The Ultimate Brand Identity Website Checklist

Editor’s Note: The following article on brand identity was penned by Elijah-Blue Vieau, SEO Manager at Looka and Leadpages Guest Blogger. Interested in writing for the Leadpages blog? Hit us with your best shot!

Building a website for your small business is an exhaustive (and often exhausting) process, and just when you think you’re ready to launch, something inevitably goes missing or breaks. While website launch checklists are great for helping you catch content or code errors, most of them leave out one important thing—your brand identity. 

Your website is both your biggest presence online and one of the few that you have complete control over. Because of this, it’s the perfect place to showcase your brand identity—while building some brand loyalty. 

To help you do both, we’ve put together this brand identity website checklist, so you can make sure your website is on-brand before it goes online.

What does brand identity have to do with your website?

Before you start ticking off boxes on this website launch checklist, let’s talk about why exactly brand identity matters for your business and your website.

Brand identity is, in short, what comes out of your branding efforts. It includes all the visual elements of your brand—things like logos, colors, and fonts—as well as non-visual elements like messaging and voice. It’s the language your brand uses to communicate with your customers. 

So what does brand identity have to do with building a website? Everything. 

Brand familiarity boosts business performance—since 59% of customers would rather buy a new product from a familiar brand, while 21% of customers say they’ve bought a product because they like the brand. When you consider that 92% of customers don’t purchase during their first website visit, creating a strong connection with your brand to keep them coming back is even more important. 

Website design checklist

If we’re talking brand identity, we’re talking about brand identity design. Make sure the visual elements of your brand are not just used on your website but used correctly. This extra step is what transforms your design elements into a cohesive brand identity. 

Favicon

Logos act as shorthand for their brands, so you’ll want to make sure yours is featured prominently across your website—including as the favicon. Because this symbol appears on every page of your website, it’s an easy way to build brand recognition through sheer repetition. If your business has a wordmark or monogram, as well as a logo symbol, you’ll want to stick with your symbol for the favicon. Since this space is so small, it’ll be easier for site visitors to see your symbol than it will to see a whole wordmark. 

For small businesses, this step is especially important. Even if you haven’t had the time or resources to build out your brand identity completely, you should at the very least have a logo—and have it on every page of your website, using the favicon. 

Layout

Layout is often the only thing separating a beautiful website from an unreadable one. But it also offers an opportunity to reference elements of your brand identity. Ask yourself, does your final layout reflect your brand identity? From your logo to your font, to your shape and images, to your values, your layout should enhance the experience your site visitors have with your brand elements. When the shapes and styles you’re using in your brand assets are complemented by the site layout, you create a seamless brand experience for visitors scrolling through your site. 

Let’s say you sell beeswax candles online and what sets your candles apart is their hexagonal shape (inspired by honeycombs). You may have already used hexagonal shapes and bee imagery in other marketing materials, and you should incorporate them into your site as well. Maybe you use hexagon-shaped textboxes or crop images into hexagons, either way, customers get a better taste of what makes your business unique. 

Formatting

At its best, formatting brings your brand’s messages front and center, emphasizing your vision, mission, values, and unique selling proposition—wherever they’re woven into your website copy. Consider whether the current formatting supports your brand message. Does the structure of the text enhance or detract from the message and tone of the content it contains? If your messaging doesn’t quite fit with your formatting, it might be worth a few designs or content changes to bring the two closer together. 

Think of it this way, you might already know the most important parts of your business’s brand messaging, but site visitors won’t. If you want to emphasize a particular message or selling point that sets your small business apart from other, larger competitors, your formatting needs to bring that point front and center on the page. 

Colors

Colors can create instant brand recognition—but only if they’re consistent. Keep your site colors on-tone and on-brand by checking that your brand’s color codes are inputted correctly and showing up well across different screens. You’ll also want to check that different parts of your palette are being used in the right places, to familiarize customers with your brand’s visual language. 

If you’re just starting to build out your company’s brand identity, take a look to see what colors your competitors are using as well. The last thing you want is to be the fifth baby pink website your customers have been on that day when browsing for custom knit goods. 

Images

While you’ll want to start by checking whether your website’s images are correctly compressed, the right size and quality, licensed for use, and suitable for your brand, there’s more than just pixelation at stake here. Pull out your brand guidelines to confirm that your images match both your visual and messaging guidelines. Your images need to send the same message as the rest of your brand identity—even, and especially, if they’re stock images. 

For a lot of small businesses (except for maybe freelance photographers), getting the right images can be expensive. Stock images are a much more accessible way to add to your site’s visuals, but it can be hard to find the images that fit with your brand. Don’t be afraid to browse through a few stock image sources—like Pexels, Adobe Stock, or Shutterstock—and explore different styles to find which suits your brand best. 

Landing Page Design Checklist from Leadpages

Learn to design any page in no time.


