Creating a new website is an exciting time. It’s your opportunity to show the world who you are and what you stand for, and you get to choose exactly how it looks! But, if you’re new to web design, that can leave you frozen with uncertainty. After all, your site is often your most significant online presence, where all your other marketing campaigns lead, and what the public uses to form a perception of your brand! However, that’s what makes building your own site such a great opportunity. You’re in control! All you have to do is infuse it with your brand identity and use specific design strategies to ensure your website connects emotionally with your target audience. To help you make that happen, we’ve compiled an 8-step branding checklist for new websites for you to use before going live.
Branding Checklist – #1 Craft an Engaging About Page
The about page is where visitors to your website get to meet you, where you tell them your story and introduce them to your brand’s personality. Most importantly, it’s your opportunity to form their perception of your brand and control how they’ll feel and think about it. It’s here that you share with people why you started your business, what you aim to achieve, and how you’re achieving it.
So, what’s your story? It could be a personal reason you created a specific product, your business values, how you source your products, or a charity you support. When you give your brand a unique identity, you instantly humanize it, connecting with viewers on emotional levels, making it far easier to engage and convert them. Whatever the brand story you tell, ensure you use it consistently throughout all your marketing campaigns. Today’s online consumers expect brands to be authentic and quickly turn away from those that aren’t.
#2 Add a Logo and Tagline
Your logo is an essential element of our branding checklist. It is the first impression, your friendly smile, the face of your brand, and as it only takes 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for people to form an opinion about your website, it has a heavy load to carry. A logo builds an instant connection with visitors to your website on numerous emotional levels depending on the shape, color, fonts, and images. They can make us feel excited or nostalgic and drive us to choose one brand over another.
And brands often spend vast amounts when creating their logo design to ensure their logo packs a punch. However, if you’re reading this and think you need to spend hundreds or thousands on a logo, don’t worry. Professional logo design has become more affordable with the advent of logo maker designers and design marketing places. When creating your logo, consider adding a catchy tagline. They’re an excellent strategy for highlighting your brand’s personality and ensuring consumers remember you. Think of L’Oréal “Because You’re Worth It,” Nike’s “just do it,” and De Beers “A Diamond is Forever.” We all know them!
Your logo has to be incredibly versatile and work on your website, social avatar, email signature, and on every piece of branding merchandise you use. When designing it, use industry-related colors, fonts, and images, and ensure simplicity and readability by using no more than three colors and two fonts.
Branding Checklist – #3 Infuse Your Brand Colors
Your brand’s color palette should be infused into your website’s theme to create consistency, recognition, and brand loyalty. According to a Reboot 2018 survey, using a brand signature color can “increase brand recognition by 80 percent“. You only have to think of Facebook, YouTube, or the Google color palette to understand how vital brand colors are. Did you visualize the Facebook blue? YouTube red? Goggle’s blue, green, yellow, and red? If so, it’s because colors connect with us on deep emotional levels, meaning we remember them.
Things you need to know about your brands color palette:
- The colors you choose will determine how people perceive your brand.
- The color palette you select will elicit specific emotions and behaviors from viewers.
To select the right colors, consider your brand’s personality and relating emotions. Is your brand energetic, sincere, optimistic, serious, or fun? When you have an adjective that describes your brand, use a palette that matches and transmits it. When you have the perfect palette, choose no more than four colors. One for your font, a primary, and two accent colors. Also, it’s essential to see what colors your competitors are using. Often you’ll find particular ones that work well in your marketplace. But you might also find overused colors. Avoid these. Otherwise, you won’t stand out.
#4 Integrate Social Buttons
While your website is often your primary online presence, your social media accounts are an extension of your business, essential for increasing brand awareness and driving organic traffic. You ensure they support one another by making it easy for people to access your social media channels by integrating all your social media buttons into your website and linking all your channels back to your site. Websites that display social media widgets are proven to have higher engagement rates as they provide visitors with a way of reaching out to you. And the more you interact by answering questions and providing helpful and interesting information, the quicker you’ll establish your brand.
The perfect placement for social media icons on your website:
- To take advantage of how we naturally read, place your buttons on the top left side of your page.
- And put icons at the top of your posts as 60% of online content is shared before it’s read!
Branding Checklist – #5 Highlight Your UVP
Your UVP (unique value proposition) is your brand’s why for existing, how you stand out from your competitors, show the world that your brand’s unique, and convince consumers to choose you. You highlight your UVP through your content. Your content is everything you put online, from images, infographics, videos, to written content, and it must support the message your brand conveys.
If your UVP is excellent customer service or a firm belief in only using sustainable products, then it should be in your content. You must also live up to your word as according to a 2019 Stackla report. “86 percent of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support”. Consistency is again crucial. If consumers see opposing content styles on your social media accounts as they do on your website, they’ll fail to recognize your brand and connect.
#6 Create a Brand Style Guide
You ensure consistency throughout your website and other branding strategies by creating a brand style guide. Your brand style exists to support you and simplify what can often be confusing for new businesses. It should contain every design element of your company’s branding and document the objectives and expectations of how and where you’re using them, from blog posts to office spaces and presentations to business cards.
You use a brand style guide to answer questions like:
- Your brand story – It’s mission, vision, and core values.
- Your logo guidelines – Logo sizes, acceptable color variations, and clear space rule.
- Brand color palette – Which colors you use where.
- The HEX values of your chosen colors – Their color chart codes.
- Your brand’s style of voice and writing – Serious and formal or informal and fun.
By answering these essential questions, you pre-equip yourself with a reliable reference guide, one you can use to create an effective marketing strategy that strengthens your brand image.
#7 Choose Font Style and Typography
Your font style and typography should align with your brand’s look and feel. It’s because every marketplace and target audience uses a distinct language style, and your brand’s style is determined by the fonts and typography you use. There are some cool font tools that can you help you with this.
The style you choose must be readable throughout your websites, such as a sans serif for body content and a clean script font for titles. When loading your content, check that the H1, H2, and H3 you’ve chosen for your titles and subheadings and your content body fonts are the same throughout, as most themes will have a preset font that will need updating. You can reinforce your brand recognition even further by using the fonts you used for your logo on your website. Just ensure they’re readable on every screen size, especially mobile devices.
Branding Checklist – #8 Have Your Content Plan Ready
The only way you can engage your audience and ensure they fall in love with your brand is to talk and write about their wants, needs, and interests and provide actionable help in solving their pain points. It’s because consumers are no longer interested in traditional advertising. They want and expect relevant content to serve them, not the brand. To show people your brand is there for them, your website and every other platform you use must get continuous updates with engaging content that contains a consistent message and purpose. That’s where your content plan comes into play.
Before you start publishing, spend time creating content you know your audience’s wants and needs, choosing your voice and a theme that resonates with your brand identity, speaking your audience’s language, and using it throughout everything you post.