Creating a unique and compelling branding concept is critical in today’s fast paced world of internet marketing. Hitting the mark with the brand story can be the difference between success and failure. A great website will have a brand concept which flows through the entire site and stamps the individuality of the company or artist from landing page to sitemap.
This is even more important for a small business, in the rush to even register in the public’s mind amid all the big names. If a website is not actively selling a brand, it’s not doing its job. This is why many small businesses are currently rethinking their strategy, starting from scratch by focusing on branding and then building new websites based on the brand.
There are many website solutions on the market, but the most important factors to take into account when rebranding are SEO practices, modern code, layout and elements capabilities and much more. This article looks more in-depth at what a small business needs in a website solution to help it nail its brand voice.
We will have a look at ANEGIS, an IT Consulting Company for small business, and their website ax-dynamics.com as a case study. Finally we will run a short interview with Grzegorz Kulpa, who is a marketing specialist at ANEGIS about how they used a WordPress theme to perform their small business branding.
Create Great Content And Get Google On Board
Maybe it’s time to give the famous sentence ‘we are in age of internet (information)’ a tiny but very important tweak: ‘we are living in the age of content!’ Yes it’s just happening too frequently to us to read how important content is in the new age of business, and why content is king when it comes to capturing the search engine crawlers.
So one important step you have to take before you can nail your brand voice is to fill the gap between your brand and your customers. This can be accomplished with none other than great content. Great content will help you engrave your footsteps, gain a voice in your industry and ultimately increase your influence. People will take your word as they trust in you as an influencer in your industry and then you can use that influence to nail your brand.
The content you will need to achieve this is keyword-rich, SEO-optimized and fresh content that addresses an actual problem or need for your potential customer. The content needs to be hosted in a modern website that loads fast and relates to search engines well, preferably perfectly. You don’t want your well developed fresh content to be hosted in a low speed old blogging platform or websites with expired tech.
It’s not only about how your website is using the latest tech to connect to facilitate the indexing process for Google, it’s also about how it looks like in eyes of your audience. Does it follow your brand’s aesthetic parameters? Does it align well with your site-wide layout factors? Does it seamlessly work on different devices and viewports? If your answer is positive then you can make sure your site will never slip down the Google search pages into oblivion.
Unique Branding Needs Amped Up Customization Features
Your brand is nothing but what makes you different from others, and one of the factors that can help amplifying this difference is design. The standard design elements in your industry are not enough for a brand. You will need to have your own special layout, UI elements, imagery and design touches that reflect your brand’s essence in a visual way.
Your website design identity should perfectly align with your slogan and copy to describe the most about your brand The design should complement the brand concept to create a holistic experience for the user and a range of multimedia adds dimension to the site, further engaging users to stay. Speed of the site is another aspect to be careful of as slow sites can cause users to switch to a competitor. If you get your website designed by a designer, make sure you discuss your brand layout and coloring preferences and ask him to provide a wide range of design elements that you will have in hand to use across your site and also in future content.
If you’re using a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, make sure you go with a theme that gives you the maximum customizability features. You don’t want your brand website to look like your competitors just because you have both bought a theme from ThemeForest! A Good multi-purpose or business WordPress theme that enables you to customize its look based on your preferences should at least include these features:
More templates Mean More Power
You may have seen WordPress themes that are shipped with multiple templates. The idea behind the various template options behind a theme or site builder is not only that you can simply pick a template out of the available templates and start your website. It’s mainly included in a theme to show you the capabilities the theme has to offer as a site builder and the range of possibilities you can use to sport a layout for your website. So looking at a theme’s template page you can simply understand how much customisation potential it has to offer.
Use Modern blog styles
As discussed earlier, your main weapon against your competitor as a brand is your content and great content needs a form it deserves. When setting up your blog always remember to check blog styles your designer or your site builder has to offer. Multiple choices are of course more preferable than a single style blog. It can give the chance to change your blog style from time to time based on its growth and frequency over time. If you have a busy blog with a post or two per day you may want to use a pinterest-like blog layout, but if you post barely one in two weeks you can pick more stylish blog styles with larger imagery and excerpts.
If you’re regularly following and tracking web trends from sites like Awwwards, Abduzeedo, FWA, Panda, Dribbble, you will know maybe 80% of today’s trendy websites have done something in the form of video, animation and motions. Either they have created HD video content as part of their content marketing policy, have created and put great video presentations or teasers about their products on their website or have used particular elements that involve some kind of motion or animation. Any kind of movement will give your website a higher chance of staying in your audience’s mind. Use the animated elements like Sliders, animated elements, carousels, animated columns, tab slider, computer sliders, Flip box and such to present different kinds of information.
Keep Your Finger On The Pulse Of The Trend
There are two important things about keeping up with trends. First, In order to show your customers you have the potential to beat the competition in your niche you should first show a good compatibility with trends, both in content and design. Second, you should continue following the trends as long as there is something trending in your industry! Only when these two factors are met can you think about putting your own spin on the market and hopefully become a trendsetter someday.
What is the role of your website here? Your website is the best representation of your status against trends so your website solution should be equipped with enough major elements that build up different trending factors and also should have the capability to get constant updates, additions and extensions. If you have a contractor or an agency who takes care of your website you may need to renew your contract with them every few months – at its latest – to update your site with design touches, important plugins and also security patches that may apply to your business.
