It’s easy to overcomplicate web design, especially when we’re building a website ourselves. But creating a successful website is not rocket science. In fact, even if you’re building your own website, it’s easy to create something clean, simple and, more importantly, successful.
Our B.R.A.N.D. framework
We’ve come up with a simple way to explain what a perfect personal brand website should look like. It’s a framework we use to create every single website we build. And we call it the B.R.A.N.D. framework.
You do not have to be a techie to follow this framework, in fact, we created it with non-techies in mind.
B.R.A.N.D. is an acronym and is based on 5 core areas that each website should have:
- B for Build trust.
- R for Relevancy.
- A for Authority.
- N for Noteworthy.
- D for Direction.
So let’s break down every single area in more details.
1. Build trust
Building trust is the first and most important aspect of the entire framework. We need to trust the people we buy from. If your visitors don’t trust you, they’re not going to stick around long enough to buy from you.
It’s as simple as that.
So when someone lands on your website for the first time, they’re probably going to ask themselves a few questions. Things like:
- Do these people know what they’re talking about?
- Will they try to sell me something?
- Does this website look secure?
Your job is to reassure your visitors. And you do that by building trust.
So how do you actually build trust with your audience through your website?
Does your website look and feel like a nice place to be? Does it ‘look the part’? In other words, is your website ‘aesthetically pleasing’?
Now, when you’re building a website yourself this can be difficult. After all, you’re not a designer, right? How can you design a beautiful website if you don’t have the skills?
The likelihood is, you’re website is not going to look the same as a website designed by a professional agency BUT this does not mean your website won’t be successful.
In this case, we recommend you find a good WordPress theme that you like (there are thousands out there) and stick within the parameters of the theme. I.e. don’t change too much! What you want is something clean and professional.
You can edit fonts and colours to match your branding. You can add your logo. And, most importantly, you’ll be able to add your images and text which will really help you stand out.
Ultimately, this is about avoiding a crappy looking website that looks like the 90s threw up on the page. No one trusts those websites! So, keep it simple, stick to a theme and use other methods to stand out!
One of the best ways of making your reader feel at ease is by using images of yourself on your website.
But a lot of people feel nervous about using their face on their website. Will it make you look egotistical? Or self-absorbed?
The purpose of having your image on your website is so your reader can see who they’re potentially going to work with/invest in. It’s for their benefit, not yours. You’re not self-centred for putting your images on your website. Far from it.
Using images of yourself and your team throughout your website gives the reader a sense of who you are. We actually recommend business owners invest in professional photography BEFORE they invest thousands and thousands on a website. It’s amazing what you can do with a half decent theme and some good photographs.
We’ve written an article with some tips on how to get some amazing photographs for your website.
Media badges and social proof
Have you been featured on The Guardian, the BBC, or the Huffington Post? Have you appeared in a well-known podcast?
Then add those media badges to your website.
This tells your audience that you’ve received ‘the stamp of approval’ from well-recognised sources, and it will help you build trust with your website visitors more easily.
Similarly, if you have a good number of subscribers on your email list, you could add a section on your website that includes something along the lines of: “Join another 500 like-minded business owners who are already on our list”.
This boosts your social proof and makes you come across as trustworthy.
Testimonials and case studies
Do you have any testimonials or case studies that tell a story? Testimonials and case studies can be a great tool to help you build trust with your audience. Remember though, your visitors know that testimonials can be manufactured. So don’t share testimonials that simply say how good you are! (We know you are!)
Instead, feature examples of customers or clients who came with you with a problem and experienced a transformation as a direct result of buying your products or services.
If you want to find out more about how to get great testimonials from your clients, head over to our blog post How to get client testimonials for your website. Or you can listen to episode 17 of the Make Your Mark Online podcast.
While we don’t usually recommend that people plaster their websites with awards, they can also help you build trust with your audience. So if you have won any, feel free to add them to your home page. Just make sure you do it nicely – you don’t want your awards to be the first thing someone sees when they come to your website!
And last but not least, in order to build that trust with your visitors, make your website is fast and secure. If your website takes over 3 seconds to load, your visitors may get impatient or suspicious. They’ll be wondering whether they’re being re-directed elsewhere and asking themselves why it’s taking so long. More often than not, they won’t wait for your page to load.
