THE JOURNAL: DON’T LOSE YOUR HEART ON THE WEB

No, we’re not talking about Tinder or Bumble here, although keeping your brand consistent and concise on all digital channels could be likened to maintaining a dating profile. Join us on our (slightly tenuous) journey through our top tips for making sure that your brand values and integrity are reflected appropriately through your website, ensuring happily ever afters for all involved…awwwww!

 

Establish what you want out of this

Before you even put yourself online, you need to know what you want out of it (marriage? Babies? A new car? Brand recognition and incredible conversion rates?). Too many people see having a website or online brand presence as an easy marketing ‘ticked-box’, meaning that without a simple strategy behind it, it’s destined to not give you the result you want. Everybody has heard the term ‘call to action’ but very few actually utilise one within their website. So to ensure that you get what you really want out of your website, ensure you put together a killer web strategy beforehand listing the who, what and why of your online presence.

 

Be willing to compromise but don’t forget what’s important to you

Have you heard that successful relationships are all about compromise? Similarly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that ‘any old template will do’ when it comes to websites, but if your brand is important to you then you really need to think about how your website layout is reflecting your mission, vision and aesthetic appropriately. We’re obviously advocates of building bespoke, (hey, it’s our business!) but if your budget is limited then using a suitable template is a good way to lay down solid foundations as long as you’re willing to learn some basic html and make some tweaks yourself to ensure your brand is really singing. There’s nothing worse than just placing your logo onto a pre-built site and thinking ‘that’ll do’ and sacrificing your original vision.

 

Put your best foot forward/Invest in good photography

Yes, we’re looking straight at the people who have questionable Tinder profile pictures!! They say that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and it couldn’t be more true on the internet, where being concise and to the point is paramount. Good photography and/or graphic imagery is so important in setting the right tone and atmosphere of your online presence, and can successfully negate the need for reams and reams of copy. That’s why it’s important to invest in your graphics and photography. A trained professional will be able to translate your message into the best subject matter, choice of colours and composition.

 

Don’t be afraid to be different – show off your USPs (Unique selling points)

Why fit in when you can stand out? Are you the owner of a super cool and popular lifestyle blog but secretly collect beanie babies? Are you a high-flying executive but love to binge watch My Little Pony on the weekends (it’s a thing!). Again, no judgement, in fact the more eccentricities you have the better; be loud and proud and use those quirky qualities to your advantage. Not only can they help you build a truly meaningful, albeit niche following, they act as your key differentiator from your competitors. At designdough, we don’t try to be ‘quirky’, we just naturally are a bit weird, and we feel that if we tried to hide or diminish this side of us in some way in favour of being more ‘polished’, we’d end up being seen as inauthentic and a bit try-hard. No thank you!

 

Don’t overshare

Transparency and honesty is a huge selling point in today’s marketplace and (we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again) consumers are very savvy to being lied to. Yet, that doesn’t mean that everyone needs to know an hour by hour account of everything that happened to you during that day. You can be professional AND personable, relatable AND reliable without giving people too much information, potentially giving away your IP, respectability, authority or even worse, what you had for breakfast that morning! A lot of this comes down to adopting the right tone of voice online – have fun with the way you speak to people, but don’t let that sacrifice or diminish that you really do know what you’re talking about.

 

Don’t bullsh*t

Are you bragging that you drive a BMW when you’re actually running round in a clapped-out mini metro? (no judgement!). If there is one place where fact-checking is regularly thrown out the window, it’s the internet, and people are now pretty used to taking what they read on there with a pinch of proverbial salt. This is why it’s so important to really embrace your real values and be as open and sincere about them as possible. For example, at designdough, we have no qualms in saying that ‘we are not a web agency’, we’re a brand agency that happens to make really good websites! Yet, owning this fact and being honest about our respect for, but disinterest in the analytical/statistical side of web design and development ensures that we attract the right kind of clients for us and means we can concentrate on keeping those clients super happy.

 

Share the right content

Similar to our ‘Don’t Bullsh*t’ tip – are you sharing the latest articles about that same imaginary BMW when your mini metro is rusting in the driveway? Sharing content is getting easier by the day, and we’re all guilty of clicking that ‘share’ button once too often without really thinking about what we’re reposting (damn fake news!). The content that you choose to share is inadvertently saying a lot about you, and this is particularly true for brands and businesses, so be mindful of what you’re attaching your name to. If you do find yourself wanting to share a particular piece of content, first consider the what (what does this say about me and my values?), the why (why am I reposting this?) and finally the who (who do I want to attract/entertain/grab the attention of with this content?). This is particularly important if you’re a business that chooses to share political content!