Are you following us here because you think maybe you might want to do this? Or maybe you just want to start a family travel blog to document your occasional vacations? Maybe you’re just generally interested in launching an online platform of your own?
Over the years, many people have reached out and ask me for tips on how to create and launch an online platform, so I thought I’d dig in and share a series of tips with you on how to do just that, starting with how to choose your new platform’s name and how to brand it. This is based on my personal experience creating this platform, and my over 11 years of experience with Baby Rabies- my parenting and pregnancy platform.
I shared over on our YouTube channel, and I’ll detail those same points in this post below. (Have you subscribed to our channel yet?)
Before you can create any kind of content, or even nab your social handles and website, you have to come up with a name!
Give yourself some time for this. Don’t get mad if the perfect name takes a while to come to you. Keep a list with you at all times. I kept one on my iPhone in Notes when I was trying to come up with Happy Loud Life. And don’t get hung up on anything you feel is the “perfect” name. We’ll get into that more in a bit.For now, just keep a running list of anything and everything you can think of. If you’re having a hard time even coming up with ideas, here are a few ways to spark your creativity:
What feeling do you want people to have when they hear your name?
What makes YOU different from everyone else out there?
What is something memorable about your family or your topic?
What do you want to be known for?Things to avoid:
I would strongly advise against naming your platform anything super specific to who you are and what you’re doing at this moment if you think there’s any chance that could change. For example: (and I should add that any names I use as examples here are totally random and I don’t know if they are actual names being used) TravelingFamilyOf4- are you sure you won’t have another kid? MommyLovesHikingWithBaby- Your baby will grow up very shortly. And based on my experience in the parenting blog world, I really would avoid anything with the term “mommy” in it.Basically, give your brand name room to grow. I specifically avoided anything referencing parenthood or my kids, or anything travel specific so that Happy Loud Life can grow with me over the years.
- Do Your Research
Now that you have some names that could work- GOOGLE THAT. Google it every way you can think of. Look it up on Instagram and Facebook. See if it stands for something else you were unaware of. Make sure it doesn’t mean something offensive unbeknownst to you. Make sure nobody is already using it, of course, but also make sure nobody is using something very similar. And if they are, please proceed with caution. I suggest not to use anything that too closely resembles someone else’s brand name, ESPECIALLY if they are already in the same sphere as you- parenting, travel, lifestyle, whatever.Absolutely do NOT be someone who takes a name and tweaks it just a tiny bit to make it different for you. Create your own identity!THEN you can begin the process of grabbing the social handles (I recommend at least Facebook and Instagram), and that dot.com.
- To Dot.Com Or Not
I’m a big believer in the traditional yourwebsitename.COM, but I get that that’s not always possible. If you absolutely are sold on a name and the dot.com is not available, (or not affordable as some will be in the thousands of dollars if they are being sold at premium resale prices), a couple things to keep in mind:The person who already owns the dot.com may own the trademark on the name, or could eventually. If you are ok with that risk, then I would only do the .net or whatever else IF they are in a completely different space than you are- like not a travel blogger if you are going to focus on writing about travel, etc. If nobody owns that dot.com and it’s just being re-sold for $3k, I think that’s even riskier. You have no idea who is going to come buy that and what they will make it. You don’t want someone buying up a dot.com that people will mistake as you, only to put content on there that you would personally never align with.
- Mind Your Spelling
Okay, after all of this, you may be getting a little frustrated because perhaps you have THE perfect name, but it’s already taken or you can’t buy the .com, so you think you’ll just do a unique spelling, or you’ll add an extra word to the front or back of it. TravelingHearts becomes TheTravelingHeart$ or WeFlyCoach becomes WeFlighCoach… or whatever, you get the picture. Before you go to such lengths, remember that you want your brand name to be something that sticks with people, and it’s easy for them to find when your link is not in front of them. Traditional spelling is key, and social handles have character limits. If you can’t make it work this way, I’d go back to the drawing board.
- Time for Branding! Start With Your Colors
At last! You have your official name, your website, your social accounts secured. Time to put together the simple elements of your brand that will give you a cohesive look across all your channels. Pick 2-3 colors that you think work well with the content you want to produce. For inspiration, I like visiting Design-Seeds.com. When I was doing this for Happy Loud Life, I began with the “Explore by Collection” tab, then went to Wander-Wanderlust. Mostly just because I needed a place to start. I can’t locate that original palette anymore, but here’s a good example of what you can find there.
There’s SO much. You can get lost on there for hours, so it helps if you go in with a bit of a plan.
- Find A Font Or Two
- Create a Logo
Keep it SIMPLE. As your brand progresses and evolves (and as you feel more comfortable investing more money in it) you can always hire a designer or brand specialist to make a really slick and elaborate logo for you. But if you’re DIYing it, and you aren’t well versed in graphic design, just keep it simple to begin with.Avoid anything too trendy. In researching other people who are in the same space you want to create content for, what were the popular elements of their designs and logos? Stay away from those! Back when I designed the HLL logo, I was steering clear of arrows, feathers, chevrons, watercolor, and mountain and tree silhouettes. There’s nothing wrong with those elements, but a lot of people in the space we’re in are already using them. We want to stand out.
I can’t give much more advice on how to do to this, since I am definitely not a graphic designer, but here’s how I approached our Happy Loud Life logo:
I wanted to keep it simple, so I chose a simple font. I incorporated our brand colors, and then I looked for a place I could add one little touch of whimsy and imperfection. The imperfection was key to me, because I want our brand to be about embracing life’s imperfections.I came up with the idea to hand draw the O in Loud. That O became our social icon, and a key piece of our branding.If all of this is still overwhelming to you, check out Etsy or Fiverr for logo designers. Many offer inexpensive options, and simple designs shouldn’t be hard to come by. Just have a good look at their portfolios to be sure they are already creating designs that you connect with.Once you have your name, social handles, website, and your branding, you’ll be ready to start creating content! I hope this helps answer questions about this part of the process. Let me know if you have any others, and what else you’d like me to cover when it comes to launching an online platform (blog, social channels, YouTube).