Starting a business might begin with a big idea, and it might continue with creating a brand, but the hard work is developing that brand and making it work alongside a credible business model. Increasingly that means creating an online presence and using it to build your brand, and that comes from finding your target audience, connecting with them and engaging them. All this is done through your website as the central focus and controlling factor of your online presence.
The key to designing a website to help build your brand is consistency, in terms of its design and how it carries your message. How you achieve this is what we will be looking at in this article, as we have broken down the process into sections which each help your brand gain traction online, while maintaining consistency throughout.
Basic website design
Fundamentally your website design needs to be functional and practical to enable it to fulfil its primary purpose. This might be just to showcase your product or service or it might be to directly monetise it through an e-commerce site. Either way, the website design needs to be attractive but easy to navigate and with enough content to engage the audience, keep them on the site and ultimately to turn page views into sales
So you have your logo and your branding already, but have you thought about how this can be translated onto your website? The colours you use are critical to this. If your branding is red or black, for example, these tend to be viewed as edgy, uncompromising or assertive colours. Does that reflect your brand? Using green or brown is considered more peaceful, earthy or empathetic, does that fit the bill better? To be consistent you want to use your branding colours and logo colours on your website, but does that work? Will it roll out successfully? Primary and secondary colours provide the dominant base of a website’s design but it needs to be attractive and appealing. And to create consistency of colours with your branding, you want headlines, sub-headings, text and backgrounds to be in these same colours and shades. Is this going to work?
Don’t overdo the content
The best website designs strike the right balance between content and space. Basically, the reader wants content but they also need space to think clearly, to breathe and to make the content more legible. So don’t worry about leaving space around images and links, because over-cluttering a site can affect the attention-span. Use links to articles instead of embedding the whole content, space allows you to communicate more effectively and makes your content more organised and accessible.
Make them uniform and simple, using no more than two on the entire site design. The fonts need to support the tone of your brand and don’t be tempted to be too quirky. Unusual fonts might look great and leave an impression but are they compatible with all internet browsers? You might find that your site is illegible to some people.
Add some humanity
Your brand needs to have some personality, particularly if you have a strong story to tell, and your website is a great platform to expand on this and tell your story. People like to see the real face behind the business, this creates some empathy and brings the brand to life, otherwise a brand and a website can appear cold and unapproachable. So include some photos, tell your story and provide plenty of contact details. Your brand should have a good mission statement if you want it to be successful, so use the website to make this known.
Often an image or a video can say a lot more than words, and a website over-cluttered with text content can be off-putting, however strong and engaging that content is. So embed images and videos where you can to break this up and use visual content that is consistent with your social media content. This kind of visual content can be memorable and really effective in building your brand. Similarly, using your logo and branding on the website itself should be done strategically and not in an OTT way, to subliminally plant it in the minds of site visitors
Keep it fresh
We have spoken about consistency being key, and once your website is up and running, this can be achieved by integrating your content with your social media accounts in a co-ordinated approach, and making sure the website is compatible with all kinds of devices. All your social media posts should include a link to your website, where people can expect the same kind of messaging, images and content. But it is also important to keep refreshing this periodically. A visitor coming to your site frequently can grow tired of seeing the same formatting and imagery, it perhaps suggests the business is stale and isn’t developing, and that is the opposite of what you want to communicate. So assess what is working and review the design and content regularly, adding new content where it provides value and is consistent with your branding and messaging.
Overall this will show your business to be cohesive, polished and organised, which is exactly what your target audience wants. The opposite is to be unfocussed and disjointed, so consistency says everything about your business and is the real key to designing a website to develop your new brand successfully.