Branding For Your Blog in Quick, Easy Steps: #2 Use ONE Avatar

Blogging Tips | Branding For Your Blog in Quick, Easy Steps: #2 Use ONE Avatar
My blogging tips posts continue with my mini-series of blogging tips in quick, easy steps.

Branding for your blog is up first, and after the super-quick-and-easy #1: Get a favicon, the next logical step is to make your public image consistent. This is what represents you, i.e. your BRAND (like Apple’s bitten apple logo – always such a great example) – so it needs to be the same wherever you pop up on the internet.

Consistency is KEY to branding your blog. As I mentioned in the post about the importance of getting a favicon it constantly reinforces your identity to your audience.

This is another tip I’ve talked about before in other posts and on social media, but it’s an important one to discuss again in a bit more detail:



What’s an avatar…?

An avatar is your profile picture. Having a consistent avatar across all your platforms where a profile picture is required (blog, social media, profiles on blogger outreach programmes, etc.) is the number one way to make yourself instantly recognisable. Using different avatars on different platforms confuses your readers – it makes you harder to remember as you will look like two, three or more different people.

Most people are “visual learners”. Apparently the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text – so even if your [blog] name is consistent across all your platforms, if your image is not, you’ll have a tougher job getting people to recognise you. If they come across you on Instagram for the first time, they might scroll by before they realise you’re the same person they’ve seen in your blog’s sidebar.


How do I get a great avatar/profile picture?

If you’re already using an avatar on one platform that fits the bill, update all the others, not forgetting the sidebar image on your blog and any other profiles you have. Otherwise get someone to take a few good quality head shots (don’t crop from a full-length photo) in various set ups and lighting, and different hairstyles or outfits. Choose the picture that you think is the most recognisable as you. It has to work when it’s very small – especially if you want to use it as your favicon in your blog’s browser tab – and ideally needs to be a clear head shot where your face stands out from the background.

I chose a photo for my new avatar from a photo shoot where I wore the colours I knew I was going to use for my new colour palette – I changed it to this new one on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin, LinkedIneverywhere.

Blogger avatars: The Fairy Blog Mother, Sed Bona, Lily Pebbles
L-R: The Fairy Blog Mother | Sed Bona | Lily Pebbles

The avatars above are great examples of bloggers who have consistently used the same avatar across all their platforms, making them instantly recognisable. What the pictures have in common is that they’re all face-on to the camera and well-lit, they’re all very strong graphically and they all have character.

To prove how effective a great avatar can be, I easily picked out Alice of The Fairy Blog Mother at the UK Blog Awards ceremony in a crowd of hundreds of people because her avatar was so clear (and it looked like her). She and I are now firm blogging friends.

And although Lily Pebbles is a very well-known vlogger, I don’t think I was following her on YouTube when I saw her at a blogging workshop a couple of years ago, but I still recognised her straight away. Finally Ashley of Sed Bona: I’ve never met her as she’s in Chicago and I’m in the UK, but her avatar is so distinctive and full of character I’m sure I’d recognise her immediately should we get the chance to meet (which I’d love to do).

If you go to a blogger meet or conference and you’ve used a consistent avatar that looks like you, you’re more likely to have people come and say hi because they’ve recognised you. That’s the power of branding.


How do I add character to my avatar?

Don’t be afraid to add character to your avatar. For mine I chose a shot where my hair is blowing in the wind, and as I’m known for my red hair it made sense to choose a hair-fabulous photo. Avatars are invariably seen small so they need distinctive shapes and colours as well as some personality. Are you known for a great smile? Then use a photo of your cheesy grin. Do you have distinctive hair or trademark red lips (like Ashley and Lily, above)? Make sure you’re wearing it and that it stands out. If you have blonde, silver or white hair, choose a dark background. If you have dark hair, choose a light background – or hot pink, or bright blue, or whatever colour is very “you” – just make sure you don’t blend into the background.

Experiment, and view the image really small. If you squint at it you can assess whether it’s distinctive enough. If it still looks like you and has bold colours and/or strong shapes, that’s the one you should be using.


Where should I update my avatar?

Here’s a check list of all the places you should change your avatar (depending on which ones you use):

  • Your blogging platform profile (Blogger/Wordpress/Squarespace, etc.)
  • Sidebar profile picture
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Bloglovin
  • Disqus
  • Vimeo
  • Etsy
  • Your blog’s email address profile
  • LinkedIn (unless you wish to keep your professional life completely separate from your blog)
  • Flickr/Photobucket (your image storing site)
  • Gravatar (check out why you should register on Gravatar)
  • All the blogger outreach programmes you’ve registered with, e.g. Fohrcard

If you think of any more (of the main ones) let me know in the comments, I’ll add them to the list.


What if no one recognises my new avatar?

If you don’t already have a strong avatar, don’t be afraid to change it. It’s fine to start again. Just let everyone know on all your social media platforms that you’ve got a new avatar, so post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.; write a quick blog post with it as your lead photo to say it’s changed. If you’re using it as your avatar everywhere you’ll soon be recognised wherever you pop up.

Have you been using a different avatar on all your platforms? Good luck if you get them sorted – let me know how you get on, and what effect it has!

