn’t have to be short, one-dimensional, multi-dimensional or perfectly unique. You just need to know why. Focus on finding yours.

BoomerangBeat’s Why Factor

I found my “why” for BoomerangBeat today in its simplest form.

Young People and the Media

source: @MartinBelam

I don’t believe Mr. Belam was calling the younger generation ignorant as much as he was saying that’s how the media will spin the story from the ask. I hope so, anyway.

However, if that is the case, there’s still a problem. If the media continues to berate a generation that doesn’t know (and therefore asks), when is that generation going to stop feeling stupid for not understanding? Never.

Or worse, when will they stop asking?

For now, they are asking though and that’s half the battle. Why not use that opportunity more to teach and less to criticize? Help connect the dots so the “ignorant” generation can understand the story as it’s happening and its references down the road.

The rest of the pie chart, I think, accurately depicts the sheer number of stories and chatter that pop up every minute a breaking news story hits. Is it any wonder the younger generation doesn’t know how to navigate the white noise to find the facts that matter?

Building a Blog: The Details

I’m finally following a writing and design (learning Dreamweaver) schedule, but I’ve become so focused on the big things that I’ve ignored the bits and pieces that will really bring it all together. Since I have a horrible habit of writing things down here, saving them there, starting a draft post so I don’t forget type of habit, I collected and organized them in a more manageable way.

Below is my list of little to-do’s:

Technical Details

  1. SEO Yoast WordPress Plugin – very easy for blog and post optimization. If you don’t know basic SEO, start with the Beginner’s Guide to SEO
  2. RSS and email subscription
  3. Social sharing for each post (Like, Tweet, G+)
  4. Create my own social media buttons. I don’t much care for the generic ones. Add a step before this if you haven’t created profiles on various platforms, yet.
  5. Post comment system through Disqus
  6. Re-categorize uncategorized blog posts

Branding Details

  1. Create a blog style guide.
  2. Organize my post ideas journal – I use love Springpad
  3. Flesh out my design inspiration sources – to avoid looking like a replica of your competition, they should not come from the same industry
  4. Refine my blog’s purpose statement (tag line, core message, whatever you call it)
  5. Google+ authorship
  6. Upload favicon

Content Details

  1. Study the competition and follow
  2. Play with new content formats (shorter posts, video, scan-able content)
  3. Finish my rant and then ask for an outsider’s point of view. This is meant to complement my purpose statement.
  4. Re-evauluate content schedule (editorial calendar) – I use Google Calendar
  5. Create a lead statement for all “Building a Blog” so people know what I’m referring to when I mention BB

Check out BoomerangBeat, am I missing something? What are the most important details  you use to make your blog stand out?

Building a Blog: Finding Your Core Message

Building a Blog: Finding Your Core Message

Last week I wrote about my identity crisis surrounding BoomerangBeat and just as if they heard me, the Entrepreneur gods graced me with an article on the importance of finding focus in your core message.

BB’s current tag line doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve known this since I pseudo-settled on it when creating my header’s first draft. However, the back and forth game wore me out and I threw this up there:

Building a Blog: Focusing on the Core Message

Because BB’s title isn’t descriptive, and because the Entrepreneur article slapped me across the face, I realized this is something I need to get right, not something to be thrown up anywhere.

For too long, I focused BB on being a news outlet for the Millennial generation but working through the first two posts I realized my goal isn’t to aim my news in the direction of Millennial interest, it’s purpose is to deliver important issues in a, well, more underwhelming manner (a breaking news story every minute is anything but).

I don’t want to get too into it here, but if you read my passion piece on the issue I have with the state of the media, you’ll gain a better understanding of why I started BoomerangBeat and what it’s meant to be. If you do read it, I would love your feedback or any ideas you have for BB’s core message.

Did you have any concerns when creating your core message and communicating that quickly and effectively to your readers? 

 

Building a Blog: The Fear Factor

The Fear Factor and the Why Factor are opposites and at any given moment either one can creep over and tell you why you should or shouldn’t start a blog.

Mark Schaefer – blogger and marketing genius – has found that not starting a blog  generally has nothing to do with lack of time, ability or ideas … it has to do with confidence.

For me, the lack of confidence comes in two different forms – criticism and fear of the competition.

