When you were first starting out with your online business, what was the first thing you thought you needed?
A name? A logo? A website?
There are a lot of things that we rush to create in the beginning. It’s exciting, it’s new, and we have ALL THE IDEAS.
Unfortunately – and I say this from experience – in all that excitement, we tend to move too fast and put out something that doesn’t represent us or just looks shitty.
Sorry, I said it, but you know what I mean. You’ve had those moments where you look at your website and cringe at the random colors or weird fonts that pop up when you install a new plugin.
I’m all for the “make it work, then make it better” motto. But when it comes to launching your blog or website, there are just some things you need to do, otherwise, your site will look inconsistent and piecemeal.
In my experience, nothing drives away people faster than lousy content and when lousy content looks even worse than it reads.
I love how Karla Cook over on Hubspot put it, “The best brands stick in our brains because their presence is defined by the repetition of the same logo, fonts, colors, and images. Once we see them enough, they become instantly recognizable, bringing us a clear sense of reliability and security.”
So today, we’re going to talk about how to take your website to the next level and make your content and site look good. I promise it’s not going to be as much work as you think it is!
What is a style guide?
Usually, a style guide is a PDF document put together by a designer, that details how every element on your site should look as far as fonts, colors, spacing, graphic elements, etc. You can search “style guide” on Pinterest and finds all kinds of inspiration!
Style guides can also contain information about written elements such as language or specific phrases and terms used with your brand, or voice and tone.
When it comes to working with my clients, I have a handful of items I always include in their style guide.
Usually, I build my guides out in Adobe Illustrator, but I recreated my template in Canva so I could share it with you.
Things to include in your style guide:
- a logo (if you have one, light and dark version) or your business name
- heading levels 1-5
- body text
- block quotes
- primary and secondary colors
- graphic elements (textures, patterns, blog graphic styles)
- buttons and links
Make sure to go to File > Make a Copy, so you’re not overwriting my or anyone else’s template.
So before you get started, here are the main three reasons you need a style guide for your blog or website:
It’ll save you time when your creating content if you know what things are supposed to look like every time, and it will make it easier for your readers to consume that content.
By having a style guide, you’re setting yourself up to be memorable. Visitors will know when they come across something you’ve written or created because it looks like it belongs.
By setting up how your site should look now, you are paving the way for guest contributors and team members to be able to quickly and efficiently help you on your website. It’ll be as simple as handing them the rulebook – your style guide!
If you’re looking for more information on how to create a style guide or resources for doing so, download my Ultimate Website Planning Guide. In it, I talk about style guides and each element.
Stop cringing at your website
Download my Ultimate Website Planning Guide and get started revamping your website so you can build a consistent and memorable brand.