Catherine signature


  1. 13 May 2015 / 1:43 pm

    I'm planning to start a blog soon and this article was very useful for me. Thank you for sharing! = )

    • 13 May 2015 / 6:18 pm

      That's great to hear, Amy – thank you, and good luck!! You'll love it…!

  2. 7 May 2015 / 5:14 pm

    I remember my surprise when I changed my picture from brunette to blond…. Pfff I was not aware that I had plastered my portret all over the internet. So many places I had to change.
    Now I am a bit reluctant to change. Perhaps if I see a similar photo butbetter I might change again. It hasn't got enough character I think. I was hasty as I needed new calling cards. (I dish them out whereever I see my target group haha).

    • 10 May 2015 / 11:06 pm

      I always thought I'd been a redhead all through my blogging years so hadn't changed, Greetje – however when I look back the shade of red has changed so many times!! But I still feel my current avatar is relevant and still looks like me, so I'm sticking with it… for now 😉

    • 14 May 2015 / 1:30 pm

      I am getting used to my blond now as well. Even thinking of keeping it like that. (Until last week I wanted to change it back to brunette in autumn.)

    • 5 May 2015 / 8:09 pm

      That's good to hear, Chelsea, thank you!! (And don't forget to start with your Blogger profile – you can see your lovely face is missing right here by your comment!) xo

  3. 4 May 2015 / 12:58 pm

    Catherine! I love it when you share your blogging tips. So far, I have done #1 and #2. Funnily enough I just ran into 2 social networks where I had forgotten to update my profile pic to the one across my platforms: Goodreads and Skype!

    Catherine, here's a question for you if you don't mind: My hair is shorter than my avatar, BUT it's headed back to that length. Do you think it's ok not to update it? I'm thinking it's fine.

    Also, what do you think of mine? Too much of a side profile or ok. That stupid site Get Off My Internets…someone said "Why does Kremb de la Kremb always look like she's going to bit someone?" I know, I know, don't pay any attention, but you know me. I'm senti!

    Looking forward to #3!


    Ann from Those shoes are INSANE Emily.

    I've always loved your style and photography Emily, but lately I'm also really loving your voice.

    Happy birthday Sweetheart!


    Ann from Kremb de la Kremb

    • 5 May 2015 / 8:07 pm

      I don't think the difference in hair length will make any difference, Ann – some bloggers change their hair so often that it would probably be silly of them to change their avatar every time their hair changes. It's not like you've gone from long to a short crop…! And yours isn't a side profile at all, so no need to worry about it.

      But I'm sure you remember I LOVED that photo of you when you first had your hair cut very short – the one with the massive smile and red lippie – I think it's so full of personality and so "you" that I'd love to see you change them all to that one… but that's just me ;))

    • 5 May 2015 / 8:14 pm

      Oh and I forgot to say about the troll: I'm sure you know this already, but be smug in the knowledge that you're a lovely person and you'd never be so vile to someone – you make others (like ME) smile every day, and your smile and endless enthusiasm and love has everything to do with that.

      And secondly – stop reading those revolting sites, sweetie! Think of it as wasted minutes of your life. You wouldn't give them the time of day in real life, so don't do it online (but I know you know all this already) xxxxxxx

  4. 3 May 2015 / 3:54 pm

    I really need to do this.


    • 5 May 2015 / 8:01 pm

      You're very recognisable with your avatar, Yvonne – I know instantly it's you!! Thank you x

  5. 3 May 2015 / 8:42 am

    Once again, wonderful advice! After reading through your blogging tips posts, I see now, I've been doing some grave mistakes, but you learn while you live 😀

    • 4 May 2015 / 10:44 pm

      Oh I made all the mistakes in the beginning Keit!! But yes, that's true what you said xoxo

  6. 2 May 2015 / 12:34 pm

    Done and done. Great advice, Catherine.

    • 4 May 2015 / 10:15 pm

      Excellent Susan!! =my work is done= heehee ;))

  7. 1 May 2015 / 8:25 pm

    I do that too!! I want to change mine now…I like the one I added on Instagram (it's from a recent blog post), but my face is at an angle and I don't know if it would make a good avatar!

    • 4 May 2015 / 10:14 pm

      I had a quick look, Anna – I like that one on IG but I think you'd be less recognisable by it (especially in person) I think. I do like the one you're currently using, but it's totally up to you! Consistency is the *most* important thing 🙂

  8. 1 May 2015 / 6:59 pm

    I was just thinking about that and now I will change them! Which one to choose? Hmmm what a dilemma.

    • 4 May 2015 / 10:00 pm

      It's a good change to make, Martina! Have fun choosing 🙂

  9. 1 May 2015 / 6:32 pm

    Thanks for this, makes total sense. I use a few different ones so best get on the case and find one to use across all platforms

    • 4 May 2015 / 9:59 pm

      No worries Lorna – I'm glad it's helped! x

  10. 1 May 2015 / 4:03 pm

    Great advice Catherine – I need to get consistent with my pics. (I favor the ones from four years ago, when I started my blog : > ) xo

    • 4 May 2015 / 9:58 pm

      Thanks Patti – I still feel like mine is new but I realised it's actually two years old 🙂

DISCLOSURE: Items marked* are PR products (I never accept anything I wouldn’t choose for myself) and my opinions are 100% honest. I also use affiliate links where I may earn commission if you click through and buy, at no cost to you.