Top 10 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Top 10 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Before you start branding or re-branding your business keep in mind that you must have at least 1k followers on Instagram first. Also, you cannot possibly do it yourself, you must hire a professional right away. Oh, and all you need are some stunning graphics looking just like the girl whose Youtube videos you binge-watched last night.

Ahhh, yes of course I’m kidding! *duh* :)

There are so many misconceptions about branding, I can write an article about the 100 branding mistakes to avoid not the 10! But just because I know you’re busy running your tiny but magical online empire and won’t have the time to read a novel on that (arguably) very interesting topic, let’s crack on the top 10 branding mistakes to avoid.

The 3 Essential Website Pages You Need to Launch Your Small Business

Have you ever spent hours browsing through pretty website templates and wishing you can use them all? Be honest — beautiful, well thought websites and blogs make you feel A) inspired to create equally amazing online home for your business and B) desperate your website will never look that polished and flawless.

But don't despair, you will get to the state of "I love my website just as it is!", although it just might take a little bit of time. The secret here, as with almost anything else when it comes to one-woman-businesses, is to start small and add things (in this case pages) as you grow. This way you will be able to correct your course easily and set the rules for your website based on your experience not on mere guess work.

But how small can you start?

Well, you can start with as little as three pages and add another two a little bit later on. It depends how much time you have and how quickly you want to launch your business.

Let's start with your first three pages and see how it goes from there, shall we?

The 3 Essential Website Pages You Need to Launch Your Small Business

The 3 essential website pages you need to launch your small business

Last week we talked about the three essential brand elements you need to start your business and this week we’ll put those element to work on your three pages.

1. LANDING PAGE

Essentially this is your home page but I'd like you to think of it as your Rome. Here's what I mean:

There is a proverb stating that "All roads lead to Rome" and back in the days Rome was the heart of an empire and the place where everything of consequence happened.

Your landing page is exactly that — the place where people land when they click on the link in your Instagram profile, or google your business name or click on your Facebook link.  Make your landing page the heart of your tiny online empire, keep it up to date and make sure all roads lead to it.

This page might be the only one the visitor ever sees, so make it good. Above the fold (the upper part of the page that is visible right away) you need:

  • Your logo

  • Your tagline or a short description of how you can help your people.

  • A form to capture and collect names and emails of the people who want to hear from you.

Further down on the page you’ll need:

  • More info about your services / products and how to get them.

  • Information about yourself and your business.

  • Further methods for your visitor to connect with you (links to social media profiles, contact form, etc.)

2. THANK YOU PAGE

When somebody subscribes to your newsletter it’s a good manner to thank them and let them know what to expect from you. Here’s what your thank you page should do:

  • Convey your sincere gratitude that someone just entrusted you with their personal information.

  • Set clear expectations of what your reader should expect from you via email and when.

Optionally, you could include:

  • A prompt to share with their friends your simple but very lovely website.

  • Link to your products/ services / shop

  • Links to your social media profiles

3. LEGAL PAGE

This might seem unnecessary when you’re just starting out, but the truth is if you have a website you most likely collect cookies (whether you know it or not) and therefore you need a Cookie Policy. And then while you are there drafting one, why not create your Terms & Conditions as well. The good news is you don’t have to do it all alone and all from scratch. Here are two places you can find help:

GDPR FAQ + Simple Answers by April (and her lawyer husband) from blacksburgbelle.com

The Contract Shop by Cristina Scalera (not available in the EU)

What’s next?

These three pages should be quite enough for you to launch your business. However, there are two more pages you can add when the first three are ready to and running:

Your shop or service page

This page is where you tell your potential customers everything about your offerings. You can use it as a sales page or as a info page with a portfolio, or as a shop, if you're not using Etsy or Creative Market.

Blog

Publishing free content regularly will get more visitors to your website. And more visitors means more subscribers. Which means more connections and eventually more business inquiries.

So, let me know this…

How many pages do you have on your website? Do they all have a clear purpose or are they there because everybody else and their aunt has them? And if you are just starting out, do you feel confused how to go about your web design and how many pages you need to start your business? What action can you take to make your website easier for you to maintain and more enjoyable for your people?

The 3 Essential Brand Elements You Need To Start Your Business Today

Imagine this: You make a cup of chamomile, sit down on your comfy sofa and open Instagram for 10 or so minutes of inspiration, socializing and girl crushing.

The women you follow are all incredible lady bosses who seem to have it all figured out and it's pretty easy to get dizzy and disheartened by their perfectly looking brands.

You start to think, "I can’t possibly compete with that!"

And you’ll be right. You can’t.

And most importantly, you absolutely should not. Because that’s not your job here. Your job is to create, serve and be a part of a loving community, not to adopt an outdated business model from a century ago.

Last week I talked about the seven steps you need to take to start your own business and today I’d like to tell you about the bare minimum you need to brand that business.