They’ll click the back button.
So get yourself a nice speedy website. If you’d like to buy a speed up service, we recommend TechCrunch.
When someone visits your website,
- are they clear on what you do?
- Can they see how relevant you are to them?
- Can they see how you can help them get from A to B? Solve a problem they have?
- And can they immediately tell whether you’ve helped people like them in the past?
If your visitors don’t understand how you can help them, they won’t stay on your website long enough to listen to what you have to say.
People don’t want to waste their time.
And you don’t want to waste yours, so get to the point quickly and show your ideal customers and clients exactly what it is that you do.
Show them that you’re relevant to them.
Your Big Bold Statement
A big, bold statement is the first sentence or phrase someone will see when they land on your website. It’s usually situated in the first third of your homepage, and it’s where you should clearly state what it is that you do. If you don’t do this right, your visitors won’t know whether they’re in the right place.
Your big, bold statement doesn’t have to be overly creative or clever. In fact, sometimes it’s best to avoid this and just clearly state what it is you do.
If you want to find out more about what Big Bold Statement, you can listen to episode 5 of the Make Your Mark Online podcast – Why You Need a Big Bold Statement and How to Create One.
Images and photos
We already mentioned photos and images in the context of building trust with your audience. But photos can also go a long way to show your readers that they’re in the right place and allow them to connect with you.
Take us, for example. Some people might want to work with a huge agency with a big team. They can clearly see from the get-go that there are two of us. They’ll know straight away that we’re not right for them.
A lot of people use stock photos to try to hide who they are, but using images makes it clear whether you’re the right fit for your end user.
Testimonials and Case Studies
Testimonials and case studies might help you build trust, but they also show the reader the type of clients you work with. So if you’re targetting well-known speakers, make sure you only feature them in your testimonials and case studies! It’s also a good idea to cull old testimonials that might not be a reflection of who you work with anymore.
Being seen as an authority in your field or niche is fundamental because, in order to buy from you, people need to see you as an expert.
People want to know things like:
- Are you qualified to help them?
- Can you be trusted?
- Have you got any proof of things you’ve done in the past?
- Is working with you a safe investment of their money?
So how do you build authority on your website?
Big Hero image
We talked about images before. They can help with trust and relevancy, but also with authority.
If you’re a speaker, use images of yourself speaking on stage, for example. If you’re an author, have a photo of yourself signing books.
Use that Big Hero image on the Home page of your website wisely – it’s a great opportunity to tell your website visitors that you’re an authority.
Media badges and collaborations with experts
Once again, any media badges you display on your website show that other people trust you as an expert and an authority. So make sure you display them on your website.
Also, have you worked with any experts in your industry? Sadly, most of us aren’t in the lucky position to be able to showcase ourselves with the likes of Oprah or Arianna Huffington (not yet, anyway!).
But can you reach out to some industry experts? People who are respected in your field? Perhaps you could offer them a free service in exchange for a testimonial? Think about ways you can use collaborations with others to boost your own authority and help you generate more sales.
And again, the content and any relevant case studies you share on your website can massively help you to demonstrate you’re an authority. So use them to showcase your knowledge and expertise and demonstrate that you do get results for people.
- Are you noticeable and memorable?
- Interesting and entertaining?
- When people land on your website, how will you make sure they stay long enough to listen to what you’re saying?
- Can people relate to you?
Because that’s all we all look for – human connection. And if your visitors can’t connect with you, they’ll just find someone else to connect with.
Truth is, you’re not going to be loved by everybody.
But that’s fine because you don’t want everybody to be your customer. You just want a selected few.
So how are you going to use your website to relate to your ideal customers and clients on a one-to-one level? How are you going to show people that you’re noteworthy?
Your Tone of Voice
What’s your personality? One of the biggest mistakes people make with their website copy is making it boring and stuffy. Make sure you show people who you are. Yes, not everyone will love you, but it doesn’t matter about the people that don’t like you. They aren’t your customers.
If you’re still struggling with this, check out our article on how to create your tone of voice.
