Starting a small business is a big undertaking.
Not only do you have to worry about the product or service you’re offering, but you also need to think about how you’re going to market your business.
You have to be unique and engaging. By being fundamentally different from your competition. And providing value for your audience.
Q. How do you showcase that difference and value?
A. With your branded website
A well-designed and optimized branded website can help you stand out from the competition and attract new customers.
In this blog post, I’ll share some tips for creating a branded website that will help your small business succeed online.
What is a branded website?
A branded website is a website that represents a specific brand or company. It promotes the brand and provides information about the products or services offered by the company.
It includes the brand logo, design, messaging, personality, and elements of thought leadership that highlight the expertise of the brand.
A branded website may also include features such as a blog or a forum.
You can get a branded website created and maintained by marketing or advertising agencies, or you can choose to create and maintain your own branded website.
Your branded websites should be an important part of the overall marketing strategy of your business. It can help to build brand awareness and create a positive image for the company.
Why do you need a branded website?
In today’s world, there is no doubt that you need a website to grow your business, especially if you have a small business with a zero or limited follower base.
Here are a few reasons why a website is still relevant and important in today’s world.
- Generate brand awareness
- Build visibility on search engines
- Share information
- Build brand love and equity
- Build credibility and trust
- Make your brand available 24 x 7
- Acquire endorsement
- Ensure optimum use of resources
- Generate leads
- Generate opportunities and sales
- Build brand professionalism
- Provide consumer and brand analytics
- Provide customer support
- Showcase your value
- Create personalized communication
Your branded website, in particular, can help to grow your brand in four ways:
1. Establishes your brand online
Your branded website can establish your brand online and build customer trust. Creating a professional website helps you control how customers perceive your brand.
A simple, modern design instills confidence in potential customers that you are running a legitimate business. You can also use your website to share information about your company culture, mission, and values.
2. Makes you stand out from your competition
Your branded website helps you stand out from your competition. You can completely customize it to your brand values and design, and present your information in a way that really talks to your specific target audience.
You can showcase your products and services in a way that is easy for potential customers to find and navigate.
3. Builds your thought leadership
Well-written content on your website showcases your expertise in your industry and establishes you as a thought leader. This is especially true if you include blog posts, infographics, or other forms of original content.
When customers see that you are an authority on your subject, they are more likely to do business with you.
4. Provides value to your audience, which increases brand engagement
Your branded website should do more than just present information about your company – it should help your audience. By creating helpful, informative, or otherwise valuable content, you can encourage your visitors to stick around and interact with your brand on a deeper level.
This could include signing up for a newsletter, following you on social media, or taking advantage of special offers.
This can lead to increased brand awareness and loyalty, as well as conversions and sales.
Essential characteristics of a powerful branded website
One key element of your marketing strategy should be your branded website. Your branded website is a critical part of your overall branding strategy.
Your branded website should be:
1. Clear and concise.
It should quickly and easily communicate what your business is all about.
2. Visually appealing and easy to navigate.
You want potential customers to stay on your site and explore all that you have to offer.
It should look great on all devices, from smartphones to laptops.
4. Search engine optimized
Potential customers should easily be able to find you when they’re looking online for the products or services that you offer.
5. Rich with content
Your website content should speak to your target audience. It should answer their questions and help them understand your expertise. Your branded website should also be updated regularly with fresh content to keep visitors coming back. A good way to do that is to create a website maintenance plan.
Your website visitors should be able to confidently enter their personal information without worry.
9 must-have elements to include in your small business branded website
Your branded website is a critical part of your overall branding strategy, and it’s important to make sure that it includes 9 key brand elements:
- Brand logo
- Brand imagery
- Brand promise
- Products/ service information
- About page
- Contact information
- SEO-friendly content
- Privacy and consent elements
1. Brand logo
One of the most distinctive elements of your brand is your logo. It is a design that people can remember easily as representing you, and that should be a key element of your brand.
