I’ve already looked at why it’s important to develop a brand for your website – whether it’s an awesome personal site like mine, or for your business. It’s easy to say ‘build your brand’, but what if you’ve never done anything like that before – how do you do it and where do you start? Luckily I found this sshort video that has a bit more info on the kind of things you need to think about to develop your brand.
During the early days of the Internet, web pages were nothing more than a static presence on the Internet. They were basic and offered visitors information, but little in the way of aesthetics. Since then, the Internet has instilled itself as part of everyday life, with many of us substituting manual tasks for online tasks.
With so many visitors visiting a number of sites, it was important that online businesses were able to hold the attention of its visitors with a view to them becoming customers. Having a website that’s been present since the very early days of the Internet can have a huge impact in conversions.
Many businesses offer more than an e-commerce store, they offer news, insights and tips. Not only does this encourage a visitor to return, it also makes them feel more valued. In order to update website content regularly, a content management system is required. We look at the options available along with some pros and cons.
WordPress is the weapon of choice for many bloggers, and part of that can be put to do the flexibility of the platform. Whether you’re a hobbyist looking for a free platform for a blog, or a business looking for a powerful CMS solution to host on your own server, WordPress has your back.
Although the platform is one of the favourites among online hackers, it has a robust system with updates being released all the time. It also can be used for magazine-style blogs, or more formal business blogs.
Many web designers are able to create a number of bespoke designs based around the WordPress CMS, so not only is your site pleasing to the eye, but you can ensure updates are done in the quickest time possible.
Drupal was first introduced in 2001, and while not as popular as the WordPress, it does have a dedicated fan base.
Drupal can be seen as more serious than WordPress, in that it’s not reliant on aesthetics. This is not to say that a fabulous looking website can’t be designed with the right kind of web designer on board, but its focus lies within SEO and functionality, both of which are implemented perfectly.
Drupal has more than likely alienated some interested parties due to its difficulty. Those without the right kind of technical expertise will experience many problems when it comes to uploading the site or installing updates.
Drupal is a solid CMS that delivers results, but it may not be to everybody’s tastes.
Joomla is a CMS that sits somewhere between WordPress and Drupal when it comes to ease of use. While you don’t necessarily have to have a technical mind to use Joomla, some users may find it more difficult than when using the likes of WordPress.
Joomla is used by many for e-commerce stores, as it allows users to manage their content and products in one place. As Joomla is open-sourced, a web designer is able to build branding around the e-commerce store, while those in charge of SEO focus on content marketing for the site.
Some users are put off by the lack of modules available when compared to WordPress, but it’s worth remembering that WordPress does have a lot of plugins available that are technically clones of each other.
When it comes to CMS, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. It really depends on what kind of website you would like your web designer to design, and what functions it will need to serve moving forward. Research each platform and make a list of what the goal of the website will be. For example, are you looking to convert customers? Or just looking to put your thoughts down?
Knowing the goal of the website will make choosing the right kind of CMS much easier.
It is easy to think that you are a small or medium sizes business who is just developing an online presence and doesn’t really need to worry about something as complicated as branding. Branding is for the big, international companies that advertise on the TV right? Wrong – branding is for every business and every business can benefit from having a website that carries a strong brand. So how do you achieve this?
People often confuse branding with positioning but the two are fundamentally different. Positioning is fluid and can change at any time while branding is the core element, the unchanging part of the business that remains the same. The brand is the bit that will always be recognisable now and in twenty years. Branding is also about establishing and following rules for the business so that people remember you – it is creating a uniformed approach across all elements of the business that creates an impression for customers about who you are.
There are eight elements to a brand – name, logo or icon, colours, slogan and messaging, sound, overall look and feel (or position), packaging and the brand experience. So what does this mean in reality? Here are a couple of examples.
Firstly, look at Poppy Spend – this is the sub site of the Royal British Legion and is simple but effective, with a great user interface and a varying method of delivering content. All the time, it remains visibly true to the main website.
Another example is Something New for Dinner – this is a full website that has a lot of information being delivered yet looks as clean as the ideal kitchen and as healthy as the perfect meal. The images are colourful and bright with the message ‘we eat with our eyes’ the underlying concept – something they will be replicating on their Tumblr blog when it’s finished.
Finally, Land Rover – a sophisticated yet practical website for a vehicle that is much the same. The site nods to the history of the brand while being all about the contemporary vehicles and the technology they use. It also relates to the target market with the images used.
Creating a brand
So how can you create your own brand? Firstly, you need to answer some of the questions raised by those eight elements. For example, what is your brand’s theme and message, or put another way, what do you want to be known for? If you sell handmade vintage clothing, then you want to be known for authenticity and quality. If you offer dog-walking services, then you want it to be reliability, understanding of dogs and a genuine love of them.
