Having a website and creating a brand are two completely different things. This is why you could have a website with a million dollar look that does nothing to reflect your corporate identity or personality.
A well defined brand communicates the entirety of your business. It is the summation of your company, comprising what it has to offer (in terms of product and services) and the people that make up your team. Executed properly, branding helps create consistency across all aspects of your business and operations – both online and offline. While a website plays an important role in providing a point of contact between your business and your customers, it’s also the perfect platform to create a consistent and dependable image that would automatically jump to people’s mind when they think about your business. For this reason, not just any website will do. Your website has to be designed in such a way that it complements your brand values and conveys the right message about your business and what it does.
How can you ensure your website not only complements your brand, but is also conveying the right message, correctly and memorably? The following tips will provide a good starting point.
Colours – Having the right combination of colours is essential for any website. It stimulates the emotions of visitors and helps make the right connection. For example, the colour red can increase excitement. It symbolises passion, energy and power. This is why it is a good colour choice for the entertainment industry. The primary colours used in your website should reflect the message your business wants people to see. Look for something with which visitors can easily identify to relate to what you do. When picking a colour, ensure you opt for something that has the same associations across different cultures, so that you don’t end up meaning different things to different people.
Consistency – When you want to make people remember certain things, you use repetition. This is a system that can work very well when building a website that defines your brand. For your brand to be successful, it has to be memorable. This means maintaining consistency across all areas of your website. For example, you don’t use a particular colour scheme on one page and a different combination on another. When you maintain consistency with all elements of your website, it helps project a uniform image, which will tell visitors that your business knows what it’s doing. A good example of consistency is Skype. Over the years, despite all the changes, the website still maintains the well known blue colour and white background.
Value proposition – When a visitor arrives on your website, they’ll want to know if they are on the right site to source the information they need. One quick way to assure them of this is by making your value proposition abundantly clear. In most cases, this is done on the homepage, but a good idea is to use your website’s slogan or tagline to convey this message. It should preferably be located by the logo, so that when visitors see the name of your website (accompanied by the logo), the next thing they’ll see is a message that gives them an idea of what your business is all about. Understandably, not every business will be able to capture this message in the tagline, but a really bold headline can do the job. Just make sure you place it on pages where visitors are more likely to land.
An ‘About’ page – An ‘About’ page is possibly one of the most important pages on a website. This is where visitors go to get more information about your business. It’s on this page that you can tell the story of your brand and connect with visitors. They are not always called ‘About’ pages on every website. In fact, some people use different terms such as ‘Meet us’, ‘How we do business’ and ‘About the company’, but the information within is always the same. This comprises information about the company, what it does and how it can benefit the visitor.
“Having an ‘About’ page differentiates you from the pack; it helps visitors identify your finer points and makes it easier for them to do business with you”, suggests Brian, Web Host Expert at OpenHost Hosting, New Zealand’s top hosting provider.
Remember that most first time visitors to your website know little or nothing about your business. It’s up to you to give them the necessary information they need to make a decision whether to do business with you or not.
A ‘Contact’ page – Providing an easy way for customers to reach your business is one of the essential attributes of any successful brand. Whether you’re conducting business online or offline, customers want to know when and where they can reach you. This is why it’s important to add all your contact details on your website. Also, include a message that lets people know that someone is always on hand to answer any questions or queries. This will let people know that your brand places emphasis on customer service and will go a long way to boost your credibility with your visitors and customers.
Avoid copying – Some website designers have been faced with a situation where the client says “I love that website, copy it for me” or “Give me one exactly like that”. While it’s alright to draw inspiration from websites you admire, copying one down to the smallest detail is the fastest way to confusing people about your brand. Apart from the possibility that they may come across the original website some day, it might also be difficult to reconcile your brand image with the website you’re trying to copy. Every business has one particular aspect that makes it unique and yours should be demonstrated through your brand identity, especially via your website design.
As a business owner, never underestimate the power of your website to convert visitors to customers and build the image of your business. Having a website that properly defines your brand will help you connect more effectively with customers and visitors alike, causing them to carry out the desired actions on your website that in turn will help your business grow.