It should be clearly visible on your site, ideally on every page.
It should ideally have a single neutral color background so it doesn’t get lost.
The best way to add your logo is on the top left corner of your website.
2. Brand visual identity
Make sure your branded website includes only the relevant colors for your brand.
That means all graphics, forms, and lead magnets should adhere to your core brand color palette and your brand kit.
Do not use a multitude of colors (unless your brand itself has a zillion colors, which it should not), to try to make your website design look more attractive.
Stick to the colors of your palette and use them creatively.
Here is an example of how the brand colors (green, black, and white) are used effectively on the Quick Sprout website.
3. Brand promise
The attention span of consumers is 8 seconds, less than that of a goldfish.
So when someone visits the branded website of your small business, it should be immediately clear what you do. What you promise to deliver.
It should be clear, upfront, and bold.
Your audience doesn’t have the time to search your website to hunt through your site to understand what your key brand message is.
It should not just be the first thing they see, like the homepage, your brand promise should be spread across in other subtle and indirect ways throughout your website.
See the homepage of this cleaning website. It’s a small business in the Netherlands.
It is not the best-looking website, for sure, but the brand promise is upfront and clear.
4. Product/ service information
Similar to your brand message, don’t let your audience work hard to find or understand your products/ services.
They should be very clearly detailed on your branded website.
Remember to always retain your brand tone of voice and other elements in your product information too.
5. About page
If you want to decide whether to be friends with someone or buy from them you want to know who they are, right?
How would you trust them otherwise? It’s the same for your small business website.About pages are crucial for your branded website to have credibility and win the trust of your audience. Click To Tweet
No matter what colors and products you add, especially as a small business, you need to let people know who you are.
What is it that drives you, what’s your purpose, your mission?
What do you intend to do with your business, what’s your story behind starting it? What makes you different?
You can just put all of this text up directly on your page, or get creative with it.
Here’s how an artist brand called Pigmentti does it.
First, they have the story on their website, along with pictures.
Then a detailed profile of both their artists.
Even if you put up information as basic as this, it’s fine. Just to let your audience know who you are.
And if you want to get creative with your about me pages, here are some examples.
6. Contact information
You can have a perfectly branded and attractive website.
But if people don’t know who you are and where you are based, they don’t contact you and you lose potential leads.
So give people a way to get in touch with you.
It is also always good to include your office address so that they know where you are based.
Pro tip: It is better to just have a contact form on your website. You can complement that with a landline telephone number.
To prevent spam, it is best to avoid putting your email address and mobile phone number here.
Also remember to use anti-spam software, like a plugin on WordPress, to prevent emails from bots.
Akismet is a good one.
7. SEO-friendly content
You want your branded website to help grow your small business, right?
Then you have to help people find it so you can get more traffic.
Help your audience know about your brand and visit you repeatedly as you provide them with tons of value.
Then you need content.
Not just any content, SEO-friendly content. Content that perfectly matches your brand, content that helps search engines find you and rank you for relevant searches done by your audience.
So besides your about page, contact page, and your offers, you also need other content. At least a blog with regular blog posts.
You can also make brand videos and podcasts, but a blog may be the easiest to start with because it doesn’t need any additional resources like a camera or microphone.
Just remember to implement the SEO writing methods for your branded website.
You always have to guide your website visitors to take an action.
It could be to buy products, download a lead magnet, subscribe to your email list, attend an event, share a piece of content…anything, as long as it drives them to engage and convert with you.
You have to help them through their journey on your website.
Otherwise, they just visit your site and leave, and those are all opportunities for leads that you lose.
9. Privacy and consent elements
You will grow your business best if the people who visit your branded website are your intended audience. If they engage and convert.
So you need their data.
You also may use this data to understand your audience more and even target them for marketing campaigns.
So firstly, you need to create a privacy page letting your visitors know how their data is managed.