Fonts

As you build your website, you’ll want to consider how your brand fonts translate into the digital realm. That beautiful script font that suits your food truck catering business perfectly might not be the most legible online. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up, use Helvetica for everything, and call it a day. Choosing where and how to use your brand fonts—for instance, a script font for titles and a sans serif for body copy—can help keep your website to stay readable and on-brand. 

With so many balls in the air when building a website, it’s worth triple-checking that your chosen H1, H2, H3, and body copy fonts are the same fonts that are showing up on your website. So, after inputting your content, do a site sweep to check for consistency. Considering that some of these fonts might be a part of your wordmark logo, not being consistent with their use is a huge missed opportunity for brand recognition. 

404 Pages and Defensive Design

Hey, sometimes things go wrong and customers don’t do what you expect them to. But just because they’re deviating from the journey you laid out doesn’t mean you can’t do something to support your brand identity. 

We’ve all seen examples of websites with fun 404 pages, and there’s a good reason why.  The 404 page’s main purpose is to tell users the page they’re looking for can’t be found, but it can also express your brand’s personality (and sense of humor) in the face of site issues.  

Beyond just having a 404 page and defensive design features (like instructions in case of an incorrect form fill), use these instances as a chance to feature your brand identity. Making sure the font is correct for error messages, designating certain brand colors for error messages, and using your brand voice in 404 copy keep the user experience cohesive—even when things go awry. 

Overall Design

Stop. Take a step back. While you may have started with your brand identity guidelines in hand when creating your original design, the way designs are translated onto the web usually leaves a gap. Go back to your original designs and guidelines to make sure the brand you’re developing made it through development. 

Ask yourself if you can see all your brand traits and assets represented. Ask yourself whether the website you’ve designed supports the business you’re building. Finally, ask yourself whether the design of your website is “okay for today” or will be able to grow with you. Creating a website takes a lot of work, especially when you’re just starting out. So, be sure you’ve got some breathing room and won’t outgrow your website within a few months of going live. 

Website content checklist

There are some basic steps you’ll need to take with your content like ensuring spelling and grammar consistency, implementing legal pages, and proofreading everything (yes, everything). But just because you’ve actually replaced your Lorem Ipsum and your content is mistake-free doesn’t mean it’s aligned with your brand identity. 

Vision

This is the ‘what’ behind your brand. It’s the reason your business exists—what you aspire to be and do. When re-reading your content in the context of your vision, ask yourself whether the website copy you’ve written supports more than just your company’s current goals, but also its forward-looking goals and future growth plans.

For small businesses, this big goal can sometimes feel overwhelming—but that’s a good thing. Your vision shouldn’t be something you can achieve over the course of a quarter. It should be something that sustains your business from first sale to first employee, to first office, to going public. It’s the North Star your business navigates by, not the exit signs telling you where to turn off. 

Mission 

If your brand’s vision is what you’re doing, your mission is how you’re doing it. Your content should support the purpose of each page, as well as your overarching mission. For this part of the process, you might want to consider how things like your products or services pages speak about what your company does and how you do it differently. 

If you’re focused on standing out based on customer service, you might want to have a section on your website for just that. If your business prides itself on using higher quality materials than competitors, that might deserve its own section of your website. Whatever sets the way you approach a problem apart from your competitors, that’s what customers need to see on your website. 

Values

Values are your brand’s ‘why’. They’re the beliefs driving your vision and mission forward. Both your product and company values should be supported by your content. If your values include simplicity, you might want to cut some content. If your company values include customer service, you’ll want to include images of your customers. For your values to be seen as authentic, they need to be reflected in every area of your website.  

For businesses that are in their early days, these might still be taking shape. But as you learn more about what you value in the work you do, you’ll be able to make your values more concrete. Something you may not have initially seen as important to the way you run your business may come to define it. It’s important to establish these before your business gets too big though since any future employees will need to know your (and their) “why” explicitly. 

Brand Voice

Your business’s brand voice is a reflection of your brand’s personality. For solopreneurs or early entrepreneurs, this is usually just the founder’s voice. But as you grow and take on writing help (say, for writing a website), it’s good to lay out exactly what you do and don’t want your brand to sound like. By making your brand’s personality clear, it’s a lot easier to scale your writing efforts down the line. 

But, even if you had a clear idea of your brand voice when you were creating your brand, chances are something got lost in translation while building your website. Ask yourself whether your words reflect your brand identity and create the impression you want them to. If something seems off, a voice edit will help bring your brand identity back to your website. 

Keywords and Key Messages

Content that supports your brand’s vision, mission, values, and voice are great—but people still need to be able to find it. This is where keyword research comes in.

 If you’ve done your market research upfront, you should already know which terms potential customers are using and searching for when it comes to your niche. Tailor your brand’s messages and unique selling propositions to search-engine-friendly keywords. 

But as much as you want to appear on the front page of Google, don’t sacrifice your brand for a few clicks. If you’re in the business of selling custom, bespoke clothing, “cheap clothes” wouldn’t be a key phrase you’d want to include in your copy, even if it would get a lot of clicks. Create a consistent experience between search results and your website by holding yourself accountable to your brand. 

