Making It Know

How to Design a Website for Your Brand

Designing your own website is a great way to make your personal brand or business accessible, and get your message out to the world, whatever it may be. It represents a key milestone in creating a public presence—a website launch makes an idea official, for all to see. Read on for essential website design tips that can help you create an effective online presence without getting overwhelmed.

Select your website colors, typography, and graphics

Aesthetic elements such as your color palette, icons, and fonts are the foundations of your online brand. Choosing them is about knowing what catches your audience's attention so that your web design will appeal to them. Ultimately, these design elements will help to give your brand consistency and make it more memorable.

Choose your color palette

Color can help your website visitors automatically get a sense of your brand—whether it’s bold and colorful, muted and calm, or somewhere inbetween. If you’re launching an online business, take a look at the color palettes your competitors use, so you can find opportunities to differentiate your brand and products. Experiment with different combinations of colors to see how they bring your brand to life. Keep it simple and don’t go overboard, but have fun switching things up.

Select the fonts for your site

Learning how to use typography effectively is as important as great photography and imagery in website design. Well-chosen fonts can tell your audience a lot about your brand, and also play a role in accessibility and readability online. For example, a script or serif font is easiest to read and best used for larger copy, like headlines, while sans serif fonts are useful for body copy and other longform text. 

There are no hard and fast rules about when or where to use certain fonts, but it’s important to test your copy and make sure your website visitors can easily read the content on your site.

Pick helpful, clear icons

An icon is the visual representation of a word or idea. They’re incredibly useful on websites, where users need at-a-glance information to help them navigate through your content.

For example, arrows on either side of an image on your website will indicate a gallery of photos that people can click through.Similarly, a call-to-action (CTA) button cues people that clicking it means doing something decisive—an action known as a “conversion.”

Design with the user experience (UX) in mind

User experience (UX) is the overall experience someone has when they click around your website. Good UX is determined by how easy it is to navigate your website, and whether people can find what they need, wherever they happen to be on the site.

Stage one—research

To start, identify target audience behaviors, likes, dislikes, and current barriers to purchase. The more you understand your audience, the more you can shape your website to appeal to them. You can also research direct competitors to get a sense of the content they provide for their audience—and what yours might expect to see from you.

Stage two—wireframing

Next, create a visual overview, or “wireframe,” of your whole website. Like the blueprint of a house, wireframes help you to see how different areas of your website will connect to one another, and help you scope the size of your website. For example, wireframing might help you decide that your website only needs three pages—like About, Shop, and Contact—or make it clear that you need separate pages for products, portfolio projects, or other information.

When you wireframe, you can also strategically place CTA buttons that will encourage people to browse, purchase, learn more, or take another action that supports your business goals.

Stage three—testing

When your wireframes are finished, share them with people for feedback. You can launch a private version of your website and invite members of your target audience to test it out. Ask for feedback on the overall look and feel, how easy it is to navigate, and whether making a purchase is simple and straightforward. Incorporating their feedback will help you avoid issues when you launch.

Stage four—implementation

As a final step, put all the learnings you’ve gathered from the testing phase into action. Implementation means nailing down the site map, fleshing out the wireframe, fixing glitches, and making sure all the final content is ready for launch.

Make your website mobile responsive

Because so many people access the internet using their mobile devices, you need to design your website for mobile responsiveness by making sure it’s as easy to use on a cell phone or tablet as it is on a desktop computer.

Mobile-first design prioritizes smaller screens by reducing content down to the essentials—building out fewer pages, keeping file sizes small, and presenting concise messaging, for example.

Starting small makes it easier to adapt your website design for larger desktop screens. Many website templates also have built-in responsive design features to ensure your site will be consistent across all screen sizes.

With a Squarespace website template, your website will automatically adapt to different screen sizes.

Designing a mobile-first site begins with creating a “visual hierarchy of content.” List your pieces of content in order of importance so you can decide what to spend your limited real estate on. For example, your logo and CTA buttons should be high priority to ensure brand recognition and customer conversion.

A mobile-first site will also rank higher in search engine results because search engines actually read mobile versions of websites first. So, when your website is optimized for mobile, it’s also optimized for search engines.

Create an engaging landing page 

A landing page is the first page visitors see when they come to your site by clicking on an ad, email, or through search engines like Google. Not necessarily the same as your homepage, which acts as the navigation hub of your website, a landing page should drive immediate customer action—and it does so in one of two ways:

  • By generating leads. A lead generation page collects data about your website visitors by offering incentives like an email newsletter subscription, discount code, downloadable content such as a free e-book, or other resources in exchange for personal information like names and email addresses.

  • By encouraging click-through. A click-through landing page drives user conversion with a button that leads directly to the place on your website that offers services, such as a product overview page or an appointment-booking page.

Whichever type of landing page you choose for your site, you can hone it by testing two different designs to see which one delivers higher conversions. For example, you can send viewers of one social media product campaign to one version of the landing page, while another social media product campaign leads to a different one.

No matter how users land on the page, make sure your website copy and design encourages a specific action—whether you want people to share an email address, purchase a product, or read your blog content. Use engaging imagery and clear CTAs to grab visitors’ attention and direct it to the desired action as soon as they arrive on your website.

Consider hiring a web designer

If you want to collaborate on the vision for your website, you might consider hiring a professional designer. Weigh factors like your own bandwidth, the time you have until your targeted launch date, and your overall goals and objectives before you hire a website designer

A website builder like Squarespace can give you the professionalism of a custom site that's easy to set up yourself without the added expense of hiring a pro. This option also offers speed and flexibility—you can launch quickly, then adapt and update your site easily as your business evolves.

Ready to start the design process? Learn how to choose a palette, fonts, and icons for your website.

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