If you are using a WordPress theme always keep in mind to to choose a theme that promises lifetime technical updates, additions and templates. The plugin compatibility is also a major factor to consider when choosing a WordPress theme for your website as it helps you guarantee high flexibility about new trends coming your way. This assures a website solution that leverages different templates, layouts features, page elements, regular updates and good plugin compatibility to seamlessly keep your website up to date. Always check the reviews of potential web builders to see what other companies think of them. The best ones always strive to improve performance and are always providing updates (preferably free) to stay ahead of the game.
Maximize Use of SEO Plugins
Next to content as the first important factor in engraving your brand in your niche, is your SEO stance. The beautiful thing about these twofold rules is that none of them can exist without the other. Your SEO is built up with the content you deliver and your content needs good status in eyes of Google to get delivered to the right people at the right time. So if you do any of these without the other don’t bother doing it at all!
A well-established brand will most likely have a team of dedicated content writers and SEO experts to take care of this vital twofold component, but it will be a bit different for a fresh brand such as yours. SEO is a complicated business and if it’s not done right it can cause all sorts of problems for the site. Therefore the best way to ensure SEO is up to scratch for a new voice like you is to use SEO plugins. It’s imperative that your web builder or website solution is compatible with the popular SEO plugins such as Yoast, SEO Ultimate and SEO Plugin LiveOptim.
These plugins help to obtain better search rankings, and give the site owner control over meta titles, descriptions and keywords, as well as ensuring titles are the correct length and generally keeping the site healthy. With Google being the most used search engine, the site must comply with Google’s SEO rules to ensure it hits the top ranking in its niche. If your website is built with a WordPress theme your website builder should also provide you with proper page heading structure as it plays the first role when Google starts to index your website pages.
To gain a better understanding of how Anegis could approach a solution to improve its brand voice, we talked to Grzegorz Kulpa who is a marketing specialist at ANEGIS.
Can you tell us a little about your business? Where did the idea come from to create a platform to help growing businesses?
ANEGIS specializes in IT consultation for growing businesses. Using Microsoft Dynamics AX, we work on implementing, redeveloping and supporting projects for a wide range of companies. As a proven Microsoft Dynamics AX Partner, we’d like to communicate that our explicit methodology and effective project management methods position us as one of the strongest players in the Microsoft Dynamics AX industry arena.
We wanted to ensure that potential clients would know that, just by looking through our website, that we could be trusted to provide the support they needed. We acknowledged that a proper website with strong search visibility would be one of our main marketing goals for 2015. We used our pre-designed branding guidelines, as well as our current offer to expand and improve our online presence. We expect that a strong web presence will build an important lead generation channel for the future.
What are your expectations for your website and how does The Ken theme help you meet those expectations?
The most important thing was that we needed it be modern, flexible and SEO friendly. First we chose to switch to WordPress, in order to be Google searchable, and to have easily updatable CMS. Then we made a comprehensive research on a few trusted templates to see what they could offer us. A few factors were taken into consideration: speed, fluidity of the layout, code quality, number of recent updates, date of creation, amount of satisfied users and many more. After comparing the templates, The Ken WordPress theme came out on top as one of the best we’ve seen so far giving us the highest quality-price ratio.
Why did you choose The Ken over other themes? What do you think is the best feature of The Ken for professionals in your niche?
The Ken has it all. It includes all professional website solutions that we could possibly need. It’s easily customisable. and enables modern multimedia embedding, has the best plugin compatibility, and flexibility. Not to mention a wonderful, sleek design. Thanks to all of that, we can fully focus on content building and managing on-site and off-site SEO activities. The Ken template helped us implement changes on the go, building constant improvements and quickly reacting on any design-wise opinions. We trust that Artbees team will react on any possible optimisation improvements, to keep us ahead of our competition.
How do you think your The Ken based website will influence your business in the future?
In the upcoming months we’ll keep strengthening our marketing effort to set up stable top positions in most used search engines. We expect to raise a strong brand awareness through the web, to support our sales activities. I also believe we’ve already built more thrust and interest in the past couple of months than through all last year with our previous website. We’re working hard to keep this rising trend for 2016 as well.
Do you have any other advice to give to your fellow professionals?
Know your business needs. Carry out proper research. Consult your ideas. Focus on creating stable ground (content is king) before diving into off-site SEO. Strive to improve your website, and don’t lose interest in it (there is always space for improvement, so don’t forget to note any ideas that can be implemented in the future). Most importantly, have fun with The Ken Template. Let it guide your creativity. It’s really worth it.
Thank you to Grzegorz for taking the time to tell us how changing to WordPress and choosing The Ken template really helped them to achieve their branding goals. They spent time carrying out valuable research to ensure that The Ken was the best fit for them out of the factors we discussed earlier in the article. Their rebranding effort has had an apparent positive effect in their overall performance as a company. Being aware of how the base of your web builder can help you or hinder you in relation to SEO work and plugin compatibility, can really boost your ability to create a dynamic website, which can evolve with cutting edge design, and create the online presence you need.