It’s no secret that a brand website is critical for growing and reaching a wider audience, and a great website can have a huge impact on building credibility and setting your business up for success.
This may seem obvious, but over 30% of small businesses still don’t have one. There are so many different things a website can help your brand accomplish—from building credibility to making sure customers know where to find you online. Even if you already have a website, consider doing an audit to see what works and what isn’t working for your company. Doing this helps illuminate features that might be missing or outdated, and gives you a clear idea of how to move forward with your next project so that you get the most bang for your buck!
Regardless, the internet is a big place and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the options out there. The good news? You don’t need to spend countless hours trying to figure it all out on your own! We’ve put together a few website-building tactics that will set you on the path toward creating a great site that will help elevate your brand’s image, increase traffic to your business, and improve the bottom line.
When you’re making and updating your company website, you want to be sure that everything you create is as good as it can possibly be. That way when people visit your site, they feel like they’re interacting with something real—something that’s been cared for and crafted by people who LOVE what they do.
A slick design is great and all, but will it appeal to your audience and answer their questions? If you don’t know who is visiting your site, how can you make sure they’re getting what they need? Spend some time thinking about who visits your site and what they might be looking for while browsing it—and then make sure those things are there! Understanding key demographic information enables your brand to develop relevant messages, designs, and other content that speaks directly to your customers. (And also think about how to make sure those things are better than anything else out there.)
There are a few ways we recommend a website be built or updated, whether it’s one person or a team of ten, here are the most common ways to develop and update a website.
If you’re a small business, or an emerging brand, it’s likely that you don’t have the budget to invest in a full-blown website. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get started off on the right foot!
Using a website builder is one of the easiest and most affordable ways for a small team to create and update their website. A website builder helps you create a simple and professional-looking site with ease by letting you choose from a variety of templates, then add images, text, and other content without needing any coding knowledge or design experience. And if your needs change over time, you can easily transition from one builder to another without having to worry about transferring your content across platforms. In addition to this, most website builders offer integrations with email marketing providers such as MailChimp or Constant Contact so that you can send out opt-in emails to your subscribers. Check out a list of website builders here. You can also check out this article for some tips on how to make sure your site is optimized for search engines, aka SEO.
It may sound too good to be true, but YES, it is possible to build a website that’s 100% free. Various forms of website builders offer free versions, and these are often great tools to get started, although it should be noted that these free versions often lack the full functionality of a typical brand website. One thing to also consider is that, because it’s free, other businesses may also be on the same template. Consider using these free resources for things like landing pages, info forms, or promotions. Because continuity is important, be sure to use templates that incorporate your brand’s colors and feel. These types of pages don’t need to be a carbon copy of the main site and may even provide inspiration that could help you expand how you design other marketing elements.
While it’s likely not in your brand’s best interest to go the free route, if website creation isn’t in the budget free website creation is an option that can, at the very least, serve as a starting point for getting small and emerging brands off the ground.
What’s the best way to create a professional, fully functional website- with all the bells and whistles??
The simple answer- hire a web designer. Here’s why…
If the size and complexity of your brand requires a professional, detailed, and multi-functional website, hiring a web designer is probably your best bet. This is especially true for medium and large-sized brands with multiple locations. If you’re not comfortable doing it all yourself, hiring a web designer or team of web designers can make all the difference. You’ll have someone else to help you figure out what you want and need for your site, and then can make revisions in real-time as you go. Whichever route you choose, your website will largely depend on your brand’s specific goals and budget.
A recent study by Google found that 52% of all searches come from mobile devices, so it’s important to make sure your site is responsive and easy to navigate on any device.
Video content has been found to increase engagement by 80%, so adding videos to your site will help drive more traffic to it.
Creating a website can be a daunting task, it wasn’t easy for us, and we’re marketing experts,, but the results speak for themselves… check out the before and after of our website!
The redesign of our website was a massive undertaking, and updates are an ongoing project as we continue to refine our branding and optimize the site experience to match. But luckily, we’re learning things along the way that we’d love to share with you!
Next time you’re updating your website, keep these tips in mind:
This seems simple, and it is! Just think about your brand for a second. What’s the story behind how you came to be? What’s your mission? How are you different?
When we first started our website build we thought about our solution and our clients- we help multi-location and franchise brands and we know how to solve complex brand growth challenges. Growing quickly is incredibly difficult when a brand has hundreds or thousands of locations and not enough support. An internal marketing department only has so much bandwidth, so that’s where UMI jumps in. By providing services that connect corporate brand teams with their franchise owners and operators, we power communications quickly, then highlight cost savings and operation efficiencies along the way .
Once you’ve got the “who you are” nailed down, think about where you WANT to be. Discuss company-wide goals with your team and align on where you see yourself (your brand) in the next 5-10 years. Your site should be a step ahead of where your brand is today and speak to where you are going. You want to really put some thought into future-proofing your site and sticking with a message that will remain consistent as you grow.
You’ve determined who you are, and where you want to go. Now, focus on your customers! If you want to provide the best online experience, one that highlights your amazing products and/or services, it is important to think about how prospective customers might feel when visiting your site. When we say feel, we’re really talking about the sensation someone gets reading the copy and engaging with the design elements of your site. Think about who your target audience is and ask yourself what kind of experience connects to them. You want to reach people where they are and make it easy for them to learn and know about you and what you do. If you are trying to appeal to an older, professional audience you probably won’t feature flashy imagery and slang in your copy. On the other side, if your ideal customer is millennial or Gen Z you may want to brush up on your Walker Hayes dances and make sure your Tiktok is front row center!
Updating your site is easiest to complete in sections. We started with our homepage, then moved to our team page (talking about our company and our people was easy!), followed by our services page. When working in blocks it’s always better to start with the easy stuff first, it creates a sense of accomplishment before you dive into pieces that are more complex or might take longer to complete.
Starting here seemed like a no-brainer for us. We recognized when people search our name or find us online they’re likely to initially land on our homepage. Using a built-in site analytics tool can help you determine where visitors are spending their time. The homepage should be focused on presenting who you are, what you offer, and why your brand is the best at what it does.
This page is extremely important because sharing the individual personalities that make up who we are, and the people that carry out the services we provide, makes all the difference in how we go to market. According to recent data, photos of people on a website have a positive impact on perceived trustworthiness and also enhance your emotional connection with site visitors. We added an extra layer of fun and pizazz with caricatures that appear when employee headshots are moused over.
Here was an opportunity to really showcase what we offer our clients in a unique way. There’s an array of interactive buttons that outline our different services and there’s an animated carousel of client testimonials below that adds to our overall credibility. The first two questions that any prospective client will ask are “What do you offer that I need?” and “Who do you work with, and are they like me?”. What things do your customers always ask about? Consider adding those things in easy-to-find places on your website.
Let’s recap- A website is an essential part of any modern business, and it’s one of the most important tools for attracting and converting customers. It can also help you reach more people (people who look like your existing customers) and that’s great for increasing sales! Whether your brand is large or small, having a website is only a small piece of the puzzle. Knowing how to utilize it is where the real fun starts. Hopefully, these tips help you and your brand reach a wider audience and improve conversions.
As a true extension of your marketing team, UMI offers dedicated client support and a web development team that takes pride in delivering the highest level of service to every one of our clients. We’ll build a powerful brand hub for your brand to utilize internally but we’ve also been known to offer our insights and expertise as you build your customer-facing website too.
Want to learn more about what UMI can do for your growing brand? Click here to set up a meet and greet with an expert!
Stay tuned for more brand-boosting strategies in parts 3 & 4 coming next month…