Do you have an interesting story to tell? One that’s memorable and your readers connect to? If so, then your story is definitely going to help you to stand out and be seen as more noteworthy So make sure you tell your story well – don’t be scared of adding a bit of character and personality to it.
Images and videos
By now, you’ll have noticed that images come up a lot when talking about the features a great website should have. That’s because they are a really key element for creating a great personal brand website. Use them to be memorable and stand out. Don’t just sit there in a suit and tie if that’s not how you normally are with your clients.
Do you have a strong opinion about something? If you can articulate it well, people will latch onto you. Of course, not everyone is going to love it. But sharing your opinions openly will make you more noticeable.
Working with big brands
Have you worked with any big-brand name clients? Are you the person that helped Tony Robbins with his website? If you’ve worked with someone who is memorable, people are going to remember you for that.
Do you have a signature programme? Something like The Product Launch Formula by Jeff Walker or Sales Page That Converts by Derek Halpern, for example? If you do, make your programme your signature course.
Check out this website called A Little Bit of Something to see how this web designer uses his testimonials to make himself stand out from the crowd. Apparently, this guy ‘smells of meat and cheese’, but he designs pretty good websites!
Whether this is your cup of tea or not, these comments are just hilarious. It’s a great example of sharing something on your website that makes you come across as funny and noteworthy. People are going to remember this! And it really shows the business owner’s personality as well. Just from this, you can tell what working with him will be like.
Direction is the last piece of the puzzle and the fifth component of the B.R.A.N.D. framework.
If you want your website to perform well, you need to consider how you’re directing people from page to page. Because if your visitors don’t know what to do next, they’re going to do nothing.
Or click that dreaded back button.
When people land on your website, they want to know things like:
- What do I do next?
- Where do I start?
- How do I get in touch?
- What services do you offer?
We’ve written more about how you can use your Home page as the ‘reception area’ of your website, directing people to where they need to go, especially if you have more than one audience. Check out our blog post How to Appeal to More Than One Audience Using Your Website.
So here’s what you can do to help people navigate your website easily.
Menu items and Big Bold Statement
Use obvious phrases on your menu items to help your readers go where they need to go. Don’t call your menu items something vague or obscure that people aren’t familiar with like ‘my journey’ for ‘blog’ – you’ll just end up confusing them!
Also, use your Big Bold Statement, as that helps direct people.
Buttons and Calls To Action (CTAs)
Use colourful buttons and clear Calls To Action or CTAs. Make sure your CTAs are prominent and enticing and include them in the body of your content as well. If you’re going to ask your readers for their email address in exchange for some in-depth content, for example, the best time to ask them is while they’re consuming your content.
The ‘promo area’ of your homepage is usually under the big hero section. It features 3 or 4 different options for your end user to choose. This could be your services, blog, about page etc. You’re the best person to decide what goes here, but it’s a great way of directing people from your home page to the next page.
Content and tone of voice
Use your content to help navigate people to where you want them to go on your website. A great tool that helps you do this is a Learning Centre.
But also use language and tone of voice that helps you direct people to where you want them to go in a non-intrusive way. Use words like ‘get’ and ‘grab’, for example, when you’re asking people to download a free resource. Or ‘click here’ to help hop onto the next page on your website.
Have visible contact information for your business. If you rely on people getting in touch with you over the phone, have your phone number at the top of the page and a button that says, ‘Get in touch with us’.
Eliminate clutter on your website
And last but not least, get rid of anything on your website that you don’t need. This allows for important elements like buttons or headlines, for example, to jump out of the page. Less is more when it comes to directing people to where you want them to go.
Would you like some help to build your own personal brand website?
So this is our B.R.A.N.D. website framework. We use religiously to build personal brand websites for our clients. But we also share this framework inside our signature membership, Make Your Mark Online, where we help personal brands build and grow a successful business website. All the videos in our membership library are based on these 5 key components. And this framework can work for any website, not just personal brands.
So if you want to find out more about each individual area of the B.R.A.N.D. framework and understand how it can apply to you, check out our membership community. The doors are currently open, and it’s been amazing to see so many of our members get great results with their websites since they joined in October last year.
If you enjoyed this post, you can also listen to our podcast episode How to create the Perfect Personal Brand Website (ep 30).