Secondly, you need to get their permission to store their data. This is also a regulation in the European Union (GDPR).
Make your privacy page noindex and nofollow.
This means that search engines don’t have to waste their resources crawling this page because privacy pages don’t help in SEO.
How to create a branded website – step-by-step process
You cannot have a branded website if you don’t have a brand story or strategy.
You first need to know who you are and what you want to say. You need to know:
- What makes you different from your competition
- What do you look and talk like
- Why your audience should choose you
Then you put that on your website.Your brand is not your product. A branded website needs to state your story, engage your audience, and help grow your business. Click To Tweet
Step 1. Create your brand story
There are 3 steps to creating your brand story:
- Define your story
- Design your brand
- Craft your message
1. Define your story
In this part, you set up the core essential elements of your brand. So you develop:
- Market understanding
- Customer insights
- Brand purpose
- Brand mission statement
- Brand vision
- Unique value proposition
- Brand personality
- Brand promise
- Brand values
2. Design your brand
Now that you know what your brand stands for, you move on to the next part, which is designing your brand.
So you develop your core visual elements:
- Brand name
- Look and feel: Logo, typography, design elements, colors, stationery, etc.
- Brand tone of voice
You have 3 ways to build these design elements:
- Hire a professional designer
- Hire a freelancer from Fiverr
- Create them yourself with the Canva Brand Kit
If you have a limited budget, you can get started by using a logo maker to create a unique and professional logo. You can also hire a designer to design your logo as that is more permanent. For the rest, get someone from Fiverr if you need it to be done fast.
If you want to create everything yourself and want to play around and experiment, try out Canva for 30 days. It is really easy and simple to create all brand kits through that platform.
3. Craft your message
The 3rd part of creating your brand story is to craft your brand messaging.
So you develop:
- Brand Message
- The full brand story
You can get a complete guide to creating your brand story for free through the form below.
Get a FREE, detailed guide to creating your brand story
Step 2. Design your branded website
Now that your brand is all designed and you know what communication you need to create, it is time to put all that on your website.
These are the steps you can follow:
1. Define your website objectives
Decide what you want to achieve with your branded website. Why do you want a website, what kind of information would you like to share with it?
Set SMART goals if possible.
2. Buy a domain name
Choose a branded domain name for your website. The cheapest prices are on Namecheap, starting at 99 cents.
3. Set up your site with a website host.
For high-quality hosting, Siteground is better.
4. Choose a website platform and theme for your branded website
If you are a beginner, you can try out content management systems like Wix, Shopify, or WordPress.
If you like a lot of flexibility and customization options, WordPress would be the best.
Then just choose a theme (+ page builder) for your website.
Choose a theme that perfectly matches your brand needs.
Look at the available layouts and customization options, and choose one that suits your needs the best. Envato Elements have some very popular ones that offer a lot of customizations.
5. Upload your brand identity
Once you have set up your branded website, you need to start customizing it.
The first step is to include your essential brand elements.
If you are using WordPress, go to Dashboard -> Appearance -> Customize-> Site identity.
And upload the following elements:
- Site name
- Site tagline
6. Apply your brand design to your website
Next up is to set a few basic templates for your website:
- Text color
- Links color
- Text font
- Heading font & color
You can also add more default fonts and colors for all types of text.
So whenever you create text, links, etc., the default settings will automatically be applied.
This will also be found in your WordPress -> Appearance -> Customize menu.
If you use a page builder like Elementor, you can just go to the site settings and see all the customization options there.
7. Add your brand message and information
It is now time to upload all your brand content.
- Design the homepage with your brand story details like your brand promise and tagline
- Upload information about your products/ services
- Create all your other pages with your brand story like your about me page(s)
Step 3. Optimize your branded website
So by now, you have a nice website that reflects your brand.
The last step now, which is more of an ongoing step, really, is to optimize it with content creation and on-page SEO.
