Website Branding: The 5 Essential Elements You Need

Website Branding: The 5 Essential Elements You Need

Website branding is both simple and nuanced.  There are some basic elements that every website should have in order to support the identity and niche of your blog or online business.  Once you identify those essential elements, it’s up to you how you choose to design them.

Creating the branding for your website is a lot like building the wardrobe in your closet.  Just like a stylist would tell you that every woman needs a Little Black Dress or the perfect-fitting pair of jeans, a web designer will tell you that every website needs a few key pieces to complete your branding collection.

Website Branding:  The 5 Essential Elements You Need

1. Color Palette

Sample Color Palette

When I’m designing a website branding package like the premade kits in my Etsy shop, I usually start by choosing the color palette.  This gives me a better idea of the overall look and feel for the total brand.  Most website color palettes include five to seven shades (including a shade of white and black).  

In general, it’s good to have a combination of light and dark shades in your color palette.  For the sake of this article, we won’t go too deeply into color theory. Just remember that your color palette should have the following:

  • 2 darker shades that ere easy to read on a white screen
  • A fun accent color that really pops (great for hyperlinks, eye-catching buttons and call-to-action sections)
  • 1-2 light colors that can be used to break up large sections of white screens

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  I’ve seen websites that are completely designed in black and white and they looked super chic.  I’ve also seen monochromatic palettes where everything is made up of several shades of pink.

2. Font Choices

Sample Fonts

Picking the fonts for your website branding package can be really fun once you understand the way fonts express certain moods and feelings.

There are four main types of fonts that most web designers will choose from:

  • Serif:  Recognizable by the little feet on the letters, serif fonts evoke classic and traditional design.  They are perfect for titles or headers and large blocks of text.
  • Sans Serif: Meaning “without serif,” Sans Serif fonts are have clean, minimal and modern lines.  They are also perfect for titles/headers and large blocks of text.
  • Display: These fonts are very stylized, like something you might find in a sci-fi logo or Broadway marquee.  They should be used sparingly as a logo only and not for large blocks of text.
  • Scripts: These fonts look like handwritten lettering or cursive.  They can add a very personal touch. Like display fonts, they are meant to be used sparingly.

Font Pairing is a major trend in website branding.  That means picking two fonts that work well together.  For example, you could pick a serif font for your headers and titles, and pair it with a sans-serif for your paragraph texts.  

Lately font pairings have expanded into trios, and web designers will add a third font (usually a script or display) that can be used sparingly as an accent.

A free tool like Google Fonts [insert link] is a perfect place to search through hundreds of fonts.  They also include recommendations for pairings.

3. Header Logo

Sample Logo

The header logo is the main focal point of your website branding.  As you are preparing to build your website [insert link], you’ll want to have your header logo created so you can get a sense of how it will look on your navigation bar.

A lot of people over-design their header logos with fanciful font choices or graphic images.  If you’ve ever watched Project Runway, you know Tim Gunn is always telling the contestants to edit their designs.  The same principle applies to your website’s header logo.

It’s perfectly okay to keep it simple and just stick with a text logo that doesn’t have any graphics or icons.  If you’re just starting out and you don’t have the budget to get your logo professionally designed, take the pressure off of yourself to design something that’s too intricate.  It’s not uncommon to see blogs and online businesses go through a rebrand ever few years or so as they grow.

4. Alternative Logo

Sample Alternative Logo

An alternative logo is something you can use when the dimensions of your main logo won’t fit into the space of wherever you’re placing it.  For example, if your logo is a long rectangle that isn’t very tall, it might not be the right size for a Facebook profile image, which is more of a square.

Alternative logos aren’t used as often as your main logo, but it’s nice to have a backup in case you need it.

5. Submark

Sample Submark

Submarks are the final icing on the cake that is your website branding.  Submarks are also known as site icons or favicons. Basically, a submark is a small accent element.  

If you’ve ever looked at a Google Chrome tab, you’ve seen a submark in action.  It’s the little icon on the left hand side of a web browser tab. For example, Google’s submark is  the letter G inside a white circle.

Submarks can also be used as social media profile images or your brand’s icon.  I like to think of using submarks the same way you might use a rubber stamp on paper.  

Final Thoughts

Don’t overthink your website branding.  Some of the best branding out there is as simple as can be, and that’s why it stands the test of time and is still relevant.  In the end, it’s all digital. Nothing is done that can’t be redone or undone. You should always feel free to change your brand design if it no longer represents you and your business.

 
Social Media Posts for Business:  Where Do You Start?

Social Media Posts for Business:  Where Do You Start?

Using social media for your blog or business is an essential part of any online marketing strategy.  When your entire business is based online, you can’t live without social media marketing. It’s that important to the growth of your business.

Most of us are pretty comfortable with using social media for personal reasons. We use it to keep in touch with friends and family.  We use it to post pictures of important events in our lives. We use it to voice our opinions. We use it to follow our favorite celebrities and public figures.

Using social media for your business is a little bit different than that, though.  

