How to Start a Brand Website That Communicates Your Brand Identity

By
Sarah Leung
January 29, 2015

For wholesalers with a brand in its early stages, launching a new website can be a challenge. The prospect of launching a new website that clearly and strongly establishes the essence of your brand? Daunting. Your brand website will likely be the first stop retailers will make when they look into your brand online. They’ll be searching for high quality content, images, and detailed product information that all work together to effectively communicate who you are and the value you offer. Whether your brand doesn’t yet have an online presence or it needs a major facelift, here are some tips to make sure your site looks professional.

How to Start a Brand Website

1. Choosing Your Domain Name

Your domain name is your virtual address--the place where retailers, consumers, and curious onlookers will find you online. You want to choose a domain name that’s simple, memorable, and unique. Your domain should:

  • Match the name of your brand: This is the first step in establishing a cohesive brand identity online. If your domain is completely different from your brand name, it will be unnecessarily difficult for people to find your site.
  • Be unique: This can be a challenge, especially if your brand name is already similar to that of another existing brand. Do your research. If your brand is still in its very early stages, it might make sense to think of a new name.
  • Be easy to type and remember: Avoid numbers, hyphens and any other special characters. Also try to stay away from overly long domains, as well as odd spellings that people may have trouble remembering.
  • End in .com: Other domain suffixes like .net or .biz are not as widely used, and can appear unprofessional.

As a final note, if your domain name is already registered by someone else, avoid any suggested alternative domain names provided by the domain registrar or hosting service. They will add hyphens, extra characters, and other domain suffixes to your original domain name. Though these alternatives may be available, they’re more than likely not worth registering. If your brand is still young, you might want to consider changing the name. It might also be a possibility to purchase the domain you want.

2. Designing Your Website

Your brand website’s look and feel is likely to be a retailer’s first impression of your brand. That visual identity should stay consistent across all of your marketing channels, whether they’re in print or online. If this website is your first step towards establishing your brand’s visual identity, it will have broader implications for all of your future marketing material. That’s a lot of pressure on the design of your site. Depending on your budget, you might be deciding between hiring a web designer and using a pre-made theme. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Themes are cheap and easily modified right out of the box, but they don’t give you as much creative freedom. Web designers, on the other hand, can be given creative direction and cater more to your specific needs, but they can be costly (especially if you’ve never worked with a designer before and have trouble articulating what you want). It all depends on your budget and how clear your vision is for the design. If you feel like you know exactly what your website should look like and could express those ideas clearly to a designer if given the chance, finding a great web designer to work with might be the best option. If, on the other hand, you don’t have the budget to spend a couple thousand dollars on a new website, a great theme will do just fine. There are literally hundreds of themes made for Wordpress, which is a great platform to run your website on, especially if you’ll be managing the site yourself. Just make sure that the theme has great reviews and clean code, so you won’t run into problems later. Squarespace is another great option. They can host your website and offer a selection of clean, modern themes.

3. Showcasing High Impact Imagery

For any wholesale business, high quality product images can very well be the most important visual elements on your brand website. They can set the tone for your brand, quickly demonstrate who your target customer is, and inform the kind of lifestyle your products fit into. If you have to hire a professional photographer in order to get really high quality product and promotional images, go for it. If your business doesn’t have the budget for both a professional photographer and a web designer, it’s probably better to go for the photographer. Many available themes do an amazing job of showcasing your images, while also providing a clean template for any text you want to include. Of course, once you have a photographer on board, don’t just “leave it to the professionals” to figure out what to do. A great way to figure out what you want and let them know what you’re looking for is to research other websites. Find product photography that you want to emulate on your own site, and create a mood board or portfolio to show them. Tell them about your brand’s “personality,” so that they’ll be able to help you communicate that through images. Finally, be sure to get a good look at their portfolio. You want to see that they’ve done similar work in the past.

4. Setting Up the Homepage

The biggest advice we can offer about your homepage is to keep it clean. Be sure that the site is easily navigable and engaging customers to dive in. Also avoid showing any pricing or overt “sales talk” on the home page. You’re trying to communicate your brand identity, values, and voice in order to start a conversation with retailers and anyone else perusing the site. On product pages, you can delve deeper into providing product information and pricing.

5. Telling Your Brand’s Story

It’s best to include a well-written “About” section on your website. This is the page on which you get to share your brand’s story, values, mission, etc. Retailers and end customers alike want to know who’s behind the products you’re selling. Today’s customers want to see transparency and authenticity from their brands. Introduce them to the people running the show and the story of how the company came to be. Your goal is to create a sense of trust and enthusiasm in your readers.

6. Blogging

A blog can help your company market to retailers by establishing your brand’s unique voice and communicating your values to readers. It’s a forum on which you can initiate a dialog with consumers, establish your brand as a market leader, and create a wide variety of content to promote your products. By driving more visitors to your site, it can also be a way to boost your SEO (search engine optimization) ranking. Keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can also help you optimize your content for search engines. Create an editorial calendar or schedule of planned blog posts to get started and make sure your content is targeted towards your intended audience. Make your blog posts entertaining and useful to bring in more readers, and be sure to have an interesting mix of content. If you’re a lifestyle brand, for instance, you can include blog posts that tell customer stories or highlight how your products fit into their everyday lives. If you’re a food & beverage brand, you can include recipes and cooking advice. These quick ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Use your blog to respond to customer concerns, post content from industry experts, or provide exclusive information that makes your readers feel like “insiders.” Including a blog on your website that engages readers can go a long way towards establishing credibility with retailers.   There you have it. Our tips on creating your budding wholesale brand’s website. Once you have your website down, it’s smart to also think about providing an online portal through which retailers can place orders online. More on that in future posts. Questions? Let us know in the comments!