The following chapter is about the Branding Audit Checklist which is part of the full Website Audit Checklist definitive guide.
As Jeff Bezos once said…
…a brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.
And when someone is visiting your website you are not in the room!
Branding is positioning your company in the eyes of your current and potential customers. An important part of branding is your website and it includes the design, logo, color scheme, copy, messaging, etc.
Your website creates an impression, but are you sure it’s the right impression?
You can evaluate this based on a number of factors and we’re going to talk about them next.
Within 5 seconds on the website is it
Is the value proposition clearly communicated?
The value proposition is the value the company promises to delivery if you buy a product or service.
You want to make it clear:
- How your product solves a particular problem
- What’s the specific benefits of buying this product/service
- How is this product different than any other product/service
This is generally (but not always) covered in the banner of your website. Ideally, you will have a strong tagline and an accompanying description that incorporates your unique value proposition.
If you’re a very well known brand (Amazon, Apple) you don’t have to tell people who you are as most people know already.
If you’re an eCommerce shop, the imagery and messaging will generally instantly tell people that it is an online shop but that still doesn’t mean you can’t use a tagline to clearly differentiate yourself.
Is there consistent messaging throughout the site that reinforces the brand proposition?
Consistent messaging on your website is all about repeating what’s important to remember about your brand.
It’s things like your values, goals and positioning.
The idea is to have these appear in the about us page, in your testimonials, case studies, etc.
Is it obvious that the website follows a branding style guide?
A branding style guide outlines the design styles you use consistently throughout your website. You could have multiple typefaces, different logo variations, etc. but once decided it’s used consistently throughout your website.
Here’s an example from Venngage, a free infographic generator:
Typography – This section shows what is acceptable in terms of font, font weight for normal body text and headers.
Colour guide – It includes the main colours and related complimentary colours that can be used.
Logo – Quite often you need different variations of the logo because it needs to look equally well on different backgrounds.
Is the logo well designed, looks professional and aligns with what the brand is about?
Your logo is part of your brand’s identity. A unique and well-designed logo will give people an idea of what your brand is about (especially if it is associated with a snappy tagline e.g. Nike’s just do it).
You want people to look at your logo and associate it with what your brand is about.
You can achieve this with the right choice of colours.
For example, yellow is fun, attainable and inexpensive.
Judging the design of a logo is subjective so our feedback is more about how well it is designed, does it look unique and modern, etc.
Is there a consistent colour palette throughout the website?
Different colours can provoke different feelings.
Colour is so powerful that Redbull registered this as a trademark:
And the red in the Redbull logo signifies excitement/danger.
You can affect how people feel about and perceive your brand by choosing colors in your brand palette.
You may use a dominant colour throughout the site together with complementary colours. There may also be a consistent colour to calls to action. What we’re looking for is that you have selected a palette of colours that you use consistently on the site.
Does the website appear as a top result when you search for the brand name?
Ideally, you want to dominate the search results with your brand name.
But, at a minimum, your name should appear first in search results.
Is there a relevant favicon?
When you enter the name of the website you will generally see an image appear just before the name of the company. This is called a favicon.
Here’s the example below.
You should use every opportunity to strengthen your brand!
Are brand patterns used consistently throughout the website?
The agency that built the website may add some additional brand patterns on your website.
A brand pattern are design elements that make your design more interesting and can be used online and offline.
You want to reinforce your branding with unique recognisable elements.
Here’s an example of Cafe Frida using the flower elements as a branding pattern.
As you scroll through the website you will see these flowers appearing throughout:
Do testimonials/case studies back up what your brand is about?
Imagine if you sold premium priced products but the quality was higher than competitor’s.
Naturally, you’d want to see something along those lines in your testimonials and you’d ask your customers if they thought the product was worth the extra money.
So, you talk about premium products on your website but then you also back this up with relevant testimonials.
Your value proposition is what your business promises to deliver to the customer. You make a claim about the value you will bring but you need to reinforce this claim with ‘proof’ of delivery through customer testimonials.
Ian Cleary, RazorSocial & RazorAudit
It’s ok to have general testimonials about the brand but you also want to show product specific testimonials.
Do images, graphics and video support the brand proposition?
When auditing your brand identity, we look at all visual elements on your website including photos, graphics, and videos.
Your images and videos should have a consistent quality and style that aligns with your brand.
For example, this means that the editing style for all photos on your site and beyond (e.g. social media pages) must be uniformed.
Also, if you are in the high end luxury market and you have poor quality pictures that is just going to damage your brand.
Does the copy support what the brand is about?
When you review the copy you want to consider:
- Does the tone of voice suit the brand
- Does the content effectively tell the brand story? (e.g. about us, why buy from us etc)
What do people say about the brand online?
You build out your brand and you have messaging, design, and content that aligns with this brand. But… is this reflected across the web?
What do people say about you on social media?
Do other websites talk about you the way you want to be talked about? For example, we’d like people to say we provide ‘Independent website audits’.
If people are talking about your brand in a negative or just different light than you’d want them to, this can dilute your preferred brand image. You need to have mechanisms in place to impact how your brand is mentioned across the web.
What is the blog content like?
When your blog content is aligned with your brand it means you have guidelines for how you talk about your products, your company culture, and your business.
You’ll have blog posts that talk about how your company helps improve the lives of your customers.
You’ll rely on your brand personality traits and messaging to educate people on what they get by doing business with you.
But most importantly, you’ll incorporate your brand stories in blog content whenever possible.
This is how blog helps you fortify your brand.
What is the brand searches trend like?
You want to see brand searches continuing to go up the more your build awareness of your brand.
Behind brand searches is your brand-aware audience that is more likely to buy from you or they may be your repeat customers.
You can find your brand searches by filtering the queries containing your brand name in your Google Search Console performance report.
The report will show you the total number of branded clicks and impressions your site received in the selected time period.