If your company has an established brand platform template guiding all of your branding and marketing decisions, you may have noticed how pivotal your website is in the communication process. In this day, a website is your company’s image. It is where consumers go to learn about your company and ultimately decide if they want to purchase your products or services. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a company by their website.
Follow these 8 website branding guidelines to stay true to your brand:
Consistency creates familiarity, loyalty, and trust. This is a subconscious pattern that consumers notice, leaving them with a lasting impression that differentiates your company from your competitors.
Use the same style guide (colors, logo, fonts) on your website, as you do for all your brand properties including print, letterheads, business cards, advertisements, and social media profiles.
Choose images, graphics, and photography that align with your key message. IE: Can consumers easily identify and relate your marketing efforts with your website.
Having too much information on your website can create confusion for viewers. Simplicity is key, and delivering a clear message of who you are, alleviates confusion. Providing a direct message from your brand platform tells a story of who you are and the services you provide. Keep this simple, clear, and translatable.
Your site must focus on your brand’s marketing strategy as well as your visitor’s needs. Capture their interest by providing content that tells them how your company can improve their lives. Accomplish this by reflecting on the brand personality and messaging – educate visitors on what they receive by buying into your company. Engaging content can take the forms of text, blogs, videos, images, and products. The content should provide valuable information to visitors and make them want to share your website with their peers.
Website and Social Media channels move in a circular motion. If a visitor to one channel becomes interested, they may visit your other channel. Say I visit your website and become interested, but I want to know more about your company before I decide to contact you. I will click on your Social Media links and see what message you are sending, or I will visit your website if I have found you via Social Media. Many companies do not realize how important building social media exposure is. Links to these channels must be included and easily visible on your website. Your brand voice should be reflected through all channels and remain consistent.
Give your brand a voice by adding blog entries to your website. This section can inform your visitors about what your company is doing in the community, the latest media releases, new products, and services, or provide informational insights. If you have a blog, you can offer a subscription or newsletter for your visitors that informs them when something new is posted and drive more traffic to your website.
Use consistent keywords with both your SEO and content marketing campaigns to present a unified message across platforms. Choose words and phrases that align with your target audience that will help answer their questions and lead them to your website. With social media, you can incorporate these keywords into hashtags of each post so users can easily identify your company.
Keeping outdated information on your website can tell visitors your brand is not a reliable source. If you have an event or important time-stamped information to provide, it is best to update your website with the correlating information. Depending on the occurrence, this could be done on your blog or even on a specific landing page. When the date of events have passed, be sure to update this information to alleviate confusion and show you are on top of things.
You can have the most perfect website in the world, but it won’t bring leads to your company if there isn’t a way for anyone to contact you or your information is not correct. Make sure your visitors have a method to get in contact with you.
Branding can give your company the competitive edge to help grow sales, expand market share, and prevent commoditization, but without aligning this with your website, you will be losing value to your brand. Download our white paper for more examples for building a successful website or give us a call.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.