Forms

Most of us are looking to achieve some kind of conversions on our websites—whether that’s downloads, signups, or purchases. Forms are a key part of the customer experience and a critical step in the conversion process. You want your forms to be as frictionless as possible, so test them yourself. 

You’ll also want to see if the story they’re telling (where they appear, what they ask) makes sense with your brand messages. If you were running a fitness website and your brand’s central message was towards body positivity, your forms probably shouldn’t be pushing customers to “sign up to lose 40 pounds”—even if the sense of urgency encourages more sign-ups. 

Other factors, like whether your forms need fewer, more, or different fields, different language, or a different location, you’ll want to make those changes now, to make testing easier down the line. 

Calls to Action

Speaking of customer journeys, your CTAs—the link between one page and the next—will need reviewing. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand whether your CTAs push them forward in their journey, while still supporting your brand identity. Do they match your branding design? Is the call to action compelling? Do they fit with your messaging? Do they match the content and context of the page? If the answer is no, edit until you have click-worthy and brand-worthy CTAs on every page. 

Proofread (Again)

Yes, we started this part of the website checklist with proofreading, but do it again. Then again. Then have a friend do it. Then run it through a grammar checking program. Then do it again. We’re not kidding here. 

Marketing your website after launch

Marketing and branding are almost always said in the same breath—so we couldn’t exactly make a brand identity website checklist without mentioning marketing.

Marketing is one of the main ways you communicate your brand identity to your customers. To start your new site off on the right foot, here are a few marketing efforts to take on for your new site.

Launch Date

After all this work, you’ll have to actually launch your website at some point. Give yourself a deadline for when you want your site online—and have your marketing materials ready for that date. Don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know when you’re going live, too. Not only will they be able to hold you accountable to your launch date, but they’ll also be able to spread the word about your website with their networks. 

Social Media

Social media is a great way to connect with your customers online, outside of your website. It can also be a powerful channel for your marketing campaigns. To make the most of your social presence, create a few branded social media materials—like a logo profile picture, branded banner, and a few social posts in your brand colors and fonts—after you register your social media properties. 

While paid advertising on social media is popular, if it isn’t in your budget, there’s still a lot you can do with this channel. Beyond creating posts that capture your brand identity, you can engage with your customers and nip any complaints they might be posting in the bud. 

Social Bookmarking

Like social media platforms, social bookmarking sites are a great way to boost brand awareness and presence online. Sites like Reddit have huge user bases and can bring a lot of traffic to your site. But remember, people aren’t browsing these sites to buy something, so if you’re going to post or comment, provide something valuable and interesting—like an infographic about your industry

These sites can also be a good way to do some research on potential customers, by seeing the complaints they’re posting about your competitors. As a small business, your biggest advantage is being nimble. If you catch trends in what customers want early on, you can pivot your business plan and brand to suit their needs. 

Press Release

Let the world know you’re here. While press releases can have a pretty rigid format, look for ways to incorporate your brand’s vision, mission, values, and voice, to show off your brand identity while announcing your launch. You don’t need to go through a press release service (which can be expensive) to put one out either. Just by having a press release writeup on hand, you’ll have something you can provide to news outlets and other websites when you’re doing outreach to promote your new website. 

Email Signatures

If you’re sending out newsletters to customers, writing sales pitches to prospects, or engaging in a larger email marketing strategy, your website should be a part of your signature. The more places you repeat your website and brand elements like your logo, the more likely customers are to remember you. 

Freemium email marketing tools like Mailchimp will also let you customize the templates of any marketing emails you’re sending out, so subscribers and customers can get the full branded experience every time you arrive in their inbox. 

Content Syndication

Spread the word by syndicating your content. This can include something as simple as posting new blogs to your social media channels and can go all the way up to automated syndication across other sites. For small businesses, a good mid-point can be asking your network to share your content on social media. Besides costing you nothing, this option lets you build some brand trust using word of mouth referrals. 

Whatever you choose, the more (relevant) eyes on your brand’s materials, the better. After all, building a brand is about engaging your customers. The more opportunities you take to build that relationship, the more likely your customers are to be loyal to your brand. 

Launching your website

Congratulations! You did it! You made it to the bottom of our brand identity website checklist. Now, if you’ve followed all the steps above, your website should be on-brand and ready to go online. 

Remember, after you launch, these might still be some changes you’ll need to make to get the most out of your brand identity—and that’s okay! Brands aren’t supposed to be static. They grow and change with their customers. Because whether you’re using it on a website, in a marketing campaign, or on your product packaging, the most important part of your brand identity is the people it speaks to—your customers. 


Elijah-Blue Vienau

About the Author

Elijah-Blue Vienau
SEO Manager

Elijah-Blue Vieau is the SEO Manager for Looka — an AI-powered logo maker and brand identity platform. He’s an unknown multi-instrumentalist, dedicated hugger, and tree climber.