How to Start a Brand

One question I’ve recently been asked more and more is: How did I start my career? Now more than ever, people want to love what they do. So many of you tell me you find your current careers unfulfilling and you’re looking for more passion in your lives. I completely understand – I was there, too.

On the first day of my job as a pharmacist, I hated it. I spent six years in school and when the day came to start my career, I was miserable. I quickly realized I wanted to do my own thing, whether that was consulting, writing a book, or starting a brand, but I felt stuck and unsure on where to go or how to start. But I had one thought in mind: I needed to make a website.

I thought about what I wanted my site to be, then thought about what I enjoyed most and what I wanted to give to the world. Wellness & skincare is my passion, and it only made sense to create a website focused on this kind of content. After some work, I became an expert in the field, offering advice and sharing knowledge through my blog. While it started as a side hustle, after 4 years, my wellness blog became my full time gig, and now it continues to thrive :)

When starting a brand or establishing yourself as an influencer, a website is often the first step. How often do you come across a brand without a website? Rarely. Websites build trust with your community and consumers. They confirm you are a real entity and they create your online presence–something crucial to success. Even though the majority of my content is on social media and YouTube, I use my website as my homebase, and it’s where all of my serious brand deals have contacted me from.  Websites are an absolutely necessary way to get yourself out there, get known, and build your brand. A website is an essential building block to creating the career of your dreams.

To make website building helpful for you–here is a quick 6-step process to get you going!

(Note: Though the freedom that comes with having your own schedule and working remotely seems extremely luxurious, it requires a great amount of organization and planning. But don’t let let that deter you! Having a business is hard work, but so worth it. You can do it!)
 

Step 1: Ideate

When creating a website or blog you need to start with one thing: an idea. Ideas can come easily to some, but for others, it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re struggling, ask yourself this key question: What do you want to your blog to be about? What is your passion? The rest will flow from there.

What other questions should you be asking when starting a blog? How about: Who is your target audience? What are some topics you want to write about? What will the blog be named? How do you want it to look?

Coming up with a vision of your blog or website will help you gain confidence and momentum as you start setting into motion.

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Step 2: Pick a CMS

First, what is CMS? CMS stands for Content Management System and it is exactly what it sounds like. Your CMS will be where you create and manage your content.

You may have heard of a few different CMS platforms. The two most popular are Squarespace and Wordpress. I use Squarespace because it is a bit more intuitive and user-friendly than Wordpress. Wordpress requires a little more technical knowledge, but if you have the ability, it does offer more customization. If you’re just starting out and will be handling your blog on your own (without a team for technical support)- Squarespace might be the better choice.

 

Step 3: Choose a Domain and Host

Choosing your blog name is one step, but making it official is another. There are tons of domain checking tools like at Bluehost.com (more on them later!) to look up availability. If your name is taken–don’t fret! You can always try an alternative .com like .org or .net. If you are still stuck, get creative! You’ll find something that works and is true to you.

Now, you’ll need to find a host for your domain and blog. What is a host? One way to explain it is like this: your domain name is your plot of land, the host is your house, and then your blog is your furniture. To house your furniture you will want a sturdy frame, so you will want to find a host that is reliable and trustworthy as well as on call for all your technical mishaps and concerns.

Bluehost is a great hosting site. They have awesome pricing, great speed, and all the support you need. I’ve been using Bluehost from day 1, and they have been SO reliable and helpful!

 

Step 4: Set Up Hosting and your CMS

Now you will need to set-up your site and your CMS. Bluehost is incredibly easy to set up. Simply go to Bluehost.com and click “GET STARTED.” The rest is smooth sailing from there. You’ll pick your package (the PLUS package is great for beginners!) and go through the payment page. After you set up your login information, you’ll arrive at your dashboard. Next step is setting up your CMS. All you have to do is install Squarespace (or Wordpress) to your domain, and voila!, you have a site up and running.

Now it’s time to get to work!

 

Step 5: Design

So your blog is setup, now all that’s missing is design.

When it comes to design, three things to think about are functionality, style, and color.

An easy way to design your blog is to pick a readymade template, or theme. There are so many Squarespace and WordPress themes to choose from that you’re bound to find something that suits you and your blog’s needs. Get some inspiration by Googling or searching Pinterest. Etsy is also a great place to find templates. Not all themes are free, but the money will be well spent.

You can find templates that are customizable. If you’ve got coding skills, you can turn any theme into your own masterpiece. If you aren’t as familiar with computer language, you can always hire someone to customize your site for you (or just stick with one of the Squarespace templates). My biggest piece of advice here - DON’T get stuck on design! This can come with time. The important thing is to just dive right in and get going. Start creating amazing content and the rest will come with time.
 

Step 6: Start Blogging!

If you want a successful blog, keep your content consistent and constant. Put together a content calendar to map out future posts and stay ahead of the game. Even if your website is just a hub for your brand and being a blogger isn’t necessarily where you want to start, I recommend adding a blog section to your website and putting up a bit of content about your craft. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated–a little will go a long way!

Do you have your own brand or business? How did you get started?

Dr. Mona Vand