In general, a good social media strategy for business should include the following tactics:

  • Positioning yourself as an expert in your field
  • Posting content that aligns with your brand
  • Providing value to your audience
  • Connecting with your target audience
  • Building your email list

If you can focus on those tactics when you create posts for your business profiles, then you are off to a great start!

Here are some other strategies for creating social media posts for your business:

Social Media Posts for Business:  Where Do You Start?

1. Create profiles for the major platforms

You may not be ready to start posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest quite yet, but you should at least claim your space on each platform.  

Stay consistent with your brand by using the same profile name across all platforms. use the same profile picture for each account as well as the same copy for your bio.

A lot of the platforms integrate with one another, which can simplify things.  For example, you can link your Facebook and Twitter profiles to Instagram, so one post can be published in three places.

Pro Tip:  Create a Facebook business page.  This will allow you to track marketing analytics on other platforms and do more advanced social media integrations on your website.   

2. Keep it professional

First and foremost, your posts should be about your brand and what your business offers.  Save the food pics and vacation selfies for your personal account.

If your company name is your actual name, it’s more than a good idea to create a second account that is only for business purposes.  You can risk confusing your audience if your posts are not on brand.

There is an exception to this, however.  If your whole brand is you and your lifestyle, you have more space to get personal with your posts.

Lifestyle bloggers, coaches and entertainers can blur the lines between the personal and the professional.  If you are in the business of monetizing your lifestyle, you have more reason to pull back the curtain and let the audience into your life.

When in doubt, keep it professional until you get the hang of creating posts.

3. Promote your blog, services and products

The easiest way to create content for your posts is to promote something you want to share with your audience.

When you write a new blog article, share it on social media.  If you offer services or products, you can create content around that which will give you a reason to post.  

You can be straightforward and use your posts to make an announcement about something you want to promote.  You can also get creative and find a unique angle to grab people’s attention, and then work in your promotion that way.

Using this simple strategy will give you enough content to create a few posts per week.  Don’t worry about being too spammy. Once you get the hang of creating content, you can easily promote your services and products on a weekly basis.

4. Show your face at least once a week

I know I just said keep it professional, but you should also post pictures or videos of yourself so your audience knows you are an actual human being behind your business.

Platforms like Instagram are very visual, and there is an expectation that users show their faces every so often.

When your audience never sees  your face, they can’t look you in the eye.  When they can’t look you in the eye, they are not likely to trust you.  If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy what you’re selling.

Start with posting a picture or video of yourself at least once a week.  You can use it as a reason to introduce yourself to new followers. You can use it to let your audience “behind the scenes” of your business.  You can even post a selfie with a caption of something inspirational.

5. Get really good at one platform.  Then add more.

Keep your social media responsibilities simple at the beginning.  Start out by posting to just one platform at first.

Once you start to get the hang of things over at Instagram, for example, then you can move on to Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.  

Like I said earlier, you could post strictly to Instagram as long as your account is linked to Facebook and Twitter.  This will help minimize any overwhelm you might feel about managing too many accounts all at once.

Do some market research to figure out where your target audience hangs out online, and start by posting there to develop a presence.

6. Post Regularly

It is important to post consistently.  You will stay relevant to your audience and your posts will be less likely to get lost in the feed.

A regular schedule varies from platform to platform.  For example, on Twitter and Instagram, it’s customary to post 1-3 times per day.  On Facebook, however, you could get away with posting once or twice a week.

Pinterest, on the other hand, is more of a visual search engine than a social media platform.  Many marketers will suggest posting at least 25 pins per day in order to grow your audience and drive traffic to your website.  

7. Use a scheduler to plan ahead

If all of this still leaves you feeling overwhelmed or you just don’t want to spend your time posting in real time every day, I highly suggest using a social media scheduler.

Schedulers will allow you to plan out your posts far in advance, which makes social media marketing so much easier.

Facebook business pages allow you to schedule posts without having to use a third-party app.

WP to Twitter is a free WordPress plugin that lets you auto-post new blogs to Twitter when you publish them.

Apps like Hootsuite, Buffer and Loomly* let you manage all of your accounts in one place, and will offer analytics and optimization features so you can post at the best times to reach your audience.

My favorite schedulers are Tailwind* and Planoly*.  Both have an emphasis on visual marketing.

I use Tailwind* for scheduling all of my blog posts as Pinterest pins (it works as an Instagram scheduler).  Tailwind can also link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can schedule posts there, too.

For Instagram, I prefer Planoly*.  The visual grid allows me to drag and drop all of my pictures so I can envision how they will look on my Instagram grid. I also love that I can use Planoly to save all of my hashtags.  

Overall, using a scheduling app to plan your posts ahead of time will make your social media marketing strategy much more streamlined and effortless.

Get started

Just go for it.  The best way to develop a social media marketing strategy for your business is to simply start already!  It’s very much a “learn by doing” situation.

*This is an affiliate link, and I may earn a few dollars if you purchase this product.

 

 

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