Building your branded website so that it not only looks good but converts, too, can be downright overwhelming. That’s why we brand and web designers are super strategic in our steps. So we can save ourselves—and our clients—time and money!
Today, we’re revealing just how we do it. We’re sharing our strategy with you in a step-by-step guide, so even a beginner can follow. Keeping reading to learn the process we use to craft our branded websites from scratch!
Step 1: Create your brand.
Yes, branding comes first! It’s going to be really difficult to build out your website if you don’t already have your brand identity done.
A brand identity is made up of quite a few components, including (but not limited to):
Patterns & textures
Brand voice & messaging
To be clear, if you build out your brand as you go, you risk not having consistent branding across the board. And inconsistent branding is one of the BIGGEST mistakes you can’t afford to make with your brand identity.
Having consistent and cohesive branding across your website will help you build trust and confidence in your business, which is absolutely necessary if you want people to buy from you. People don’t buy from people they don’t trust.
Step 2: Write your copy.
A branded website design is incomplete without branded copy! If you’re not familiar with copywriting, it’s simply a style of writing intended to persuade a person to take a particular action. For example, the action of purchasing your product or services—AKA the reason you are probably building a branded website in the first place!
It’s important to note that copy isn’t just words thrown together that sound good. Copywriting is a science that uses a little something known as sales psychology. This requires a deep understanding of your ideal clients and the reasoning behind their purchasing choices. And if you’re a business owner, it’s a skill you should seriously consider learning more about. Of course, you can always outsource and hire a professional copywriter. But think of it this way, who knows your ideal clients better than yourself?
If you’re writing your own copy don’t forget to proofread it, too! And be sure to take advantage of one of the many free websites out there to help you with this. We recommend using Grammarly or Hemingway App.
Always write your copy in a document separate from your website first. Then copy and paste your text into your website builder after. (This ensures that you don’t miss out on including any important information on your website, and allows you to catch those pesky typos and grammar mistakes with the nifty proofreading tools we just told you about.)
Step 3: Gather your materials.
Now that you’ve settled on your branding and finished your copy, if you haven’t already, it’s time to gather all your materials. Make a (digital) folder and put everything you have for your website into it. Your branding materials, your copy, your visuals, and any free downloads you’re going to share.
Double-check that your materials have accurate and properly descriptive file names. Not just a stream of random letters and numbers. For example, if you include a freebie (and who doesn’t love a good freebie, right?), make sure the file name makes sense. Don’t forget to add your brand’s name in there, too!
Step 4: Build Your Website!
Now that you have your foundations in place it’s time to build your website! There are hundreds of website builders out there to choose from, too. But don’t make this decision lightly! There are many pros and cons to all of them.
After a great deal of trial and error, we now exclusively use Wix. Not only is it super user-friendly (which is a huge plus!), but Wix is also easily customizable for mobile and search engine optimization, too. And you’re about to find out how crucial those factors are to a successful branded website.
Step 5: Optimize for mobile.
Did you know 40% of people will immediately leave a website that’s not mobile-optimized? Or that 91% of small business websites aren’t optimized for mobile use?
Those are some scary stats, right? But they don’t have to be scary if you optimize your website for mobile use. Now, we know the words “mobile optimization” are thrown around a lot without explaining how it actually works. So, here’s the deal:
Optimizing for mobile means that your website works across all smartphone and tablet devices. And we’re not just talking about whether the links work or the text is big enough to see.
People use websites differently on mobile devices than they do desktop because of touch screen navigation. Your mobile website design needs to reflect that. Make sure anything that's clickable isn’t too big, too small, or in the way of a finger trying to scroll down the page.
If you chose a good website builder, aka one that works with you instead of against you.... you'll be able to easily edit and customize the layout of your mobile website without affecting the display of your desktop design.
Step 6: Optimize for search engines.
We hope you took the step to optimize for mobile, because if you did, you’ll have already made significant headway with your search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO.
Search engines (like Google) work by searching websites for content that help answer people’s questions. This content is then indexed so that they appear in search results.
Think about when you search Google yourself. You don’t often look past the first page, right? This means that if you want your website to be found, you want it to be listed on that first page. This is known as ranking. Ranking on Google is a long-term process and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. (Please run away from anyone that tells you differently or says they can guarantee rankings because that’s 100% false!)
A lot of people get stuck on the idea that they need to figure out some mysterious algorithm, but that’s not what SEO is. You’re just optimizing for regular ol’ people! Because Google prioritizes the content that they think we’ll find the most useful.
Take mobile-optimized content as an example. When Google learned that most people who used their website were searching on a mobile device, they started primarily crawling and indexing pages using the mobile version of websites. That’s why if you’re not optimized for mobile, you’re not optimized for search engines either.
When you build your website to create a better user experience for your visitors, you’re automatically optimizing for search engines. But if you want to rank higher, then you’ll need to do some keyword research, too. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it by yourself either! There’s plenty of free websites out there that’ll help you figure everything out. (We recommend using our step-by-step SEO workbook!)
Step 7: Publish.
It’s time to hit that publish button and set your branded website free into the digital world!
We know this can be the hardest part for a lot of people. There’s always going to be copy that can be tweaked or another way we can optimize for SEO. But remember, your website is never going to be perfect. And that’s okay!
Your website is a living, breathing thing. It’s never going to be something you can just set and forget - over time, it’s going to need updates. Maybe even an entire website redesign! But that’s the beauty of a great branded website. As you and your business evolve and grow, so will your website!
Friend, you don’t have to build your branded website alone. If you’d like to team up with a group of professional branding and web designers, click here to apply to work with us now.