A website that’s beautiful isn’t enough. To really drive your business and achieve success, branding your website is essential. A site that accurately reflects your brand identity demands an investment in time and effort, and a coherent plan. Here is our guide to ensuring that your website is not only striking in its design but an optimized reflection of your brand identity.
Know your customer personas
82 percent of businesses that use effective buyer personas enjoy better value propositions. In other words, using fictionalized characters to represent the audience you’re trying to reach helps you better understand how to reach them. As you create and design your new site, your buyer personas should be on your mind. What kind of features will my buyers want to see? What will they be drawn to?
By this we mean your site’s content needs to be relevant both to your human users and to web crawlers. In terms of search results “relevant” means that it’s instantly clear to searching people why Google is showing them your page. This is connected to branding because you enhance your brand awareness by proving relevance over time. The better your website’s content and pages—and search results for appropriate search areas—the stronger your brand becomes.
Connect your brand and your domain name
Make sure your domain name is clearly connected to your brand if they’re not the same. Ideally, you will be able to use your domain name to brand publicity materials both online and offline.
Identify your niche and be unique
The more specific you are about what your website offers to visitors, the more useful users who land on the site will find it. Once you’ve clarified the niche your site is operating within, help your brand and site stand out from the crowd by making it unique. This means avoiding the use of templates and using, at a minimum, themes that allow you to customize the site and get a fresh take on a basic theme. The more unique your site looks, the more memorable your brand will be.
Develop a brand identity and a voice
Be clear about what your brand stands for, offers, or means to consumers. Your brand voice should communicate your brand’s values and style. Every word or phrase on your site should conform with your brand voice; for example, if your brand is funny and playful, avoid dull, formal language on the site. That voice should always be providing users with the “feelings” you want to be associated with your brand.
Strategic, planned, high-quality, branded content
High-quality content is the thing that best proves to visitors what a brand stands for. Each piece of content you create needs to be part of a larger, organized plan that supports your brand identity. Nothing should feel random or out of place. This also helps your brand build authority and traffic to the site.
Presumably, your brand has a logo (if it doesn’t, it needs one), and this logo needs to be part of your website’s branding strategy. This visual stand-in for the identity of your business should be present on every page.
Speaking of your logo, make sure you’ve also branded your Favicon—that’s the little icon or logo for a website you see on the browser tab. Use a pared-down version of your logo so it will remain instantly recognizable even when it’s tiny.
Branded, consistent colors and fonts
All colors and fonts that you choose for your site should work with your logo and brand. They must also be consistent from page to page. Finally, they should make sense from a design perspective and express the right mood, psychologically. In general keep things from looking too messy and inconsistent by sticking to no more than two fonts throughout the site and three main colors accented by several complementary colors.
Repetition is critical to getting your brand message understood and remembered. Therefore, as you brand your website, repeat each design element for your brand, from colors to the logo to the fonts to any language and slogans you’re using.
Thank you pages
Don’t forget to brand your thank you pages, too. Each time someone signs up for your newsletter or gets a free download, make sure they see a branded thank you page with your slogan and logo.
A well-branded website is the key to getting found in the right searches and being remembered by the right visitors. While branding is certainly not a one-time activity and has to be part of your ongoing strategy, by following these best practices to branding your website you will be able to get your point across in the right ways. Communicating that strong, unique brand message with your website is your best opportunity to connect with your target audience over and over again.