6 Ideas to Get Your Website Design and Branding Off the Ground

  •    Carrie is a designer and content marketer. She works promoting the Roanoke Region of Virginia and has more than 10 years of media and marketing experience.

Not every new business has the resources to invest in a full branding solution before launching an online store. But there are things you can do to get your online shop off the ground while you develop a branding identity. Here's how:

stayjax

1. Develop a Name (And Grab the Domain)

Every memorable business has an unforgettable name that people can associate with a product or service. In a digital sales environment, that includes a catchy domain name. (It might be one of the best website design ideas you come up with.)

As you develop a name for your business, think about what the URL for your website will be. Use a domain search tool to find out if your preferred URL is available.

An effective domain is relatively short, connects to the brand name and is easy to say and spell. Once you secure a domain, you can use it with Weebly to create an amazing website.

And while you are at it, secure social media channels with the same name. Whether you plan to promote your brand on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it's best to use a consistent username across social media channels. StayJax uses the domain stayjax.com, and the handle for Instagram is @stayjax. That's perfect – and consistent – branding with a business name and domain.

2. Write Down Your Brand Messaging

What is your brand about? Start by writing down what you want people to know about your small business or product.

This information will be the messaging and words you use in your website's design. Employ the same keywords repeatedly and consistently to establish exactly what your brand is about.

Take it a step further and develop a tagline, that captures the essence of your brand. This makes for a key bit of messaging that you can use everywhere from talking about your brand in person to the main headline on your website. Your tagline should convey not only what your product does, but the emotional benefit behind purchasing it.

3. Create an Image of Your Brand

You probably have a picture of what your brand looks like in your head. Find one image that fits that mental representation.

You can jumpstart your website design with one powerful image. It doesn't take a full photography session to get started. Work with a photographer in your area to get one image or start with stock imagery from a source like Unsplash. Then use the an image editor to make it your own with effects such as a color overlay or other filters that add intensity and interest.

4. Pick a Typography Palette

Consistency is the key to good branding. Pick one or two typefaces and use them throughout your website design. Don't change fonts on every page.

After choosing one of Weebly's website design templates to start, you can change typefaces for different parts of the design from your dashboard. Click the theme tab and then "Change Fonts." By universally changing fonts, you will ensure that typefaces across the website design are the same font and size from page to page. It's an easy way to create consistency without having to manually change fonts on every page.

5. Pick a Color Palette

The same philosophy you can apply to selecting typefaces, applies to color. A good brand has a memorable color palette that relates to the messaging. (Would you ever associate Coca-Cola with anything other than bright red?)

Find one or two colors that mean something to you or your brand and customize your website to use this color theme. (You can change colors in the same way you adjust fonts in the Weebly editor.)

Take it a step further and try to capture one of your brand colors in the main website imagery as well.

6. Use a Wordmark

You don't have to have a logo to get your website running. Crafting a great logo can take a lot of time. Start with a simple wordmark — such as the one used by StayJax — so that you can get off the ground while you figure out what your brand mark will be.

Use a typeface not from your overall typography palette for a wordmark. Type in your brand name and use a fun, funky or simple typeface to establish your small business name. (You can do this right from the Weebly dashboard. Just highlight the default “My Site" text, type in your name and adjust the text settings).

Then, when you are ready to add a logo, you can toggle the site name from text to logo and upload your image file, making it quick and easy to add more formal branding later on.

Conclusion

Branding is one of the most important building blocks of your online shop and small business. Effective website design is more than something that looks great — it also helps establish your brand.

Remember, you can accomplish all of these goals with a little hard work and a Weebly account.