- Effective websites clearly align with and express the business’s brand identity.
- Good web design limits itself to a few colors and typefaces that suit the brand.
- UX is crucial to the overall brand experience.
Your website needs to pull a lot of weight. It must be optimized to attract and convert leads, provide information about your business, and look modern and professional. While all these elements are important, they depend on a uniting force: your brand. A good website is not only internally consistent but also a cohesive part of your overall brand presence. Any discrepancies can damage consumer trust and lead to lost conversions and sales.
With that in mind, let’s look at how each aspect of your website supports your brand and how you can optimize your design and content.
Your Domain And Site Title
A domain constitutes your site’s base URL. It’s what visitors see in their browser’s address bar. Ideally, it matches your business name with the standard .com suffix. If you choose a different suffix such as .co or .io, be sure that it suits your brand. Often, these alternative suffixes become part of the brand’s name such as for the company Postach.io.
The domain name should align with your site’s title, which in turn should reflect your brand name. Some business owners register domains for their brand’s taglines or other key phrases. However, this approach is risky. Most consumers will expect a domain that looks like YourBusinessName.com. Deviating from that could be confusing.
In short, no one should be wondering what your business’s actual name is. The best strategy is to align your domain name, site title, and brand name as closely as possible.
Your Look And Feel
Just as it sounds, look and feel describes the overall visual experience of your website. This includes colors, typography, header photos, icons, graphic elements, menu design, and much more. Each page of your website should complement the others, giving visitors a seamless experience as they browse the site.
To make its best impact, your website’s visual elements should be both consistent and limited. This means choosing no more than three typefaces, using the same few colors throughout the site, and keeping images similar in style, tone, and hue. Your site’s visual identity should mirror your brand’s overall color palette and image style.
For example, McDonalds’ website consistently uses a yellow color to match its famous Golden Arches, and all the photos have golden hues in their lighting, backgrounds, and subjects. The typefaces match what you would see when you visit a McDonalds’. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this website is the official McDonalds’ site.
User experience, or UX for short, is the total way that people move throughout your website. This plays a big role in how your business will be perceived. Remember, your brand is what people say about you, so it’s important to create a UX that shapes their expectations and matches your values.
Good UX is always intuitive and user friendly. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Do you want your website to be immersive and lush with a deep sense of community, like luxury clothing brand Anthropologie does on its site? Or do you want to keep things zippy and action oriented like Anthropologie’s discount competitor Forever 21? The first site presents users with close knit design, huge photos, and value driven content, while the second is basically a stack of sales banners, encouraging the visitor to snap up some deals. Neither approach is wrong. They’re both appropriate for their respective brand.
Take some time to develop your UX and your user flows. Your goal should be to quickly deliver your target audience the information they need, but also invite them to spend time on your site. Everything from the amount of content on each page to how easily people can jump from page to page makes a big difference in their experience.
Your Business Information
The more details you can provide about your business, the more visitors will trust you. Today’s consumers have been burned by scam companies and fraudulent activity online. Give them a way to verify that you are who you say you are. Even including your physical address and contact info in your site’s footer goes a long way toward building consumer confidence.
Show the faces behind your business. Rather than relying on glossy stock images to illustrate your team, use authentic photos. List your executives’ and employees’ names and let visitors get to know them. Share your business’s mission and values, and let those drive the overall design and content of your site.
Without content, even the prettiest, most user friendly website is pointless. But not all content is made alike. The best webpage copy is optimized for search engines yet highly readable for humans.
Also, the voice and tone you use should reflect your brand. Imagine if the product descriptions on Dolce & Gabbana’s website were sassy and abrupt rather than sophisticated and poetic. Or if Taco Bell’s website used flowery language and long paragraphs rather than punchy, festive copy. If you imagine your brand as a personality, it’s much easier to write copy that sounds like its true voice.
Most importantly, talk directly to your reader rather than using stuffy, company oriented language. The more conversational you are, the more likely your visitor is to perceive you as credible.
All these elements help make your website a powerful, cohesive brand presence. Make sure that you let them work together. Use the right colors and typography to match your copy’s tone, and align your content’s length and density to the layout. For example, a casual, fun brand probably has a brightly colored website with lots of short pieces of text, while a luxurious, elegant brand likely uses darker colors and longer sentences. Above all else, keep your site user friendly, accessible, and cohesive with your overall brand presence.