What is branding? Simply put, the ideas and images associated with you. But it’s not just the logo, the colors and the fonts…
Branding your business helps you develop a relationship with your potential and current customers by helping them understand your business’s personality, products and/or services. By developing a brand that people feel they know and understand, you can start to compete with other businesses in a whole new way. You can compete based on the intrinsic value of your products and services rather than simply the cost of them.
One of the best things you can do when marketing your business is to have a perfectly branded website where all your marketing efforts begin and end. Just throwing up any type of website will not do your business any favors. In fact, a poorly designed website can actually harm your business and the image your customers have of it. To ensure that you have a perfectly branded website, follow these steps.
- Choose Your Domain Name Wisely
If you already have a name for your business, your domain name could match it. I recommend you try your personal name first. That way, if you change your products or services down the road you won’t have to start over. If you cannot purchase your name consider using keywords or keyword phrases that match what you do in your business.
- Find a Reliable Hosting Service
While this may not seem to have anything to do with your brand, it does. You want your hosting company to be super reliable so that your website does not have much, if any, down time. Most people will not give you another chance. If they click through some advertising and end up on an error page due to the fact that your website has crashed or is “down,” they probably won’t come back.
- Design User-Friendly Navigation
No one likes going to a website and being unable to find what they are looking for. Make it easy for your visitors to find everything on your website by having multiple types of navigation, and multiple ways to contact you. Remember, what looks easy to you may not be easy to your audience. Seek feedback from others as you improve your website’s navigation.
- Create an Attractive Layout
The layout of your website should be pleasing to the eye, match your other marketing materials and evoke the emotions you want it to based on your brand’s image. It should also work on multiple devices. Remember that more and more people are using mobile devices to look at websites today. If your site is not built as a responsive website, you are wasting your time! Don’t build two different sites, mobile and regular; build one site that works across all browsers and browser sizes.
- Blog Regularly and with Purpose
It’s not enough to just have a blog that you update frequently. Now, you need a blog that has targeted information relating to your business written toward your targeted audience. The blog posts should be smart, unique, and speak to your audience as well as use keywords that attract search engine traffic.
- Keep Information Updated
Aside from a blog that is updated on a regular basis, it is important that other information on your website is also kept updated. If you had a contest three months ago, you don’t want to keep the announcement of the contest “coming soon” on the top of the page.
It’s also important to keep promoting your blog/website via your social media accounts and other avenues. The more you promote it, the more likely you are to want to keep it current. You should be proud of your website, and use it as part of your marketing plan.
Any type of marketing done online should include your blog or website – whether it’s to go to the site to fill out a form, to read a blog post, to watch a video, to sign up for a prize, or to buy something. The website is the hub where all other marketing efforts live.