You can also hire an agency to do your SEO, or you do it yourself. You need to combine with a content strategy which includes 7 steps :
1. Set your content goals
Some common goals, especially for a new website, could be:
- Build brand awareness
- Get website traffic
- Generate leads
- Kickstart/ boost SEO
Know what exactly you want to achieve with your branded website, create your SEO strategy, so you can upload content that helps you achieve them.
2. Identify your content topics
When we talk about content marketing and SEO, a common assumption is that we have to start with keywords.
Keywords are a second step.
Then identify all the keywords with a keyword tool like Semrush that would be relevant to those topics.
Create content for your branded website targeting those keywords, and optimize them for SEO.
Follow the topic cluster model.
- Create one pillar page of content with a more generic focus keyword, for a topic you want to rank for.
- Create small pieces of content targeting more specific, long-tail keywords.
- Link out your pillar page to all these specific posts.
This helps Google establish you as an expert on the topic you chose.
Which is the whole point of having a branded website, to rank high for your brand topic.
3. Post regular content
It is not so relevant if you publish one piece of content a week or three.
If you create one high-quality one, that’s also great. What matters is that you create it regularly.
Not like 3 a week then none for 3 months. Take it slow, but be consistent.
4. Add internal links
One important aspect of boosting SEO is to add internal links within your website.
You can link between posts only, and also between posts and pages to help search engines find and rank your content.
A fantastic tool to help with this internal linking is Link Whisper. Saves me hundreds of hours!
5. Distribute your content
As a final step, remember to share and distribute your content amply to get more visitors to your site.
Additionally, try to get backlinks from related websites as well.
But that is a time-consuming project. Get started with your branded website first, then work on your backlink outreach.
6. Perfect your on-page SEO
Optimize all aspects of your small business website for traffic andwith on-page SEO tactics like adding meta tags, adding keywords in heading tags and alt text, etc.
An SEO tool comes in very handy when working on all your SEO elements, from keyword research to on-page optimization.
Get a free content template to start creating content for your small business website.
If your small business is mostly selling locally, it is also a good idea to optimize your site to be found in local searches. Then you need to implement some local SEO techniques on your website.
7. Maintain your website SEO
It is not enough to simply create your brand websste. You have to always keep it fresh and relevant with your content, and also make periodic checks on your SEO to maintain it.
Website branding tips
Here are some tips to design your perfect branded website:
1. Build a smooth site architecture
Before you build your website, get clear on your site navigation. The visitor should be able to move between different elements easily.
2. Create branded headers and footers
Create subdirectories whenever possible, for all your content, and arrange them neatly in your site menus.
Create different menus for your header and footer and brand the latter with your colors and fonts.
3. Create simple URL structures
Good SEO practice is to have short and direct URL structures. You can use categories and subcategories in your permalinks, but try to keep it as simple and easy as possible.
Read more about the qualities of a good website.
3. Ensure your website is responsive
Mobile may account for almost 50% of your web traffic, if not more.
So make sure your website displays properly across all devices.
5. Try to rank for topics, not keywords
As mentioned above, don’t get all hung up only on keywords. Think about topics related to your brand, and try to optimize your website for those.
6. Ensure brand consistency throughout the site
Your branded website should look the same on all pages and posts. It should have the same colors, fonts, and design elements.
That’s why defining the brand template before working on all website elements is helpful.
All your web content should also have the same tone of voice.
7. Prioritize the user experience
Make your website user-friendly. No one wants to spend time on a website that loads slowly, is hard to navigate, or is full of ads.
Keep it simple and attractive.
8. Track your progress
Keep track of your website, content, and SEO with tools like Google Analytics. It will let you know which pages are doing well, and which could do better.
Those were my tips on how to create a powerful branded website for your small business. You can also check out my post on what to include in your small business website checklist and how to update a website.
Did you use these methods to create yours? Do you have any tips to add?
Would love to hear from you in the comments.