You are how you look online. You could objectively be the best [insert profession] in the area with the most expertise and the best customer service… but no one will know this if you don’t have a website to represent that.
- 87% of consumers will check out your website before meeting with you.
- 96% will admit that a website highly affects whether or not they choose your service.
- 100% of consumers will admit to leaving a website because it was poorly designed or difficult to use.
Clearly, a website has an important impact on your business. When your customers search for you online, you need to be there; but, you can’t just be there in a bland, unprofessional way. Branding your website is the place to start if you want to look the part.
So how do you build a branded website? What’s involved? How should it look? How do you stand out from the competition? We’re going to go over that. But before we get there, you need to understand what branding is, and why it should be a part of your marketing strategy.
Now, this is where people usually say, “but wait, aren’t marketing and branding the same thing?” No. While they go hand in hand, they are quite distinct.
Marketing vs. Branding
We’ll start with marketing because it is easy to define… Marketing is simply actively promoting your services and company. It’s the actions you take to get customers to utilize your services. Marketing can be done through newspaper ads, social media ads, digital ads, booths and seminars, etc. Marketing simply says “I’m here. Use my services.”
Branding, on the other hand, is what you do to shape how people think about your company or services. It is not just your logo or your website. It is not your business cards or tagline. Branding consists of those things, but it’s bigger than that. It’s your mission, your values, your customer promise, your personality, and what makes you special and unique. Branding is the gut feeling people have when they interact with your business. How branding intersects with marketing is that all of these things are communicated through your website, your business cards, your logo, and other marketing. It is even communicated through yourself when you interact with people.
6 Tips for Branding Your Website
- Have a Clear Goal for Your Website
Websites are created for different reasons and understanding why you’re building one is the first step towards developing a coherent branded website. Defining your website’s goals helps you understand the best way to present yourself to your prospective audience.
Begin by answering some of these questions: why are you building the website? What is your end goal for having a website? What is your promise statement to customers? What factors differentiate you from your competition? These questions may not cover every attribute and feature, but they can help solidify your values and give you that edge when designing your site.
- Invest in a Good Logo
Your logo is probably the most critical tool you have for promoting your business. It’s not just a random mark. It provides your small business with an identity that represents your core values and your mission. If executed properly, that identity can immediately sell your brand to prospective customers. A poor small business logo design will turn your customers off. Having none at all is even a bigger marketing mistake.
- Consider Having a Tagline
For websites, it’s a good idea to have a logo with a tagline so that visitors know at a glance what your site is about. Here’s the thing about taglines, though: they shouldn’t be cute. They should help the customer understand what it is you do. Let’s say you’re an insurance agent. If your tagline is something cute like “where Medicare knowledge meets customer service,” that doesn’t help anyone understand what you can actually do for them. But a tagline like “We make understanding your Medicare benefits easier…” That’s clear. That instantly tells someone what they will get from working with you. So, if you’re going to have a tagline as part of your branded website, make it clear.
- Pay Attention to Your Colors
Several studies demonstrate that colors can elicit emotions and behaviors from viewers. Before you randomly select colors for your website, think about your brand identity and values. Translate these values to basic emotions (‘energetic’, ‘optimistic’, ‘serious’, etc.,).
Then, with those emotions in mind, find colors that represent those emotions. There are plenty of charts online that will help you with this. By choosing your colors this way, it gives your branding a subtle way to bring readers into the specific mindset you want your website to instill. When applied appropriately, the right color combination can help you communicate your values to your customers and win them over.
- Keep Your Website Simple
Use a lot of white space with great photos, and not a lot of words. Users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image. That’s the image that first loads when you look at a website. But users only spend an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content.
The simpler sites—with small splashes of color, great photos, and little text—look more sophisticated and visitors are more satisfied because they can find what they want.
If a customer has to work hard to find what they’re looking for, they will abandon your website and you will lose another prospect.
- Make it mobile
This is a crucial element of branding your website. Your website needs to look good and be functional on mobile.
- 63% of website visits are done on a mobile phone.
- 85% of adults think that a company’s website when viewed on a mobile device should be as good or better than its desktop website.
- 57% of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
If your website does not look good or function well on a mobile device, your business will suffer because of it.
The Bottom Line
It’s time for you to get serious about building your brand as part of your marketing strategy. The “trend” of branding your website isn’t going anywhere. It’s here to stay.