Branding A Website

When making a website, it is very important to consider branding. If you want the website to be memorable and recognizable to it’s visitors, there needs to be a level of consistency and impact across the whole site. To do this, I have a few suggestions to follow below:

1. Logo and Favicon: Designing a logo can be very difficult, but it is incredibly important. The logo will serve as a reminder to your user, wherever in your site they may be, that they are on YOUR site. Any print materials that reference the website should also have that logo to help your users with that association. If you are designing a logo yourself, try doing it in black and white first, then add color, because it should be able to stand on it’s own without color. Keep it simple too. Some of the most recognizable logos (like IBM or Apple) couldn’t get any simpler. Once you’ve done that, don’t forget to create a favicon! The favicon is that tiny 16×16 pixel icon that shows up in your favorites/bookmarks list, browser tabs, and sometimes the URL textbox too. To turn any square icon into a favicon, use this favicon generator. Then, include the following in your head:

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="images/favicon.ico" />

2. Color Scheme: Picking a color scheme is really important for your branding. You want to select a small set of colors that remain consistent across your website, logo, and any print materials that are related to the website. I’d suggest first selecting a single color and then if it is easier for you, you can use color scheme generators that are available for free online. There are tons out there, but I’ve found a few for you here: Color Scheme Designer, Color Schemer, or Color Toy.

3. WWW Redirect: This phrase refers to how your website appears whenever you market it off the website, as well as the actual URL you actively use to point to your website. Any website can be written as both OR Any user can type either one, and you’ll end up at the same place. However, it is important to select one and stick with it for two reasons. One, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post about SEO, I explained that search engines can actually see those two different URLs as two different websites, which reduces your traffic, which reduces your search results. Two, selecting one of these will help your users remember the site, and reduce any confusion with the less computer literate. FYI, here’s how you force your website to use the www version or the non-www version:

Insert the following into your .htaccess file:
The WWW Version (

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

The Non-WWW Version (

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.yourdomain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

In both cases, remember to replace "yourdomain" with your actual domain name.

Well, that’s all for now. Good luck!

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