Guest blog by Vardeep Edwards, The Branding Fox.
Your website is the most important part of your business’s marketing.
- It’s your virtual shop.
- It represents your brand and generates sales.
- It’s your one-stop-shop for everything to do with your business.
- And it’s yours. You own it.
Your website is the best place for you to own the branding of your business as well.
It includes all the elements of your brand – tone of voice, visual identity, customer experience, values etc – and not just elements of your brand, like you might see on your social media accounts or in your email marketing.
It’s your digital storefront for your business, and it pays to get your website branding right.
There are many ways for you to showcase your brand through your website, depending on your goals.
Here are 7 tips to help you brand your website and stand out from the competition.
1 Invest in a good logo
Your logo will one of the first things people will see when visiting your website.
It’s worth investing in a good logo design for your website. First impressions count here. If your logo looks amateurish, then so will your business and website. A recognisable logo will help customers recall your business and brand more easily.
Consider the different formats needed.
Nowadays, it’s not enough to have one version of your logo. You need to make sure it’s responsive and will work on various screen sizes and still be recognisable when viewed at a small size.
Legibility is key here too.
Logos with fine or intricate details may struggle to be clear enough when viewed at a small size. So you may need a logo version that is simpler when viewed at a smaller size. This is where working with a professional designer pays, as this is something they’ll take into consideration.
And don’t forget about your favicon.
This is the little icon you see in the browser tab. I see too many that are unclear and hard to make out. And I don’t know about you but I often have several tabs open at once, so this is a great opportunity for you to reinforce your visual identity whilst competing for attention from your users.
2 Pay attention to your branding colours
Colour is highly emotive and an important consideration in your brand identity. People buy 80% based on their emotions and then back those decisions up with 20%.
Choosing your brand colours carefully will play a big part in your branding and will help elicit the right emotions in your target audience.
It goes deeper than stereotypical associations with certain colours.
It’s about the combination of colours used, the tones, shades, hues and the relationship between the brand colours – how they make you feel and what they say about you as a business.
Have a look at these resources for inspiration:
Don’t forget to take into consideration the HEX colours needed for your website and make sure they look the same when converted to RGB and CMYK so that everything you have designed for your brand is consistent.
Pay attention to how colours work on screens, too.
Yellow, for example, can be hard to read on-screen, so you may want to use a different colour or create a version just for screen use.
You can also think about primary and secondary colours palettes, depending on what’s needed for your brand.
- your primary colour palette will be the colours that you use most of the time;
- your secondary colours are there to support.
Don’t forget to use accent colours for highlighting info, Call-to-Actions, or to break up your existing colour palette.
3 Choose your brand fonts wisely
The typefaces you choose for your brand will convey a certain personality for your business.
What type of impression do you want to give?
- Sans serif typefaces with homogenised proportions have become popular with technology brands in recent years.
- High-end fashion brands tend to opt for a more timeless, elegant look by using typefaces with smooth curves, hairline strokes and bracketed serifs.
I’d recommend sticking to 2-3 fonts. This way, you won’t be confusing anyone by using lots of different styles and you won’t be sending out mixed messages about your brand.
Think about what you will use for your headings, body text and any information that needs to be highlighted. What size and weight will you use for the different pieces of information? And will you differentiate the hierarchy of information?
Play with combinations on these resources:
4 Don’t forget your images
Images can often get overlooked when considering a brand, but they’re a key element of your branding and particularly important when it comes to designing your website.
I always recommend working with a brand photographer if possible, even if it’s to get 5 key images that are on brand and you can use on your website. Your website should use the best of the best in terms of your images. I call these your hero imagery – images that are completely on brand and can be used on your homepage and on the front of any marketing materials.
Think about the style of imagery.
- What will they look like? Flowery, serious, corporate, serious or fun?
- And what does the context of these photos need to be? Are they going to be office based? In a cafe or outdoors?
- Will illustrations or icons be needed?
I recommend creating a bank of images for you to work from.
So if you have had some brand photography done, then that’s great. But you can also add to this with stock photography and choose images that match the overall look and feel you’re going for.
Aim to have a bank of about 10 images as your base, and create a mood board, so that when choosing any further images, you can see if they match and follow the same style.
Have a look at Penny’s blog on How to Source Photographs for your Website, as well as these websites that offer royalty-free photos:
Always take into account the format of the photos you are using in different places on your website – hero image, page banner, blogs – and choose images that will work in these particular sizings.
5 Tone of voice and messaging is part of branding
Knowing the tone of voice and key messaging for your brand makes it easier to know what and how to write for your website.
Using the intended style will help you align this with your visual identity and keep everything on brand and work together effectively. This also helps to build your brand, as well as give a cohesive feel to your website.
You can also think about your key messages here:
- What’s really important to you in your business?
- What values do you abide by?
- What are your non-negotiables?
- How will you communicate this on your website?
Your website is where customers can find out all they need to about you and a place where your brand story can shine.
6 Be consistent
Once you have decided on your fonts, colours, images and tone of voice, then it’s a case of being consistent with them.
Branding is all about creating trust in your audience and, when they know what to expect from you, it builds on that trust factor. So make sure you stick to your brand elements for your website. Even if you’re not 100% sure about it, familiarity is better than chopping and changing parts of your branding.
7 Branding guidelines
Once you’ve established all the above points, put everything together into a set of brand guidelines to stay stay consistent and work as a reference guide for anyone else you work with.
This way, everyone knows what the brand is about and what’s expected of it. It also helps to have such a guide when you’re working with a web designer or photographer, as they will be able to understand what the website should look like.