What's Your Swoosh?
The Nike "swoosh" is virtually synonymous with sporting goods. McDonald's, with its mesmerizing "M", towers above all other fast food restaurants. Yahoo! grabs your attention with its exclamation. No wonder it commands 50% of the search engine market.
Once you establish an identity in the business world, you are already half way to success. The big guns understand the importance of the "swoosh" and use it to their full advantage (I will use this term loosely to refer to business identity).
To succeed on the net, you too must have a "swoosh".
Your company name should become linked with the product or service that you are selling. A swoosh is the difference between standing among and standing out from the crowd. There is more to identity than just a logo. Domain name, content, motto, design, and theme are equally important.
1) Domain Name
The game begins here. Using your surname is not a good idea. Ideally, your domain name should capture the essence of your business. Great example: an Australian web design company uses http://www.idealdesign.net. Much better than fawadahmed.com, no? A good name is catchy and easy to remember.
2) Site Content
As a site reviewer, I have seen many websites without focus. A Link Exchange banner here, an affiliate program there, an external link for good (bad?) measure, and somewhere in that jungle is product information. This is the internet version of an identity crisis. Each page should be supportive of your business theme and without distractions.
A well-designed logo captures visitor attention and helps you stand out from the competition. A logo is your stamp of authority. Other people may be selling widgets, but the one with a stamp on it is better recognized. Would you rather buy a generic polo shirt, or one with a caricature (albeit silly) stitched on the left breast?
Be creative and clever in choosing a motto for your business. My favorite, again from the folks at Ideal Design: "because reaching the world shouldn't cost the earth". It's unique, powerful, and memorable.
Many websites are inconsistent in layout. I've seen many with three or four different text styles in as many colors. Too much variation in background color and page format is unprofessional, distracting, and makes a terrible impression on the visitor. Choose a solid color theme and use it throughout your site. Repeat your logo and motto frequently in your site, too.
This strategy is great for some websites. Blending your identity into your website helps people to identify with you and builds customer trust. For example, if you are a physician by profession, you may choose to use the medicus symbol on your site, or entitle your services based on medical language (i.e. "Website Medic" site reviews).
I mentioned earlier that establishing your "swoosh" on the net is half the battle. In case you're wondering, the other half is relentless promotion.
Get yourself a swoosh and you'll sell more widgets than your competitor, my friend. And that ain't half bad.
Fawad Ahmed is webmaster of Goldvisions (http://www.goldvisions.com) Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials for a successful online presence. To subscribe to the Traffic-Builder send a "subscribe" email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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