Making your brand memorable to consumers is a monumental task. You must compete against all the other companies out there clamoring for attention. The typical buyer expects a certain level of sophistication from your website. However, you must think beyond standard features and offer the unexpected. If you want to truly stand out, you must give users what they didn’t even know they wanted.
There are approximately 1.73 billion websites in the world. The number fluctuates by the second, and not all of those sites are active at any given time. Since the first website went live back in August 1991, the World Wide Web has changed a lot. Those first, simple pages filled with text and a few images would never cut it in today’s mobile, high-tech world.
Since branding is all about how the outside world sees you, take a step back and look at your website through a visitor’s perspective. Here are six web design features you should either improve or add if you really want to make an impact:
- 1. Link to Social Media
One of the first things you should do as you move toward a more customer-centric design is to ensure your pages are digital marketing-friendly.
Start by using keywords that are highly relevant to your business. Make it simple for users to share your site on social media. Every year, more and more people join social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. They often find content and connect with brands via these social sharing sites. Make it easy for them to share what you have to offer or find you via social media.
Silly Goats Soap Company features a blog on their website and they invite users to share their articles on social media. They make sure the articles fall within their specialty areas (natural goat milk soap) and are filled with important information that people will want to dole out to others.
- 2. Focus on Your Logo
Many websites hide their logo in a tiny area in the upper left corner of their page. However, your logo should be the first thing people see when they land on your site. The upper left is a good location, but make it larger, bolder, and more noticeable if you want to brand your company in the mind of visitors. You may even want to add some animation to your logo to draw attention to it. Your logo should obviously be clickable.
In addition to making sure your logo is the first thing site visitors notice, you should also be consistent in how you use your logo online. Create a style guide that highlights the size, colors, and placement of your logo on your website and on social media. If you send out a newsletter, how can you maintain that consistency? Be very strategic in how you use your brand’s image.
- 3. Relocate Your Menu
Traditionally, menus are located horizontally across the top of a website. This is a good location because it is where users expect your menu to be. What if you made your menu sticky and it followed users down the page? Would it become more functional and help enhance your image as a customer-centered brand?
Another idea is to locate your menu in one of the sidebars rather than horizontally or tucking it into a hidden hamburger menu so it only appears when clicked on. This still keeps the feature near the top of the page but frees up space for beautiful typography.
NTS Unitek features a hamburger menu on their website. When you click on the hamburger icon or the word “Menu,” a side menu appears with navigation options. Placing the menu to the side offers more space to showcase images and puts the focus on important features such as the call to action (CTA) button.
- 4. Add Interactivity
With so many different websites on the internet, grabbing the attention of users isn’t easy. Anything you can do to add a level of interactivity to your site and engage users puts you ahead of the competition.
You could add a video in the background, create mouseover features, or add animations that do various things as the user interacts with them. This builds your business name because users hang around on your site longer and tend to remember how unique it was.
The Geek Designer features large moving type on the landing page. As you scroll over the letters, they light up in colors and play video game-like sounds. The overall design of this site is pretty simple. There aren’t a lot of options to click on. As a result, it is quite easy for the page to entertain and retain users.
- 5. Use Horizontal and Parallax Scrolling
One of the hot trends of last year, and likely into 2020, is parallax and horizontal scrolling. Users expect a screen to go down, but mobile device usage seems to be pushing the swipe rather than the scroll. The result is websites that do the unexpected and in doing so create interest for the user. You think the screen is going down and then realize an image is enlarging, fading or scrolling to the side. It creates a beautiful, modern effect that shows your organization is in the modern age.
Okains Bay Seafood Ltd has an absolutely beautiful website. When you land on their home page, you see a view of the ocean with their brand name at the top and the word “Dedication” in large type. Start to scroll and the image enlarges to eventually show a fishing boat as the words change, fade and adjust. It shows the brand may be in a traditional line of work but that they understand the importance of living in today.
- 6. Include Your UVP
What is your brand’s unique value proposition, or UVP? Is your website highlighting what you offer that none of your competitors do? The images you use, the words you choose, and even the features on your site should all point back to what makes you unique as a company and why users should choose you over every other business out there.
- Tweak Features Regularly
Once you’ve checked the six elements above, your work isn’t done. Building your brand is an ongoing process. Add new elements to your site as it makes sense to do so. Run control groups to see how well your brand message resonates. Adjust and continue the process, improving your site and your image year after year.
Lexie is a graphic designer and UX strategist. She enjoys taking her goldendoodle on walks and checking out flea markets. Visit her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner