If you think of some of the more iconic brands out there, they have a consistent look and feel, from their physical location (if they have one) to their website to their promotional collateral. Their brand conveys seamlessly across multiple mediums—painting their products and services in a light that customers have come to expect.
Apple® is a great example. Visit the Apple website. It’s clean, elegant, and easy to navigate—much like the very devices this company sells. If you visit any of the Apple stores, you’ll notice the same look and feel. There’s a synergy that makes customers both comfortable with and confident in doing business with this brand.
Granted, you’re probably not at the level of Apple. But if you already have an established brand, you could be on your way! Just think of your website as a dynamic extension of your company's logo and letterhead—a multipurpose vehicle for reflecting your company’s values and its aesthetics.
So, how do you begin?
Start by visiting the websites of your favorite brands. What stands out? Do those sites have a consistent theme with the brand’s other marketing efforts? Do they inspire you, or leave you wanting more?
Next, consider your own brand when you’re planning the content for your site. For specific considerations, see Pre-Planning Your Website. When you’re ready to start building your site, here are some things to consider:
Do you already have a logo? Pick colors that are complimentary to it. Think about the color palette that best represents your products and services and that reflects the way you want your business to make your customers feel. If you are in the creative field, for instance, you might choose bright and vibrant colors. A buttoned-up business setting, like a law firm, might call for more muted colors.
Once again, if you already have a specific font in your logo, use it on your site. If you are starting from scratch, stick to fonts that are easy to read; avoid fonts that are too fancy or script-like. Quick tip: bold linear fonts imply strength and trustworthiness. Play around with a few different fonts, and ask your friends and family members for their feedback, to help determine the best fonts for your online business presence. For insight about popular website fonts, see Commonly Used Font Combinations on w3schools.com.
Consider the amount of “whitespace”-- the empty space between the elements on your website page—in your page design. Like the colors and fonts you choose, the amount of whitespace you include on each page of your site helps to reflect the look and feel of your brand. Lots of whitespace tends to equate to a cleaner, more contemporary, even more relaxed design. Little whitespace – i.e. lots of images and texts covering the page—gives a busier, more frenetic feel. A good rule of thumb is to lean towards simplicity.
Branding your business website doesn’t have to be a complicated process. A little common sense and some research will go a long way. If you’ve already got a site and you want to look at it through fresh eyes for brand effectiveness, check out some tips in Ugh! Why Is My Website So Ugly?