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With forty percent of the world’s population having access to the internet, a web presence is a must for any modern business. However, just using the first available template when building your website isn’t enough; it is important to ensure that your site is an accurate representation of your brand. When your online presence matches your brand’s look, feel, and message, customers are more likely to recognize and trust your company as a whole.

consider the color scheme

When you think of Coca-Cola, what color immediately comes to mind? That’s right: red. And “Coke Red” isn’t just red, it’s a highly specific hue (Pantone 484) which is registered with the US Patent and Trademark office.
The colors you have adopted for your offline presence—whether they are in your logos, brochures, offices, or your uniforms—should extend to your web presence. Using your brand’s colors is a great way to ensure the look and feel of your website is consistent with your brick-and-mortar store or organization.

instant recognition with logos

Think about your favorite brands. If you were in a foreign country with a language you don’t speak, recognizing the Starbucks logo or Holiday Inn insignia would instantly put you at ease and make you feel at home.
Recognizable logos and graphics can go a long way toward reinforcing your brand because they provide a quick visual snapshot for instant recognition and maximum impact. Professional logos serve to immediately identify, distinguish, and communicate your brand’s message in order to encourage trust and loyalty. If your current logo is outdated you might consult a designer to freshen it up a bit. Once you have the logo you want, use it on your website. Also, it helps to link your logo back to the homepage to make it easy for visitors to navigate.

project a feeling with your fonts

You should also keep your fonts consistent to match the look and feel of your brand. While it’s easy to overlook something as simple as typography, using the same fonts on both your website and offline material provides a visual anchor for visitors. This detail can mean the difference between good and great branding. For example, if you are a restaurant and your menus are in Helvetica, use that font for the online menu and other content on your website as well.
One quick caveat: if you’ve created paper promotional items that use complicated fonts, you will want to transition away from these or only use them sparingly online. Curly, overly-ornate fonts can be difficult to read on screens, which can turn off customers. Consider using an ornate font only for headings or short quotes, and if you can’t find your specific font for online use, look for one that is as close to it as possible.

a clean layout

The design of your website should also match your business. For example, a pediatrician’s office might display  their logo front and center with plenty of white space around it to allow the office hours along the bottom of the screen to stand out. A legal website, on the other hand, might be more text-heavy on the first page, with contact information and one or two legal articles in the sidebar.
However you design your website’s layout, the key is to keep it looking clean and clutter-free. When each page is densely packed with text, images, and buttons, it tends to be overwhelming for the visitor to the point they’re no longer processing the information. And when a visitor is inundated with information, they are more likely to leave a website.

all in the voice

Look at the promotional items that you have used offline. Is the established voice of your brand authoritative? Conversational? Playful? Users will expect to see something similar when they reach your site. If your printed materials are grammatically perfect and highly professional, then using casual, slang-filled language on your website will be confusing. Consistency is reassuring for both established and potential clients as it allows them to trust your business’ overall message and vision.
If you are a startup, taking some time to establish a specific voice is a critical  step in the branding process. Think about your target audience and what they respond to. Consider the experience and demeanor of the professionals in your business when they interact with clients and replicate this on your website. Once you are comfortable with your brand’s voice, it should be reflected in all company communications and collateral.

make sure it’s mobile-friendly

With seventy-eight percent of mobile searches for local businesses resulting in a purchase, it’s imperative that your site be optimized for mobile phones or you risk losing customers. In fact, Google considers this so important that they are now making mobile-friendliness part of their algorithm for determining page rank in search results.
Mobile-friendliness isn’t just important for search engine optimization. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, your mobile presentation can determine whether or not you win new business. Many consumers search on- the- go, so if they can’t get the information they want on your website, they will quickly move on to your competition.
First impressions count, especially digital ones.  In this world of short attention spans and constant distraction, first impressions will make or break your online business. By making your website a seamless part of your presentation to customers, you can build validity and win fans who will become loyal customers of your brand.

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