website wireframe

One of the hardest things about starting a business is figuring out what needs to be done first. There’s so much to do. It all feels critical. And to make it more confusing, it feels like you can’t finish some things before you do other things first.

You’re going to want a website for your business. Your website can be as simple as showing the information you’d have on a business card or brochure or can be interactive and ready for online transactions.

But you can’t create your website until you understand the critical elements of your brand. When you build a website without this understanding, you get frustrated and go around in circles.

A clear message about your value

Learning to talk or write clearly and succinctly about your business takes practice. At first, it may take you a long time to describe your product or service, and your description may confuse people. It would be best if you had a straightforward way of describing what you sell or do and why you’re different or better than other businesses offering similar products or services.

You can distill what you do and what’s unique about it into what can be called a Unique Value Proposition. Being able to say or write this quickly will help you know what to write as a headline for your website.

A logo is not required for your first website

Do you need a logo to have a website? No.

Your logo will usually determine your brand colors. But if you plan to have a logo designed, do it first. Whatever color or colors are in your logo should be used within the website design. Or, even if the design introduces additional colors, they should complement the logo.

It’s not a good idea to design a website and then place a new logo at the end. It’s often the wrong size, color, shape, or style when you take that approach.

You need a uniform visual style.

You don’t need a logo for your first website; you can type your business name, but you need brand colors and fonts to design a website.

These visual styles should match other items you use in your marketing, such as social media posts, brochures, menus, etc.

It’s better to decide on your visual style first and then design your website, rather than choosing a template or theme for a website and building your brand around that.

Photography or other imagery

A website with only words can look pretty dull. You’ll likely want to use stock or product photography to make your website more appealing.

It can be tough to design a website without the photos on hand. Here are some excellent places to find low-cost photography for your site.

If you’ve tried to use a template or theme for your website, you know that they nearly always rely on amazing photographs. When you try to swap in your photos using a different style, angle, or color palette, they feel out of place.

Knowing the size, shape, and number of photographs you have to work with upfront will make it easier to create your site.

Who your ideal client is

Sample Ideal Client Profile
Branding Compass will help you build an Ideal Customer Profile like this one.

Understanding who is most likely to come to your website and be interested in buying from or working with you is critical to creating a successful website.

Creating an ideal client profile may not feel like part of your branding efforts, but until you know who your ideal client is, you can’t make an on-target brand or an effective website.

Your website should attract your ideal client with your imagery and words. Most importantly, you want to connect with your customers by discussing their hopes and fears. Your perfect prospect should feel like you are talking directly to them and know them.

Work on your brand first, then your website

Unfortunately, many small business owners make the mistake of choosing a template for their website without fully understanding their brand first. This is backward.

You should be clear about your vision for your brand first and then turn that into a website.

Branding Compass can help you turn the thoughts in your head into concrete ideas for your brand’s visuals. It can also help you create a Unique Value Proposition and Ideal Client Profile, which you can refer to as you build your site.