Your company’s brand is your image in the eyes of the consumer, the qualities about you that set you apart from the rest. In short, your brand is your company’s personality. A strong brand can often be the success or failure of a great idea.
When it comes to websites, some businesses think all they need is an appealing design. Even an eye-catching website, however, may not be doing your brand any favors.
When a Website Negatively Affects Branding
These website mistakes may be harming your brand:
1. Your website doesn't target a specific audience.
Visualize your perfect-fit customer. Do you see an elderly man who values security? A college student whose second home is Starbucks? A soon-to-be bride on a budget? Your website should be designed specifically for your ideal customers.
Attempting to build a website that appeals to all seven billion people on the planet will only work against your brand. By attracting a specific audience, your website can become a tool that boosts brand loyalty. Consumers who share your values and identify with your brand will be your biggest fans – and they’ll tell others with similar interests about you.
To find out who your website should be targeting, you should build 3-5 buyer personas that represent your ideal customers.
2. Your website copy presents a dull image.
Your company probably consists of friendly, interesting employees. Can your customers see that by looking at your website?
Is your copy overly formal?
Does your verbiage sound preposterously pompous?
Is your content stuffed with industry jargon?
Your brand starts with you. Let the customer hear your voice through your website’s written content. If consumers can tell they like you just by reading your website, they’re likely to become paying customers.
Authenticity is key to good website copy. Don’t let dull or bad writing give potential customers the wrong idea about your brand. Let your online face be the same face customers would see if they were to walk into your physical location.
3. Your website isn't user-friendly.
Visitors shouldn't need a map to navigate a website. If your site is disorganized and out-of-date, it is harming your brand and driving away potential customers.
Test your website in these areas:
- Provide clear calls to action.
Make sure call-to-action buttons aren't lost in a kaleidoscope of ads and banners. When visitors click on a call-to-action, or anything else, it should be clear to them what to do next.
- Provide easy ways to contact your company.
Most inquiries come from serious consumers. If someone has to spend a lot of time searching your site for contact information, they may become frustrated and go to a competitor. Today’s consumer values convenience: make sure your website gives them that.
- If your customers have questions, answer them on your website.
Use your website's blog feature, to create content that answers questions your clients are asking. The best way to find out what they need to know is to talk to sales or customer service reps. Get the questions they are being asked, and create content on your website to answer those questions. You can also create an easy-to-find FAQ page based on relevant customer concerns.
Here's an article that shows a way to brainstorm 100 blog articles in under 60 minutes.
- Be device-relevant
Remember, a significant percentage of Internet browsing is done on mobile devices. Make sure your site is optimized for these users, especially if your brand’s perfect-fit customer is a mobile user.
4. Your website doesn't show how consumers will benefit from your brand.
In the age of the Internet, many prospective customers visit a company’s website before making contact by phone, email, or in person.
A compelling website design is important, but if consumers can’t see how they benefit from doing business with you, you are likely to lose them.
Does your website contain a lot of “we” and “our” statements? Use more “you” and “your” statements. Rather than listing your company’s virtues, show consumers what they’ll get if they do business with you. Provide content and solutions that will help visitors; don’t let your website be an online company fact sheet.
Other ways you can showcase your brand’s positives are to post testimonials, offer freebies, provide live chat, and give the option to subscribe to your blog for relevant industry news.
5. Your website content is static.
Customers and search engines like websites that are updated with new material regularly. For this reason, maintaining a blog can do wonders for your site. Blogs generally bring in at least some traffic that you wouldn’t get otherwise, and blogging is a great way to build and enforce your brand image.
Blogging works best if new posts are added frequently. If consumers notice your blog hasn’t been updated in six months, they may get the impression of stagnancy.
Your website should allow you to share knowledge and develop trust. If you have valuable, evolving content, it can build you up as a leader in your industry. While other companies may focus solely on their websites’ visual appeal, meaningful material will give your brand an edge.
6. Your website isn't visually appealing.
By now we know that a beautiful website isn't a fix-all. Even so, your website does need to look good – especially to that hypothetical perfect-fit customer.
Whether your brand’s customers are old or young, cautious or spontaneous, intense or laid-back, they will not be impressed with a yawn-inducing website.
Look at your site as if you were a first-time visitor. Do your pictures look like free stock photos? Are your images and logo boring? Does your website have the same look and feel of every other website in your industry? What distinguishes your website from thousands of competitor sites?
Most industries have an image stereotype. It’s not necessarily bad, but chances are your competitors are projecting that image. What results is an abundance of unremarkable, cookie-cutter websites.
If your website does a great job of reflecting your brand, you’ll already be a step ahead of the rest. Make your website showcase your brand’s unique personality.
Improve Your Web Experience Or Else
Dan Schawbel, bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, said, “If you want to compete in this economy, you have to have the right online presence. It’s do or die.”
Fashioning your website into a tool that draws consumers to your brand is hard work. Master the art, and you’ll have a major advantage over competitors.