Getting in a professional is always a good idea, particularly for elements such as creating a logo for the brand. You can also make your own, but give it plenty of study, as it is a crucial element.
Start targeting your blog posts and pages towards your audience and what they will want from them. For the vintage clothes people, talk about how the current fashions touch on past traditions, what colours are in for the season and so forth.
Finally, do a little spying (online of course!) and check out the websites of your competitors for inspiration. What works for them might work for you in an adapted form and if an element really doesn’t work, you know what to avoid!
Many businesses look at their website and suddenly think that it looks tired, that the colours are very last year or the design idea is very past tense. There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should redesign your website but when doing so, you need to have a clear reason for doing it and goals you want to achieve from the makeover. Do you need a full overhaul, like knocking down a house and rebuilding again from scratch, or is it more a refreshing of things and add something a little different?
There’s an old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and this can apply to websites. If you get a lot of traffic to the website, all the elements work as they should and you rate highly in search results with the work you have done on search engine optimisation, then should you do anything? This can be perhaps the trickiest proposition but the fact is, a professional web designer can always find something to change. Not because there is anything wrong with your site so much as something new has been developed that may add to it.
On the other hand, if your website is like the dark cupboard in the house that no-one wants to tidy out, then perhaps a professional is the only option. If a complete overhaul is needed then the first thing to do is compose a list of what you want the website to achieve. Is it getting customers to do a certain thing? Read an article and follow a link? Or pop into your shop because it looks so enticing on the website? Whatever the aims of the project are, compile a list to work through.
Aims of a redesign
If you are unsure what you want from your website, then here are some of the top ideas. One of the biggest aims of a website is to rank highly in search engine rankings to steer customers to you, be it online or in person. There is a slightly complex series of factors that go into the process but elements such as keywords and links are key to it. By redesigning their websites with the help of an SEO company London businesses can boost their placement in the rankings and be found more often.
It may be that you want to embark on a new venture within the business, have a new strategy or want to target a new customer or area. One way of doing this is by having a strong brand presence via your website that will help attract and grow as you wish. Getting that image is vital to the growth of your business.
Finally, updating the content on the website is another important redesign element. You may have some great articles on the latest mobile apps from the end of last year or the newest fashion in scarfs from Christmas but this may not be relevant now. By updating your content, your website becomes current and useful once more and by ensuring that it has that mobile friendly element, you will begin to see mobile customers finding the content too, under the latest Google algorithm update.
If you write a list of the ideal attributes of your perfect job, what would be on the list? A job that is challenging, interesting, that presents you with ever changing situations to apply your skills and experience to? Perhaps one that is at the cutting edge of technological development and offers a wide range of areas to move between if you want a change? Then the industry you may well be looking for is Information Technology or IT.
Benefits of the industry
Because the IT industry is at the forefront of one of the fastest moving areas of technology in the world, there is something new appearing nearly every day. This level of change can be off putting for some people but even these can find work within the industry, doing jobs that help others use existing equipment or teaching IT at primary or secondary school level where the pace of change is slower.
If you’re beginning to think you should be working at an Information Technology company, the range of businesses involved in the sector also opens possibilities for everyone, from the small independent companies employing just a couple of people to the big multi-nationals such as Google and Apple. No matter where in the country you live, there will be an IT based business within travelling distance.
So what kind of actual jobs can you get within the IT industry? At the cutting edge of the sector are the design and creation jobs – everything from applications to games to the very software that operates our devices. Then there are the specialist systems designed for different industries that have special requirements. Crucial for all areas, security is another huge area working in combating the viruses and malware appearing on a daily basis and ensuring businesses and the public are protected.
For very device or piece of software development, there needs to be someone to deal with it if it malfunctions and this is where IT Support comes in. At one time, it was seen as a bit of a boring job, turning computers on and off again but the modern job is very different. If you like a challenge, puzzle solving, dealing with mysteries and riddles, then this is the kind of job for you. While sometimes the challenges may be simple, they can also be truly challenging and keep you on your toes.
Industry specific IT services are huge with many industries now looking for people who can cover both area. One of the biggest growth sectors is Engineering and there is a wealth of IT-related jobs within the industry. This can involve developing software specifically for the industry as well as working in support for these systems. Engineering is an example of another fast moving, ever developing industry and its IT systems likewise need to develop as it does so software engineers, computer programmers and more are often required.
This is just a glimpse of the types of jobs available in the IT industry and its crossover sectors. If you like a challenging job with a workplace that may not be in the most traditional format, then this is without doubt the industry for you.