Web Design: Representing Your Brand
A well-branded website can be vital to your company’s online presence. A good brand is a symbol of everything your company or organization stands for, and becomes a means of setting customer expectations and creating a positive experience for users, so they will retain a memory of your brand and revisit it often.
A good brand is memorable, unique and omnipresent throughout your advertising media, and this includes your websites. Your name, logo and positioning statement is just the beginning; they are only the first steps in a much longer journey to brand success. Here are some important things you may want to consider when it comes to your website brand:
Choosing the right color is an important first step in your website’s branding. Color has been proven to have a psychological effect on a viewer’s emotions and memory, so choosing a color that sends the right “message” can be every bit as vital as the message itself. For example, the colors for Cancer Research UK’s website are clean and professional without being cold or sterile. The soft pinks and blues of the page add a nurturing, hopeful element to the page. In addition, both pink and blue have been proven to have a calming effect upon initial exposure. The right color branding should create an atmosphere and an environment for the user; one they will find pleasant and want to return to often.
Good branding should be applied consistently throughout your website, not only for the sake of aesthetic appeal, but because consistency means repetition, and repetition will build your brand in a user’s memory. Keeping a uniform image is one of the easiest ways to make your brand memorable. Consistency not only applies to color, but also layout, iconography, and re-using content such as positioning statements. Apple, for example, one of the most recognizable brands on the planet, maintains a consistent feel between their website and the user interfaces of its products.
Ubiquity and Positioning
Consistency also means that good website design should re-use and re-purpose elements whenever possible, including logos, graphics, and any visual elements that reflect your company’s brand and message. Good branding should also keep in mind where a user will look first when visiting your website — for example, most websites place their company logo on the upper left of the page, simply because that’s where most users look first when visiting a website. Utilities such as Crazyegg allow website owners to “heat map” their sites and find out where users are looking and clicking.
Value and Tone
Good website branding means putting forth the value of your website clearly and immediately. You want visitors to enjoy your brand, and feel comfortable on every part of your website; lowering the bounce rate. Keeping a consistent and appropriate tone is critical to maintaining the integrity of your brand — a company that characterizes itself by whimsy and fun (like Disney Parks, for example) should have a welcoming, light-hearted tone, while more serious companies or organizations should alter their tone as appropriate. In both cases however, the aim is to keep the viewer from bouncing off to another site. Implement informative guides, interactive games, or even quizzes to engage them and provide them with freebies associated with your brand; leaving a lasting memory.
Above all, a good website brand must be constantly monitored and maintained. Branding can easily become outdated, and an integral part of good website design is keeping track of trends and changing with the times. Online tools like Social Mention, Google Alerts, and Klout can help keep designers and organizations abreast of how well their online reputation and branding is doing.
Author: Jenny Ann Beswick has a passion for social media, technology, and innovation and supports many fundraising campaigns for the charity giving to CRUK events. Jen feels it is important for brands to deliver visitors a unique experience to raise awareness, do you agree?