Giving your website a unique brand.
What is branding? Simply put, a brand is a combination of many factors coming together harmoniously to form a singular image. To put it even simpler: Brand = Image (the image you are presenting to the world). Therefore puting emphasis on brand can help you tremendously in getting you message and purpose across clearly.
Designing your website with a unique brand is what will help your visitors remember your site, and recognize it when stumbling upon it in the future. This gives them a feeling of familiarity which in turn helps you overturn stumbling visitors to fan based members. Simply said, you will gain more traffic and build a following more easily if you are recognizable at a glance and memorable to new users, especially stumblers. Having a brand which is unique and easily recognizable also allows other sites to link to you more easily as well as greater chances of viral recognition. Many factors go into branding your site but what is important above all factors is to remain consistent throughout your site, allowing the user to get a clear picture of what you are about and how you are best represented. To demonstrate, alll you have to do is look at the bottom of this page where we include icons linking to our social media accounts. These three icons are instantly and globally recognized all throughout the web. Facebook's lower cased "F" in white and blue. Twitters tweeting bird, and Youtube's red and white colors. All of these minor factors represent a larger picture of each site's overall brand. Let's go ahead an break down some of the factors involved in website branding and get a clearer picture of how we approach each site's initial design.
Choosing a domain name which is easy to remember and easy to spell.
This may come off as extremely obvious and yet is surprisingly neglected over and over again. We're not saying it has to be short, although that does help the user remember you more easily. We're mostly saying it shouldn't be too complicated to pronounce and more importantly it should be easy to spell. Having a complicated domain name only leads to users forgetting how to get to you and more importantly on how to share your site with others offline. Don't forget that offline marketing plays a huge role still in your website's exposure.
So choose a domain name wisely. Make it catchy and relevant to the site's content. Our site is easily told over by saying it's Design and Marceting spelled with a C instead of a K. This not only is easy to remember but is also extremely relevant to the site's content and also gives the user a story with the name, which helps with short term memory.
The style of your site's design, the style of the logo, and the style of writing all fall under this category. Choose what style your product or service is about and build your site's overall style based on that. What emotion are you trying to impress on your audience? All styles have the ability to invoke some feeling witihn the viewer so choose wisely. Most importantly, however, is to remain consistent throughout. This includes onsite and offsite. This will only strengthen your brand's recognition and embed the memory of you in your targeted audience's memory bank.
Color is a major factor in a site's overall brand. This is the key identifier along with shape and font type. Above all, the user will be able to identify whether they are on your website by the color palette of your site. So give your site a palette of chosen colors. Make sure they work together, as this adds harmony to your site's overall brand. If you want to get into the psychology of the effects colors have on their viewer be my guest. We can, however, easily test and see what emotion certain colors invoke within us without getting too deep into it. We, for example have chosen light and simple colors to add a feeling of simplicity and calm to our visitors. This is entirely up to you. Just remember to stay consistent throughout your site. If you assign a certain color to an element, make sure you keep that color throughout. Asign colors respectively so the viewer isn't confused and can easily identify what is what and what it has to offer.
A logo is like the brand within your brand. It represents you in one single image. This is what will be used throughout when marketing and advertising your site. It's important that it contains your site's main color as well as coincides with the style of your site. It should be unique and easily remembered. It is definitely a bonus if you get clever with the design and embed some hidden messages. This, once discovered will always make a big impression and never be forgotten. Take the Fedex arrow, for example. Some go years without realizing it, but once they become aware, they never forget it.
Also consider an abbreviated version of your logo. This is important if your logo fit well into a square. The reason is that many sites who might want to embed your signature brand on to their sites, don't want to allocate an entire rectangular area for you, but would prefer rather to have an icon representing you. Having a recognizable icon logo that matches the previously mentioned amenities is definitely a huge plus. Consider Facebook's logo and their lower case f icon. They both represent Facebook's color and both easily distinguishable as being Facebook.
The layout of your site we have broken down into two parts. The first part is the structural layout and positioning of page elements, and the second is the order and choice of pages. First let's talk about page structure. This includes the position of your logo, navigation menu, main body text, footer, search bar, and any other elements you may include. It is important to make sure each page is composed in an artistically functioning manner, giving the pages an easily flowing structure and not creating confusion for the visitor. This includes making the navigation easy to comprehend, making sure the logo is recognized for what it is and most importantly to remain consistent throughout the entire website. The overall layout will obviously change from page to page but it is important to keep a consistent overall flow to each website so the visitor can easily comprehend the site's functionality and navigation. If the visitor cannot understand where things are located and how to navigate, don't expect them to stay for too long. Make it easy and artistically attractive and the visitors will come back for more.
The second factor of layout is choice o pages and their order of appearance. Consider this as important as having you enter into a hallway as opposed to your bedroom when entering your house. You may have a bedroom and that may even be the place you intend to end up but you need to make introductions in the hallway or living room at first. The same goes for the order of your web pages. Don't have the home page be your contact page, or your list of services. You may include those but they should not be the entrance. You want an introductory. A synopsis of what the site is about and links leading towards the bedroom with descriptions enticing the user to follow them. Also make sure your navigation menu lists your website's pages according to hierarchy. If you have many different services, maybe create a submenu under services. Categorize and organize accordingly to give the visitor an easy experience. You want them to feel comfortable. Entice them towards the bedroom, don't force them.
A slogan can add alot to a brand's recognition. Nike's famous just do it is a prime example of a slogan which is used throughout many socieites and is recognizable as a brand's signature. Just make sure it is relevant to your website's main purpose. This will give your visitor a preview of what your site is about without having to discover it themselves. Having one that is catchy and easy to remember will only help to embed your website into the visitor's memory and help you become a familiar site to them.