Do you want a branded website that differentiates your business, performs well on search engines, and converts visitors?
If so, then you’re in the right place.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- what a branded website is
- how to create a website that communicates your unique value
- how to increase conversions
What Is a Branded Website?
A brand is more than a logo and colors. It builds a bridge between your business and target audience. Like human beings, brands have tangible and intangible characteristics that define them.
When you meet someone, you get an impression of who that person is almost immediately. Some qualities are visual, such as their hair and the way they dress. You learn other things about them by the way they talk or the expressions they use.
This process of forming the first impression is the same for businesses. Think about it: when you walk into an office or a store, you get a feel for it. If you like the place, you’ll probably go back. Likewise, if it’s dull and uninviting, you’ll leave and never look back.
A branded website adds value and invites people to come back.
But you can’t do that without having a brand first. Your brand provides all the ingredients—a persona, core values, purpose, emotion—to build a connection with your audience.
BRAND: The Secret Formula
A brand is difficult to explain but easily experienced. It has both tangible and intangible qualities that make it appealing. A well-designed brand can enhance the value of your products and services.
Branding is a combination of art and science. Fortunately, there’s a framework for brand building that consists of five components.
Brands are known for being bold. They’re industry leaders, innovators but didn’t get that reputation by accident.
And you don’t need a million-dollar marketing budget to be one of them.
Experiment and try new things as you develop your website. Don’t be afraid to stand up to stand out. Let your audience know you’re there to lead them where they want to go.
How does your business make the world a better place? It’s up to you, the business owner, to let your audience know that what you do makes a difference.
Stay relevant by staying in touch with your audience. After all, if you can’t relate to them, you can’t expect them to care about anything you have to say.
The world doesn’t need manufactured empathy. People are looking for the real deal.
When you communicate with your target audience, don’t be afraid to show them who you really are. You may own a business, but the company doesn’t have to be cold and uninviting. Let your brand persona show.
Stay true to who you are. Unfortunately, many once-popular brands ruined their reputation by compromising the principles that made them great. It takes a long time to build a connection with your audience and only moments to tear it down.
Incorporating a sense of novelty into your branded website means making it fresh and new. But design trends change so often it isn’t easy to keep up.
Less is more in a world of two-second attention spans and 24-hour access. So rather than trying to dazzle everyone with overwhelming designs, keep it simple.
While this is great advice, being genuine means more than using slang in blog posts and posting photos of you having coffee.
Look at your competitors. (They should be easy to find because you have lots of them.)
What are they doing that you could do better? I use the word ‘better’ not in the sense of who’s the best but rather, how can you improve on what they are doing?
This exercise of competitor is about finding ideas. Do this often, and you’ll find it’s much easier to stand out and “be you” than you thought.
Let’s Talk Website Strategy
A good plan will help you avoid many typical website design mistakes. Most issues are with messaging, calls to action, and technical oversights.
Many business owners launch their sites without thinking about what they want them to do. Some believe that if a site “looks great”, it will be successful. Unfortunately, they usually end up disappointed.
Your website serves several functions:
They introduce people to your brand.
In many ways, your website is like a receptionist. As soon as someone arrives, the site is there to set the tone. So, the first impression should be your best.
They give the visitor a tour.
Your website shows people around then asks them what they’re most interested in or what else they might like to learn.
They foster a relationship.
Since your website is one of the first “touchpoints” for your brand, it often begins the relationship with visitors.
They take people where they want to go.
Your website visitors usually arrive at your site because they’re looking for something. What is it? Think about what it might be and make sure they can find it when they get there.
It’s Not About You
Your target audience should be the focus of your website. What are the desires, needs, or knowledge gaps you can address in your website messaging?
What do you want a visitor to do when they land on the site? Do you want them to download a free giveaway? Request a quote? Whatever it is, the home page (or landing page) should prompt the visitor to do it.
Remember, when someone lands on your site, you only have their attention for a few seconds. Your message must be clear, concise, and compel them to take a specific action.
The action should lead them one step closer to becoming a customer. Even a tiny action can make a big difference. Otherwise, they will leave, and when they do, it’s unlikely they will ever come back.
Roughly 88% of consumers visit a company’s website to research them before they buy. Most of your site’s visitors are there to get a feel for your business, not to make a purchase, which is why creating a customer journey is so valuable.
Brand Values, Purpose, and Promise
Most companies have a mission and vision statement on their website. But is the brand identity and promise clear?
It’s nice to know why you’re in business, but it’s important to share your Value Proposition. Your value proposition is not the same as a Brand Positioning Statement, which tells people why you’re in business.
You don’t have to repeat the brand promise using the same sentence over and over. Instead, you can send the message in a variety of ways. Be creative, but most of all, be clear.
Who are you? Anyone who lands on your site should be able to answer that question. If you don’t know, how can they?
Before you design your site, write out three to five words that describe your brand. These words communicate your brand values—the essenceof what you believe.
Why is this important? Because your website should evoke feelings that are relevant to your brand identity. The website of an upscale fashion retailer will look much different than that of a technology company.
Do you have a logo? Colors? Do you have specific images that you want people to think of when your brand comes to mind?
Work these into your website design tactfully. Overdoing your brand images distract the visitor from the messaging and engagement. A subtle approach works best.
Some Tips on Design
Most scientists agree that human beings assess images within 13 milliseconds. That’s literally within the blink of an eye.
It’s a common belief that eye-popping images are the key to successful website design. But there is much more to it than that. The site’s layout is just as important as content and images.
Cluttered sections, blurry images, and text that is hard to read kill engagement. Inconsistency from page to page sends mixed signals and confuses website visitors.
Inconsistency is one of the most common design issues. Even professionals struggle with this at times. That’s because it isn’t easy to maintain consistency throughout a site.
But brand consistency across all platforms can increase revenue by as much as 33%.
Brand consistency reinforces the perception of stability, and people are attracted to strength. It’s a sign that they can trust the person or business.
So, how do you maintain consistency in website design?
- Avoid using too many fonts—one, no more than two.
- Use a primary and secondary color, with an accent color for calls-to-action only.
- Make sure images (photos and graphics) match your brand colors.
- Don’t change directions. Changing designs too often works against you.
- Use a mood board to come up with concepts before you design anything.
- Create a style guide that includes your color scheme, fonts, and other brand images.
For reference, the structure I’m referring to here relates to the use of the site and not link structure. While link structure is important (and part of a good SEO strategy), making your site easy to use is essential.
Navigation should be simple. Don’t ask users to overthink while using your site. Make sure the most vital information is no more than one or two clicks away.
Have you ever seen a website that hurt your eyes? It may have been the harsh color scheme or fonts that were difficult to read. Or maybe everything was packed so tightly you couldn’t tell where one section ended, and another began.
White space is the space (usually white) between website elements and sections. This space gives everything room to breathe and to accomplish its intended purpose. It often separates the good designs from the bad—and the ugly.
Keep ample white space between images, text, and content, making it easy for visitors to transition from one section to another. Cramming elements together causes them to work against each other.
A branded website can help you stand out and generate more interest in your business. It’s one of the first impressions prospective customers get of your business.
Design the site with your target audience in mind. Start with a plan. Use a clear, compelling message to prompt visitors to take action and lead your audience throughout the customer journey.
Your branded website should reflect your level of professionalism, quality, and expertise. It should communicate your promise to customers in a tone that aligns with your brand values.
A website design that aligns with your brand is a big project. We’re here if you need us. Please email your questions to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,