Design Strategy / Web Design

Web design doesn’t end with going live

My work at the Severn Agency sees me dealing with a lot of businesses who need me to create branding for them, and one big part of that is getting their website built, starting with the initial design and layout, bringing in their branding to make sure that it all ties in and looks good. A lot of time is spent on this element, because ultimately, a company’s website is where all of the other online stuff leads to – things like social media, email campaigns, and even printed material, all eventually lead customers to a website, so getting it spot on is essential.

I’ve said it before – the online world changes, evolves, advances at a rapid rate. Even in the last 5 years, the design and function of websites and social media are very different to what they were. And businesses need to understand that websites are no longer those static, non-moving pages they once were. They need to be constantly updated, and interactive.

SEO Friendly web design

In designing a website, one of the main contributing factors is that of SEO. Of course, from a design perspective, it’s vital that the site looks professional, and includes all the elements needed to attract and keep visitors on it for as long as possible, and decrease bounce rates (how quickly a visitor leaves the site altogether).

In order to keep those bounce rates low, and to maintain the interest of our visitors, we cannot simply rely on the initial design and static content of the site – although this is just as important to get right.

These days, there is a huge emphasis on interaction, and I think that this is the key to a good website, and sadly, one which many businesses fail to understand.

In order to succeed, a website has to remain fresh and current. Perhaps that is why blogging has become one of the most dominant forms of web content – people will return to read updated content in a niche that they have an interest in, much like a newspaper or magazine.

So from an SEO perspective, having current content such as this, will be favoured by search engines, enabling your site to be found more easily.

Social integration

Even before your website is at the design stage, it’s really worth thinking about how you’re going to drive traffic to it – like I said before, no-one is going to ‘fall upon’ your website unless you work on driving them to it.

It’s important that your branding includes all of your social media platforms, because it’s from here that people will initially get to know you. Integrating your social media with your website, writing regular content such as blogs or newsfeeds, and creating newsletters and emails are all part of the web design process, and are all important in getting your brand noticed.

I can’t tell you how often I’m asked to design a website, where the client hasn’t considered any of this – they simply want a website that will sit there and bring in the customers. They don’t consider all of the work that needs to go into it after it goes live.

Where design fits in with SEO

When we think about SEO, we consider things such as keywords, meta tags, titles and names – but design can do so much to help your rankings too.

For example, when you are using images for your website, whether they are product photographs, images to accompany blog posts, or any images which are used to illustrate your website, it’s important to consider that large images which ‘drag down’ the loading time of your site will have a negative impact on your search ranking. Therefore, having images of the correct size is vital.

Also, make sure that you are placing written tags within the ‘alt text’ section, which will also be considered for SEO reasons. Search engines will look for correlation between the images you use and the written content on the page.

All of this is just scratching the surface – there is much more that goes in to creating and maintaining an SEO friendly website. If you are in the process of updating your own business website, and you’d like to learn more about driving traffic, implementing new design elements, or overall branding, please feel free to contact us at the Severn Agency – we’d be happy to offer advice.

Branding / Graphic Design / Logo Design / Rebranding

Branding – it’s more than just a logo

Some people think that when they start a business, they just need a simple logo, a half decent website, and customers will come in droves. However, there’s so much more to it than that – these days, competition between businesses is sharp, and in order to stand out, and to succeed, your branding needs to be strong.

Since starting the Severn Agency, I’ve seen my fair share of branding, and in fact, when I’ve had the opportunity to work with new businesses in creating their branding as a whole, that’s when I’ve been able to create some of my best work. I talked about this a bit in my last article, where I told you about how I came to create the branding for a local wine bar.

So, let’s think about this in a slightly wider sense – how, as a small business, or a start-up, do you begin with creating a brand?

What branding isn’t

People often mistake the logo for a brand. They believe that by designing a simple logo, choosing some pretty colours and an image that vaguely represents what they’re about, their work is done, and they can sit back and wait for the customers to come.

Sorry to say, that won’t cut it. Your logo is just one tiny element in the whole branding process – and even that is so easy to get wrong.

I’ve seen so many mistakes made by companies who have put their logo on the top of a website, their social media outlets, and their printed material, and then have failed to recognise that the rest of their image is so shoddy and inconsistent that it just ends up falling flat – and when it does, any potential customers are turned off and take their money elsewhere.

Branding takes thought. It needs to reflect who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. And all of those things need to be apparent to anyone who reads your content online, sees your social media posts, or receives an email or brochure from you. If they visit your premises, they should immediately know where they are, because they recognise your branding.

What branding is

If I had to sum up what branding is in one word: consistency. Your brand should be instantly recognisable, whether you’re seen online, in print, or on the high street.

As a branding agency, I consider the whole business. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that learning about the personality of the business, who you are, and what you represent, is always my first priority. Because without that, I can’t imagine what your brand will be.

I need to know the essence of what your company is, and only then can I start to put together what your branding should look like.

So, what do I mean by branding? The logo, although it’s an element, is not necessarily where I begin. Branding encapsulates the entire image – and that includes many elements, from the colours that you use, the fonts and image styles, the tone and voice portrayed in all of your content. It’s all of the visual elements, the corporate style, even the materials you use for your printed content.

Branding and design

Design is more than just an image – it’s the ambassador of your brand. As such, your branding should communicate your message, and that’s really where a branding designer comes in.

A good branding agency will be able to establish your brand personality, and pull everything together to make it visually beautiful, appealing, and most importantly, consistent.

And in doing so, no matter what medium your customers choose to find you, it will be immediately obvious by your branding who you are.

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