5 CHEAP Ways to Brand Your Website Today

brandDoes your website give off a branded vibe, or does it fail here? I hope it’s not falling short, because I think you already have an idea how important branding is to any business, online or off. But if that’s not enough, I’m here to tell you now’s an extremely crucial time to establish it for SEO purposes too.

Here’s just a couple of major reasons why.

1. A few years ago Google rolled out an algorithm change known as the “Brand Update”, which affected numerous sites world-wide. Google officially named it “Vince”, but most SEOs refer to it as the Brand Update, after seeing how dramatically the search results changed in favor of brand names.

2. Next there came the Panda updates, which hit a few of my unbranded sites pretty hard.

3. Then more recently a newer version of the Google Quality Raters Handbook was secretly released, further confirming suspicions that manual reviewers are visiting our websites. So when a search quality rater was quoted saying:

“With a recognized brand name like that, it wasn’t hard to determine quality.”

I knew it was urgent for me to take a major step back and view my active projects through the eyes of an average visitor and Google quality rater.

What I realized was I was spending a lot of time on a handful of sites that looked really bad at first glance. They had no logos, no company information, and no reputability to them. Even though they are only project websites, they are making me a few bucks and I had already invested a decent amount of time in them. So I’d be very disappointed if they got dinged, some of them even further, because I didn’t take just a few moments to make them look like they’re for real.

I started thinking about the quickest ways to improve them without spending too much time or cash.

And came up with these super simple and effective steps.

1. Get a Branded Logo

It’s amazing how many websites don’t have logos. A logo is almost always the first thing a visitor sees when they visit your site. So why not start them off with a good first impression. It will definitely help your site look trustworthy and established.

Surprisingly, you can get a professionally designed logo done for almost nothing these days. I was able to get a nice one done through Fiverr for only $5 bucks!

That goes for eBook covers and a ton of other great stuff too.

2. Customize Your Subscribe Box

Can you immediately tell when you visit a website that’s using one of those Aweber subscribe box templates? If you’ve been around awhile, then surely you will spot them every time.

When you see one, what the first thing that comes to your mind? Amateurish. Not Serious. SPAM site.

It’s not that I dislike Aweber or their templates, but they definitely stand out like a sore thumb. Because they rarely match up with any website’s theme, and probably look identical to ones you’ve already seen before.

If you’re using one of them, then do yourself a for and go over to oDesk to get yourself a custom box made. It shouldn’t cost you more than $10 bucks. Or you can do it yourself if you want to.

3. Link Your Social Media Profiles

If I’m looking for a service, or any type of information, and visit a site I’ve never heard of before, I almost always look for their social media icon links. They’re usually front and center. But if I can’t find them quickly I usually assume it’s a ghostwriter or scraper website and leave it right away.

4. Add an “About Us” Page

An About Us page is another easy way to brand your website for little to no cost. Whenever you’re serious about establishing your business online, or at least giving the impression you are, you really should at least create yourself a quick About Us page. Simply write a couple paragraphs and include some company information if possible. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.

5. Include a Personal Photo

When you include a photograph of your office, staff or yourself, it can really help establish your site as an authoritative resource. Just seeing a photo of what looks like “the company” gives users a warm and fuzzy feeling. There’s a sense that someone is actually vouching for the products, services or information provided there. This can be an extremely effective tool when it comes to converting visitors. Think along the lines of “Social Proof”.

There’s really a ton of things you can to improve a website by establishing its brand. These are just a few things that I’ve done recently, which you can do right away too.

A well-branded website can almost always expect to get:

  • More repeat visitors
  • Higher sales volumes
  • Better search engine rankings
  • More pageveiws
  • A favorable reputation
  • Increased social shares
  • More backlinks
  • Higher prices
  • Trust

And plenty of others too.

So I hope by now you take branding seriously, because I definitely feel a shift in the times, and am certain it’ll continue to get harder to gain momentum online if you don’t have one.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a company, personal or project website. It will be the best few bucks you’ve ever spent.

So what are some of your best tips for building a better branded website on a tight budget?

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  • February 9th, 2012 at 9:44 am jd said:

    Good list, Wes.
    Fiverr is a decent place to get a logo, however most there are not that good. We finally found someone there that thinks…’BlueStorm’…unfortunately he is hard to contact @ times..still in school

    I read somewhere that Google expects to see the following pages on a site or they don’t think it is a serious business site…’about us’, ‘contact’, ‘terms’, ‘privacy’ and ‘return/refund’

    Thought about photos, but mine makes me think of ‘Wes Craven’ movies :-) )

    Wes how about adding in the ‘keyword luv’ plugin for this comments box?

  • February 9th, 2012 at 11:06 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Hey JD!

    Yeah, I can imaging Fiverr is sometimes a hit and miss. When I tested the service out for the first time I definitely had low expectations. So when the designer sent me my logo I almost walked away right then because it looked like crap, and that’s what I had already set myself up for because it was only $5.

    But, I decided to instead let them know how I felt, and they just asked me to be crystal clear as to what I wanted the design to look like. When I got the second draft back the very next day, it was perfect!

    As I continued to use the service for other items, I just made sure to be very detailed in my directions to the sellers. Since then I’ve had several awesome eBook covers done, which are way better than the one I did myself for this blog.

    Feel free to message me in the contact form if you would like to know who I’ve used.

    I too have read that Google expects to see some of those pages. I can’t remember if I ever found any evidence of its truth, but figure the safest bet it to go ahead and implement relevant items anyway.

    In regards to a photo, I think you can get away with using a stock photo too. The idea is to find a way to make you visitors feel like there’s a real person behind the site.

    I decided not to use keyword luv or similar because I figured it will be harder to tell if I need to imporove the content of the site or not. Too many people will be visiting just for the links, which will make difficult to tell where I need to make improvements for the people who are genuinely looking for helpful tips.

  • February 13th, 2012 at 3:34 am SEO Services said:

    There are so many websites which usually don’t bother about logo, however with logo so many visitors are attracted towards the website as it makes the site attractive and give good impression as well.

  • April 9th, 2012 at 4:07 am craig said:

    It’s good to see that proper branding is a global experience and relevant for all types an sizes of business. Unfortunately SEO does not always go hand in glove with what we have learned about branding – we jump around following our mistress Google and sometimes forget basic business principles.

  • April 9th, 2012 at 8:23 am Wesley LeFebvre said:

    Very true. That was definitely one of the biggest mistakes I made when starting a business online. I’m still backtracking.

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