The Complete Guide to Branding Your WordPress Website
Setting up a website on WordPress is easy. The abundance of free and Premium WordPress themes has made it a lot easier for website owners to setup professional looking websites within minutes. However, even these professional looking themes need to be properly branded to represent a business. In this post we will discuss a few things that you can do to rebrand your WordPress based website and make it your own.
Add a Logo to your WordPress Theme
The text in your website’s header is designed with CSS in your theme and it is not a replacement for a logo. A professional website is incomplete without a proper logo which portrays the unique brand identity of your website. Some people would argue in favor of using <h1>Title</h1> for its SEO value, but you can see for yourself that lots of popular websites are using graphic logos instead of HTML/CSS title and they are doing great on search engines. The people who designed your beautiful theme, added text based title because obviously they can’t add the same logo for everyone. If you check the source of your theme developer’s website you would be surprised to know that they don’t use CSS to create their own logos.
You can hire a professional logo designer or create one yourself. If you are using a Premium WordPress theme then the best place to find a logo designer is the support forums on your theme developer’s website. Hiring one from there ensures that the designer understands how this logo will be placed, the color scheme and layout limitations of your website. Alternatively, you can hire a professional design company, or a freelancer to do the job.
If you cannot afford a professional logo designer then you can always create your own. I have created my own ‘Text-Only’ logos using free web fonts and Inkscape. You can use Adobe illustrator if you want. Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator are vector graphics editors; you can create a vector logo and then export it into compressed bitmap image formats such as png or jpeg.
Now you may ask, that if I were to create ‘Text-Only’ logo, then why not just use that font to create the same logo with CSS? First, you will not get the same effect with the CSS across all browsers as you would get it by using a graphic image. Secondly, you can not use CSS on third party platforms, brochures, flyers, banners, etc. Who knows what kind of platforms and mediums you would be using in near future, using a vector graphic for logo means you can resize it without losing quality and use it across multiple platforms and mediums.
Add a Favicon to your WordPress
The tiny icon you see in your browser’s address bar and tab is called favicon. A favicon could be your logo or a tiny version of your logo using the same visual design elements as your logo or website. This tiny icon helps visitors recognize your website among the many tabs they have opened in their browsers.
There are many online websites that can help you generate a favicon from an image file. Ideally, a favicon is a 16x16px image in .ico format. You can create a larger image file of 200px X 200px and use an online favicon generator to convert it to a favicon.
Some WordPress theme developers add their own favicon with their themes, which is not cool. So before uploading your favicon you need to check your theme and the root folder of your website for favicon.ico and delete it. Now upload the favicon.ico you generated to the theme’s main folder and the root folder of your website.
Most modern browsers automatically detect and display favicon.ico but just to be on safe side add this line to your theme’s header.php file after the <head> tag:
<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”<?php bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’); ?>/favicon.ico” />
Re-branding the WordPress Admin Area
If you are running a website where users are required to sign in or register to contribute then you should consider modifying and rebranding the admin area of your WordPress installation. WpLift has covered this topic very well. Check out ‘10 Codes for your Functions.php to Manage The WordPress Admin‘, or ‘How to change the logo on your WordPress Login Page‘. You may also want to check out WordPress documentation on ‘Creating Admin Themes‘.
Branding Beyond your Website
I am not asking you to change the colors of Twitter, Facebook buttons on your website. Because honestly these super brands have a strong image and you can benefit more by using that brand power on your website. However, what you can do is to make sure that these graphics, icons and buttons on your website are well placed, compliment the design, create no confusion and look appealing.
Rebrand your social profile pages with custom backgrounds, your logo, a larger image of your favicon and the colors you have used on your website. See how popular brands use Twitter and Facebook customizations to maintain their brand identity on third party platforms.
The Power of About Page
The “About” page is probably the most powerful page on any website. Sadly, people don’t treat it that way. Web is full of websites with uninteresting “About” pages. This single page on your website could be the most powerful page to develop new business relations. Use it to highlight your brand by telling everything about it.
- Introduce people behind the website and the business. Add photos if possible.
- Do not hesitate to create sub-pages.
- Talk about the history of the website and the brand; discuss the vision you have in your mind for your business and the website.
- Videos work like a charm so if you have made an introductory video about your brand, business or product then add that video on your about page.
- Add testimonials from clients, colleagues and professionals.
- Add contact information with a link to your website’s contact page.
Creating an interesting, informative, and detailed “About us” page would give an impression of transparency and pride. Customers trust businesses that are open and proud about what they are doing. This page can also be used as a reminder to yourself about what your values are, and what goals you want to achieve in the future.
Maintain Design Consistency
Consistency in design is an important aspect of how you manage your brand online. The purpose of whole brand development process is to create a memorable user experience with a pleasant visual image. Once you have set up your WordPress site and started adding content to it, your website becomes live and starts to shape up. New requirements will arise and you may want to add things or change existing templates.
It is your job to maintain a consistency in design. When adding anything to your website you need to ask yourself “does it matches and blends in perfectly with my website?” if it does not, then you need to figure out how to add it without losing design consistency. All these share widgets sure look good but you need to understand that you cannot add them everywhere. Not all plugins are good for your website. Not all buttons and banners are appropriate.
To maintain the design consistency you need to make sure that all pages of your WordPress website use the same colors, themes and style. In fact, to strengthen your brand further more you need to use the same colors, style and logo on your social profiles and everywhere else. The purpose of this practice is to associate these style elements and visual combinations with your brand so that your visitors and customers start recognizing your brand by its visual identity. This increases their trust level which converts into sales and word of mouth marketing for you.
The Most Important Step to Build a Better Brand
Remember that creating a better brand depends entirely on what you are offering. Create quality product, offer great content, design usable and accessible websites and you are good to go. Make sure you are accessible to people visiting your website to answer their questions. Interact with visitors to get real time feedback and make improvements based on this feedback. Nothing strengthens brand image more than a quality product and excellent support.