One of our biggest fears as small business owners is that our business will not appear professional and legit to others. We worry that it will look like we did it ourselves or that it won't reach the right ideal client. There are several things you can do to make sure that your brand and website come across as professional and well thought out. I wanted to share with you 5 things that could be making your brand and website look unprofessional and how you can fix those things today.
Busy + cluttered
Is your website busy and hard to navigate? Does your brand and logo have too much going on? If your brand and website are busy and cluttered it could turn off people from your business. One of the biggest things you can do to look more professional is to keep everything clean and simple. I'm a big advocate for simple logos and layout and a lover of white space because of this. Having white space allows your design to breathe and makes it more visually appealing to the viewer.
To fix this problem, simplify your brand and website. Set aside a day to go through your website and take out things that are not necessary. Think about it from your visitor's perspective and what they want and need to see. Take them on a journey through your website and show them the most important and relevant information. Make sure that it is easy to navigate and understand. After you're done, ask a friend or random person to view your website and give you feedback. Ask them what their first impression is and if they understand what you do. The same can be said for your brand design. Simplify what you have first by taking out all the extra things.
Too many colors
Part of coming across as too busy comes from having too many colors. I usually recommend to my clients to choose 2 main brand colors with 2-3 accent colors to use throughout brand collateral and website. Sometimes more can work, but it's all about how the colors are used. I will rarely use more than 2 or 3 colors in a logo, and one of those is typically black or grey for a neutral. Too many colors is hard on the eyes and can make your brand and website look unprofessional. It can look like you are just using your favorite color of the day instead of sticking with an intentional brand design.
How many colors do you use in your brand and website? If you are using too many colors, or those colors are not complimenting each other well, start fresh. Work with a brand designer to create a set style and consistent color scheme for your business. Choose 2-3 colors that truly fit your brand and stick with them. Get rid of the rest.
Along those same lines, too many fonts can be detrimental too. I never use more than 3 fonts in a brand and typically that will include a serif, sans serif, and script or decorative font for variation. But again, it's all about how you use it. Best practice is to use one or two fonts in your logo and a third as accent or for emphasis on collateral or website. I always choose one main font over the others and use the other one or two as accent too. Too many fonts can have the same effect as too many colors. It can be hrs on the eyes and make it hard to read. Remember, simple is better.
Choose your favorite fonts and stick to those on everything. Make sure that you are using the same 2-3 fonts everywhere that your brand is represented. Also, decide which font will be your main font and which will be your accent fonts.
The quality of the photos that accompany your brand are just as important as he brand itself. A good brand and website can be ruined by bad photography. The photos you use are what show the quality of your work. This is especially true for product based businesses, but even for service based businesses too. If your photos are poorly lit, randomly arranged, and not on brand, you could be hurting yourself. There are so many great options out there these days for beautiful stock photography that will match your brand and look professional. And if you have a product to sell, it's important to get high quality images that show off your product.
Work with a professional photographer to get branded stock images that you can use on your website and marketing materials. For products, you can also overlay your product onto a stock image or work with a professional photographer to get quality shots of your products. If hiring a photographer is out of your budget, you can use free or affordable stock photos to freshen up your website and make it look more professional. Get rid of any iPhone photos with bad lighting and poor quality, and be sure to stick with the same color scheme and style for all of the images you use.
Unclear mission and message
If your message and mission are all over the place, you could be confusing your audience. If it is unclear what you do or why you do it, your business could come off as unorganized and unprofessional. By establishing a strong message and mission for your business you will be sure to communicate the right thing to your audience and your potential customers and clients. If you go back and forth from day to day on what you do, people will think of your business as more of a hobby that you do on a whim than a well established and professional business. A good rule of thumb is that if your business is confusing to you, it will be confusing to others.
Evaluate your brand and make sure that you have a clear message. Write out your mission and take it to the wall of your office. Make it visible and clear on your office. Constantly check each of your elements of your business against this and make sure that every word, image, and product or service coming from your business upholds this mission.
It is important that you pay attention to how your brand is coming across to others. You want to be sure that you are putting out the right message and appearing professional to others. These are just a few of the aspects of your business and brand that you can check to make sure that you are keeping things legit. The key is to remember that any touch point with your potential customers or clients is on brand and polished.
Is your business coming across as unprofessional? What have you done to fix it?
PS: If you liked this post, you might also like The Value of Knowing Your Audience.