I’ll repeat this over and over again: Nothing beats working with a pro graphic designer on creating your unique brand. But if that’s not possible, the next best thing is to start small and start now.

Do the best you can right now and grow as you go.

The 3 Essential Brand Elements You Need To Start Your Business Today

The 3 essential brand elements you need to start your business today

When starting a business there's a lot to do (see How to Start Your Side Hustle Business This Weekend here), so you need to be smart and start with as little as you can get away with, or you might be in the "pre-launch" stage forever. So, what are the 3 essential brand elements you need to start your business as soon as today?

1. YOUR STORY

I can talk to you all day why you should start with your story and not with your visuals but instead I’ll just give you three things to think about:

  1. Your story is the one thing that’s truly unique about you. Your products and services most likely aren’t that different from anybody else's but the person behind them is a one of kind.

  2. “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. ..." (Simon Sinek). Your story is the best way to broadcast your 'why' to the world.
  3. We are overloaded with graphics, videos and visual content every day. But what we remember at the end of that day are the people and their stories. It's in your DNA — we evolved telling each other stories around the fire and that's still the easiest way for two souls to meet.

2. LOGO

Your logo can be as simple as your name written in a beautiful font (there are thousands of those on Creative Market) or it can be as complex as digitizing a drawing and turning it into a logo.

I’ve created the Branding Kits if you don't want to start from scratch. Each has 21 brand designs to choose from and you can add brand elements to your logo as your business grows.

Additionally you could choose a 5-6 colors and create a color palette for your website. Use Pinterest for inspiration, ColorZilla to pick your colors and Adobe Color to create a palette.

Related article: How to Choose Your Color Palette - Part 2: Pick Your Colors

3. PHOTOS

Unless you are Seth Godin — a master wordsmith who relies on the immense power of his words — you’ll need images to show off your products and your charming personality.

My absolutely favorite place for images is Unsplash.com. All images there are free and you can easily find photos to suit your industry and your brand style. Premium images and bundles are also great and you can find plenty of those on Creative Market.

To shoot your own photos you might need a little bit of help. If you need more than just Youtube tutorials, Miss Chaitra from Creative Convex has more for you there: iPhone-o-graphy (no affiliate links or anything, I just love her work).

What’s next?

With just these elements you should be able to build a website. Pick a platform (I’m using Squarespace, so it might be a little bit different for Wordpress) and add your brand elements to it:

  1. upload your logo
  2. set up your colors
  3. add your photos
  4. use your story to write the content for your home page

And that's it!

Are you afraid of starting small (and a little bit scruffy)?

Do you think that you need everything to be stunning for you to get started? Are you're suffering from the CPD (Comparing and Perfection Disorder) epidemic that's plaguing our hyper connected world? What is the one step you'll take today to heal and grow?


How to Start Your Side Hustle Business This Weekend

How to Start Your Side Hustle Business This Weekend

Have you been daydreaming of turning your pixie genius, your hobby, passion, or whatever your pixie soul wants to call your magic, into a full-time business?

Or you've just started your on-the-side gig and have a little bit of trouble figuring out what to do to make it work?

Women all over the world are putting their gifts, their true magic, to work and making a difference in the process, so it’s only natural for you to be inspired to join this global girl party.

Usually, I’m “jump all in” kind of girl, when it comes to business decisions. However, we live in a world where not everyone can afford to stop having an income for an year so she can start a brand new business. And this is why I’m a huge fan of side hustles in all shapes and sizes.

11 Reasons You Should Choose Squarespace Over Wordpress

11 Reasons You Should Choose Squarespace Over Wordpress

I created my first website a very long time ago and it was a nightmare. Back then I didn’t know anything about Wordpress and Squarespace wasn’t invented yet. So I picked my dad’s coding books, and wrote HTML and CSS by hand! In Notepad! Crazy, right?

Unfortunately, I don’t have that gem-of-a-website anymore (not even the Wayback Machine can go that far in the past) but I can tell you that it took me a month to create one page of awful dark backgrounds, neon headlines and bitmap gifs (ah, the 90s). After this experience I stayed away from web design for quite a while.

And then one day I discovered Wordpress and I was hooked. It was so easy to create a blog compared to the grueling code typing. But as with all good things, once you know there’s something better than what you’ve experienced, you start to look for the best for you.

How to Use Pinterest to Find Your Brand Style + Free Workbook

How to Use Pinterest to Find Your Brand Style + Free Workbook

Creating a Pinterest board and pinning 100+ images that catch your eye and take your fancy seems pretty straightforward, right? But how do you create a truly coherent board where every single image is in tune with the next and together they all look and feel exactly as you wish your brand to look and feel?

Every branding project starts with a vision board or inspiration board of some sorts. Now, I'm a crafty pixie and I think a physical inspiration board is the best, but I also recognize the fact that this might not be very practical, especially if your branding your business for the very first time.

So, is there a way to sift through the world wide web quickly and efficiently and create an inspiration board that makes you excited about your new brand?

As a matter of fact, there is!