Your website, your brand
Your brand can be expressed in seemingly endless ways, from your logo to your business cards to how you respond when a friend asks, “What is it you do again?”—even how your receptionist answers the phone! But these days, nowhere is a brand more comprehensively expressed than on your website.
Ultimately, because websites can go so deep and are interactive, they are an ideal place to tell your organization’s story exactly as you want it told—and for your supporters to experience that story in the best way.
The big picture
First of all, websites collect in one place each discrete aspect of your brand—logo, visual system, mission and vision statements, key messages, etc. As the first place most people will go to learn about your organization, your website will (or should) have the more conceptual aspects of your brand—the big idea you represent (positioning) and your organizational personality—baked in at a high level.
Your website also houses most of the forms your donors will interact with—list signups, donation forms, pledges, etc. Whether they’re subscribing to emails, accessing downloadable materials, registering for events, or taking advocacy actions, the first place they head to is your website. It might feel less obvious, but each of these touchpoints is an opportunity to express your brand. Consider what your forms say about your organization and then ask yourself, “Does that align with our brand?”
The navigation bar
When someone first lands on your website, whether on the homepage or an inner page, she immediately sees the chapter headings of your story—the navigation bar. Navigation takes visitors through the primary points of your story, dipping into secondary and tertiary pages as necessary.
While it’s unlikely anyone is going to ead your website like a book, how you organize information is hugely important. And if your website navigation is truly intuitive and informed by the needs of your various audiences, your website will tell the story it needs to tell.
If you think strategically about designing and writing your website, it can be your brand’s digital headquarters—and that’s a huge asset!