Online identity: The Importance of Visual Branding for a Business Website.

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April 19, 2016BusinessNo comments

Successfully branding your business is more than just arriving at the right name. While this is central to creating your identity, it’s important to enhance your reputation by the skillful use of images, and video where relevant. Business websites today are combining quality text with great pictures to attract and hold the attention of their readers. This is what search engines look for when ranking pages – keyword stuffing and poor copy just don’t cut it any more. There are some basic steps you can check out to ensure that you are successfully branding your business website. Here are a few tips to help your site become top quality and effective.

Developing your style

Let’s assume that you’ve chosen a company or brand name that is easy to pronounce and has a strong, confident appearance. The next step is developing a style guide. This is how big commercial names arrive at their logo, the color palettes they use, the font and typeface they choose, and, of course, the images they select.

Your website style should have a personality depending on your product range – for example, maybe it needs to be visually romantic and gentle, decidedly family-oriented, or deliberately sleek and streamlined. It’s important that your style is coherent and that you use it consistently across your website, blog posts, social media networks, paperwork, and all the marketing materials you commission.

Logos and colors

There is always lots of discussion if not outright debate around a business logo. Arguably, this is the most valuable aspect of visual imagery. Think about the most iconic commercial logos and you’ll find that today, through clever use, they’re instantly recognizable across the globe – Apple, Firefox, and Skype, for instance.

The color palette you use is also sending out messages about your brand and helping your business stand out from the crowd and attract new customers. People respond emotionally to color, and it’s worth spending time researching what will work best for your business, and how consumers are likely to react to the color options you are considering.

Some firms get so attached to their company colors that they trademark or copyright them, although there are legal issues around both: think “Pullman Brown” owned by UPS, “Tiffany Blue” owned by Tiffany & Co, and “Burnt Orange” owned by the University of Texas.

Fonts and Typography

Again, the message that your brand sends out is affected by font and typeface. Less-formal fonts, such as Chalkboard and Comic Sans, will often appeal to a youth market or a product adopting a light-hearted style guide; however, they are hardly suitable for a brand aiming to promote a heavyweight corporate image.

Accessibility is now either desirable or, in many cases, a requirement, and this means choosing fonts with care so that people who have a visual impairment can read them more easily. The American Foundation for the Blind gives useful tips on its website for using accessible fonts, print sizes, and colors, so if your brand is catering for seniors or consumers with impaired vision, you may want to take a look at their advice at the outset.

Images

The technological developments we live with today have made it imperative for businesses to embrace new marketing opportunities if they are to stay ahead of competitors. Business websites are rapidly supporting the rise of the importance of good images, aligning these with high-quality text to draw in readers and convert them to fans and customers. Your brand identity therefore needs to remain unified in terms of the images you select for your site. Browsing stock photos by Dreamstime allows you to identify videos and photos that are often royalty-free. This means you can enhance your site with quality pictures and update these easily and frequently. High-resolution or commercial stock images add a distinctive professional touch that enhances your written business site or blog content.

Website design

 

When decisions have been made about all of the above, it’s time to go to work on the layout and design of your business website. At this point, you have to bear in mind an apparent contradiction – when it comes to website design, while visuals make an important contribution to success, it’s the user-friendly nature of your site that makes a huge difference to its potential. Making sure your site users find it easy to navigate and select their preferred topics or features is key.

Website users will rarely read a page in its entirety before moving on. In most cases, they will scan text, look at a few images, and then click through to something else of interest. If page content is of good quality, your site users are more likely to linger. Remember that site users want instant results and are often impatient to get them. They also tend to be intuitive when it comes to seeking out information, and they like to be in control – endless pop-up windows are generally an annoyance and are sure to send them scurrying off elsewhere.

Bringing it all together

Finally, your website designers need to aim for self-explanatory site architecture and obvious ways for users to navigate quickly and easily. Strategic placement of visuals and text can help ease of navigation a great deal. Indeed, there’s a good argument for allowing users to search your business site before making any demands on them, such as supplying an email address or completing a form-filling exercise. This encourages user trust in your business site.

When you use videos, photos, and text, you are providing your site users with a combination of dynamic and static content. What they choose will depend on their personal preferences, so let them have a choice. Some visitors will prefer a list of instructions to a how-to video clip, so keep your information concise, well written, and relevant, and your videos short and clear. Remember that users may access your site via a mobile device, and also that a non-virtual marketing campaign should aim for the same standards as your online marketing one.

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