Check out these five ways to brand your website so that you can consistently communicate with your audience and showcase your brand’s personality!
When you hand someone a business card at a networking event, I’m willing to bet it includes your website URL. When you’re marketing yourself in a Facebook group, more often than not, you’re sending them to your website. When someone goes to Google and searches for your services, they’re led to your… WEBSITE.
So with that in mind, does your website reflect your brand?
Remember, your brand is how people think, feel about your business’s identity. From that perspective, how does your website perform in regards to how you want people to think, feel and act?
Friends, you don’t have to hire a professional designer to create a website that showcases your brand and your personality. Here are five simple and easy ways to brand your website.
Big picture: the purpose of your website in your overall brand strategy
Before we dive into the five tips, let’s dig a little deeper into the purpose of having a website in the first place. As a service provider, your website is your digital resume. It’s where you send people who want to learn more about you, your business and your offerings.
This is where brand strategy comes into play.
Sidenote: your brand strategy is the communication plan for your brand.
When you understand your brand basics, your website is the perfect vehicle for communicating that foundation. Meaning, your website should tell the story of who you want to serve, why your work matters, how you want people to feel and what you have to offer. And when it does this effectively, your website actually supports you in reaching your business goals.
So, this brings us to the purpose of today’s post: how do you improve your website so it clearly represents your brand strategy?
How to brand your website
Looking for the number one way to transform your website in a way that aligns with your visual brand and supports your brand story? Invest in brand photos. Friends, I cannot tell you how impactful brand photography can be to your website. You don’t need a lot – just a few strategically placed pictures are enough.
And before you say that you can’t afford it, let me be clear: you don’t have to hire a professional photographer.
Would that be ideal? Absolutely.
But if that’s holding you back from showing yourself on your site, it’s time to scrap the excuse. I’m willing to bet your phone has a pretty great camera and you have access to either a tripod and/or a spouse/friend/bystander. Snap a few pics, make sure your editing is consistent and add them to your site. I promise it’s worth the effort.
By showing YOU and how you work, you’re pulling back the curtain, creating consistency, being unique and building trust. Plus, it looks a little more professional than a free stock photo everyone else has access to.
Color Palette & Font Selection
Take five minutes and do a once-over of your site’s colors and font choices. What did you use for your buttons, link text, heading text and any other pull-quotes or highlighted sections? Is it consistent on each page?
If your site feels disconnected and/or not cohesive, chances are the colors and fonts are all over the place.
If you don’t have a brand style guide, your first order of business is to create one. Pick a color palette (five to six colors at most) and stick to them. Select your fonts and again, stick to them.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, add in a standard for your headings, buttons, background colors/textures and link text. This doesn’t mean every element needs to be the same exact color and font every time, but rather, it needs to be consistent.
For example, the main CTA button in the header is ALWAYS blue with Source Sans Pro and the remainder of the buttons on that page are red with Open Sans. Yes, they’re different from each other, but they’re the same for that specific use-case.
Tone of Voice
Okay, picture this. You receive a text from a client and they say, “Thanks. I’ll be in touch soon.” What tone of voice do you read that in? On the flip side, you get a similar statement from a different client that reads, “Thank you so much! I’ll get back to you as soon as tomorrow.”
Different tone of voice and feeling, right? The first sounds a little more serious, straightforward and not as welcoming. The second is friendly, high energy and approachable. Neither one is right or wrong but they do evoke different feelings.
The same is true of your website copy. There is no right or wrong tone to have in your writing – the point is to be consistent and clear. If your brand tone is snarky, short and polarizing, go all in on that. Or, if your brand tone is bubbly, energizing and fun, stick to it.
Think about how you communicate as an every-day person. Then, ask yourself how you want people to feel when they communicate with your brand. Write down four or five words that describe the communication style and go with it.
Audit your website and make sure that voice is consistent on every page. You don’t necessarily have to use the same words – punctuation and layout can do a lot to convey tone. Periods, commas, spaces, semicolons… you get the picture.
Customized and personalized graphics are a great way to add personality to your site. Especially if you’re using a template (hey, no shame in that game!).
Yes, this last way to brand your website is a little more time consuming but the payoff is worth the effort. Think patterns, graphic elements, custom banners and blog post graphics.They can go a long way to adding a custom look and feel to your site, especially if you’re working from a template.
Adding your brand into your site can be a little bit of a tedious process, but the result is a consistent, clear and cohesive site. If your website is the digital equivalent of your resume, why wouldn’t you want to put in the time and effort to make it look its best?
If the overwhelm is starting to creep in as you read through this list, just breathe and pick one item. Also, remember that your site is constantly going to experience change – similar to your brand, it’s an evolving process. As your brand evolves, so will your website. And as you learn what’s working and what’s not, you’ll be able to implement the right things into your site.
Friends, you got this and as always, happy branding 🙂
All my best,
Need help creating a color palette for your visual brand? Check out this post.
If you’re looking for a template to create your own brand style guide, and a tutorial walking you through the process, click here.
Ready to take your own brand photos? This post walks through the photography basics.