Getting across who you are as a brand isn’t an easy task. You have to stay on message consistently no matter what part of your website a visitor lands on. Your website serves as the central hub in your branding process. Consider the website the face of your company body — how you present your face to the world makes a positive or negative impression on others.
There are about 30 million businesses in the United States alone, so you’re competing for consumers’ attention. The stronger your brand message, the more chance you have of staying at the forefront of the user’s mind and keeping their focus on you. Websites with strong branding tend to stand out in consumers’ memory.
Making the leap from just having a site to having a branded site isn’t easy. However, there are some simple branding strategies for websites that will keep your company in the spotlight and help turn visitors into customers.
1. Use Consistent Guidelines
A consistent appearance on each page of your website is vital so that the user doesn’t wonder if they’ve accidentally clicked away or stop to question who you are. You should also use the same style guidelines for your social media and print materials. Any place a user encounters your brand, they should see a similar aesthetic. The color palette must mesh with your logo while also offering enough contrast between background and text.
Of course, there are many finer details that also go into style guides, such as the size of images, orientation and even particular words, but for now, just get started with the basics so that you can ensure consistency throughout your site.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House uses a charcoal gray and red color palette that meshes nicely with a white background. The text appears in either white or black depending on the background, which makes the text pop. Because they use the same color consistently on every page of their site, in their printed material, in their restaurants and even on social media, there’s immediate recognition that the style belongs to the steak house.
2. Limit Information
Though it’s tempting to put every bit of information and background story you can on your website, you must also learn to limit the focus so the user isn’t overwhelmed with details.
What is your overreaching mission for your brand? The purpose tends to tie into why you started your company in the first place. Perhaps you want to serve great pizzas to local people at an affordable price. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to lose your purpose along the way, so defining it allows you to run every aspect of your website through the filter of your mission and figure out what elements need to stay and what needs to go.
3. Focus on Headlines
When a user first lands on your page, they form an impression in a few short seconds about your company. Your headlines are what grab the user and make them stay or leave. Keep your headlines short and to the point. Try to use action words and unusual phrasing that grabs the reader and draws them in.
Woodstock Power uses short phrases to capture the attention of the user. For example, their headline reads “We Have Options.” The user knows they can utilize that section to buy or sell generators. They also feature a call to action (CTA) at the top of the page that reads “Give Us a Call” and has their phone number.
4. Find Your Personality
Each business has a unique voice and personality. A gaming center has a fun, youthful vibe. A bank has a serious, trustworthy style. Whatever your voice as a brand is, make sure your website reflects that personality. You can show personality through the colors you use (pops of bright color are often seen as fun), in the overall design (retro, geometrical, etc.) and in the wording you use.
5. Offer Excellent Content
Most people visit a website because they’re looking for a solution to a problem or trying to gather information. Don’t force users to search for that information, but instead provide it in an easily digestible format.
Your content should reflect the look and tone of the rest of your website. If you run a banking website and take a serious tone on every page, don’t suddenly write an article about how to have fun with investing. That simply doesn’t match the tone of the rest of your site and may make you seem unreliable. Content should be well-researched and offer information users can’t find anywhere else.
Jergens has a fun vibe in all their promotional activities and focuses on adding some sunless color to your skin while moisturizing. They offer the opportunity to “Learn More” about each product line and do so with vibrant colors and fun images.
6. Look at Keywords
While the entire focus of your website shouldn’t be on keywords since they’re far less effective at improving a site’s ranking than in years past, you should have an idea of what keywords people search for when they’re looking for topics related to your industry. Plug a phrase into Google search and look at the “People Also Ask” section to see what kinds of questions people have about your business. You can then answer those questions for your site visitors.
7. Provide a UVP
What you offer to your customers that no one else offers is your unique value proposition (UVP). Make it clear to readers throughout their journey on your site what value they’ll receive from your brand and by navigating through that particular page. Use clear language that’s easy for anyone to understand rather than trying to find the fanciest words you can. Simplicity really drives user understanding.
Daily Harvest presents their advantage to the user with the words “We take care of food, so food can take care of you.” As you move through the different pages of the site, the message is repeated again.
8. Pay Attention to Trust Factors
Part of developing a brand image is letting your customers know that you’re reliable. A number of trust factors signal to users that they can rely on you to keep your word and give them an excellent customer experience (CX). For example, make your contact information easy to find, and offer customers multiple ways to contact you. Also, add any certifications or memberships you hold, such as with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Expand Your Market Share
Strong branding helps people recognize you instantly and can grow your customer base. Start with your website and ensure that it’s consistent and meets the needs of your audience. Once you’ve perfected your website, it’ll be easy to expand your branding into any marketing online or offline.
The way your website functions is as important as its aesthetics, so creating strong website branding is a mix of all the different elements of a site and not just one aspect. Go over every inch of your site with an eye toward branding, and consider the impact of each word and image through the eyes of your target audience. Such attention to detail will help grow your brand and solidify who you are.