Even though I’ve started, BoomerangBeat still plays Jekyll and Hyde with me. In one second I can go from thinking it’s a great idea, to a ridiculous one. This is also the reason I wrote the first post, and I say this with shame, in 2011 and am just now picking it back up in 2013.

My Fear Factors

1. Identity crisis and criticism 

I’m still not sure how to explain BB with grace. It really started to click with me when I began composing The Why Factor post, but that was just yesterday. Before that, I had bits of reason, but no real organization to the pieces. This is my identity crisis.

I’m great at conceptualizing but fail (miserably) when it comes to articulation. The BB’s Why Factor is at the tip of my tongue but because of that lack of clarity, I was (am) afraid of criticism. I want the reason for BB to be very clear before I squander my attention-getting efforts with a broken elevator pitch.

2. Competition – they’re already doing it bigger and better   

If I want to move forward with BB (and I do) I need to use the competition as motivation, not discouragement. Use it to keep an eye on what they’re doing, what holes they’re leaving and what lessons can be learned. I have to constantly remind myself not to stare too long or too hard at them, though.

The ability to live in the question long enough for genius to emerge is a touchstone of creative success. – Jonathan Fields, 99u Writer

Successful people understand the abundance mentality – there are enough resources and successes to share with others. There is not a finite number and idea wells don’t just run dry.

Finding a “competitor” that has a stranglehold of the marketplace you want to get into only means one thing: they’ve proven there’s an audience. Now, you just need to take a piece of the pie.

On the contrary, the scarcity mindset (if someone else wins, you lose) is destructive and unnecessary. Get as far away from that as you can.

For me, I see BB’s competition as BuzzFeed and Upworthy. It might sound ridiculous to size them up right now, but they’re practicing similar tactics and reaching the audience I’m aiming for. I plan to write a post about evaluating the competition soon.

What have been your Fear Factors when building a blog?

 

Building a Blog: The First Blog Post

This one was hard to get out but I did it: What’s going on with the Pope?

It was hard on a couple levels:

1. I’m out of shape. I was super slow getting this one spit out. By the end, I couldn’t tell if it was a boring read or if I was just enamored with my own writing.

2. I struggled with length. I wanted enough solid information to lay the foundation, but I didn’t want to add information for the sake of it. Finding the balance between helpful and “I don’t need to know that” isn’t easy. I get distracted by the noise, a lot, which is the exact problem I’m trying to eliminate. A few more posts and hopefully I’ll find cadence.

3. My BB design is horrible as is.

2013-03-19_165759

I played with it a lot but all that buffering was only accomplishing one thing: delay. So, I put it out there. Maybe no one will read it, maybe someone will find it helpful. Either way getting it done, “readiness” aside, was my #1 goal.

I also realized that my original one-calendar-day dedication to BB was not enough. I needed three – one day to research, one day for weeding, and a third to finesse. I’ll go over my calendar and organizational plan in the next week.

What are (or were) your struggles with your first few posts? 

 

Building a Blog: Getting Past Paralysis

A little embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve had this idea I’ve been squatting on for over a year. I even bought the domain name back in 2011. But weighing the pros and cons over that year has paralyzed me. I need to isolate the fact that I keep coming back to the idea for a reason and direct my energy accordingly. Upside – I’ve had time to find holes in the market where I think I fit. Downside – letting fear creep in. More on that here.

I don’t believe in jumping in blind but I do think there’s a thing as too much research. Now I do anyway. It’s an easy place to hide. You read others’ opinions, successes and failures without ever having to make a decision for yourself. Some people are okay with that. I’m not. It’s a silent killer of dreams. Don’t get too comfortable in research. I had to cut myself off. Time to make a firm decision and move forward.

I’m building BoomerangBeat – a news website (well, right now … just a blog) written in way that Millennials consume. I don’t want to go too much into the explanation, that’s what the About section of BB will be. This here, this is to track my progress, bumps in the road, and the ups and downs. And really, to kill two birds with one stone – keep kadeeirene.com moving along in my professional journey and build BB.

Don’t you ever wonder how popular blogs got their start? Or how businesses you admire go about their routine? I do. Hoping that BB is a success, this section of kadeeirene.com is meant to serve as a guide for others and to share examples of my thought process along the way. I don’t know it all, but I’m hoping to give inspiration, get feedback or collaborate with someone who is as lost as I am.