The Dude’s guide to branding your small business website
Here at HubRunner, we believe every important question in life can be answered by The Big Lebowski. What should you do with your life? “I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.” How should you settle disagreements? “This aggression will not stand, man.” And branding your website is no different. So kick back, pour yourself a white Russian and check out the Dude’s guide to branding your small business website.
“I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. That, or His Dudeness … Duder … or El Duderino, if, you know, you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”
Establish and stick to a brand identity. Who are you? And how is it reflected in your website content? Every element of your website — from the Welcome Page to the Contact Form — should communicate the same message. If you’re having trouble zeroing in on a strong identity, it’s helpful to answer the question “Who am I?” in one sentence. Then, come up with a list of adjectives that describe the way you conduct business. When creating the website copy, refer back to your “Who Am I” statement and adjective list to ensure that every page supports your company identity. If you need help coming up with content, check our post on what to include on a small business website.
“That rug really tied the room together.”
Ensure all your materials have the same design aesthetic. Your website should look similar to your other branded material, including pamphlets, advertisements, newsletters, brochures, etc. The materials don’t have to look exactly the same, but the colors, fonts and images should all be alike. This helps ensure that your brand has a definite, identifiable look — and helps customers recognize and remember your business. (The Dude knew the value of a good, strong design aesthetic; why do you think he went to so much trouble to get compensated for his rug?)
“Dude, [that] is not the preferred nomenclature.”
Be sure to be politically correct and non-offensive to your target audience. Sometimes tone is hard to get right — you want to be approachable but professional; personable but authoritative. You want to put your own personal spin on your content, yet still remain appropriate and businesslike. The easiest way to walk this line is to think about who will be reading your material. If most of your customers are college kids, feel free to be more casual. If the majority of your target demographic is, say, financial consultants, you might want to take a more official tone. Pick a voice that will make you trustworthy and memorable in the eyes of your readers and stick with it.
“This is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.”
In our book, this quote might as well be about grammar and language. (Without grammar rules, we’re no better than animals, right?) So follow the rules of language and proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing says “unprofessional” like a glaring typo or spelling mistake. If you’re looking for some guidance, check out our post about how to proofread like a pro.
“That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
Showcase positive customer reviews. Testimonials are a great way to advertise your small business. Whether you link to your company’s account on a popular review site like Yelp!, integrate customer quotes into your website or display examples of your previous work, it’s important to show potential customers that your services earn positive feedback. (And remember, man, keep up the positive energy if you get a negative review on Yelp!).
Here are just a few good rules to abide by. Have any other suggestions? Pearls of wisdom from El Duderino? Let us know in the comments. Until then, take ‘er easy.