• Branding & Marketing Websites
  • Information Websites

Custom Branding & Marketing Websites / Information Sites

Branding Sites, in a Nutshell

Fun Fact: Knowing when a design or photo is "good", and knowing when a design and photo is going to be effective for your branding are two absolutely different skill sets. "Web designers" can find you pretty pictures, but it takes branding and marketing experts to use pretty things EFFECTIVELY to help you build your actual brand. And that takes business knowledge.

Fun Fact: The term "branding" originated with the practice cattle branding, wherein farmers marked their cattle with a heated iron brand. Though physically branding your body with your logo is not necessary, it is encouraged as it shows true dedication to your company.

Branding websites (marketing websites) do not exist to simply allow your end consumer to make a purchase like an eCommerce site might, but they are still a massively important part of your sales strategy. They aren't necessarily a comprehensive detailed spec sheet of your product line-up like a catalog website can be, but they do inform.

A branding or marketing site's job is to get people interested in and to grow loyal to your brand using any and all means possible, as well as to draw people in. Branding websites tell the world what your brand is, what you stand for, what your voice is, and why the consumer should care.

If your enterprise needs to make sales or generate leads, you need a branding website.

Artisan Crew

Almost every business needs a branding website.

Why Custom Branding Sites Give You A Real Advantage

To those of you who say "but we just need a simple website"... We absolutely agree that simple can be very good. But we also know that a website with no branding plan behind it can kill you. Let us explain.

So you think your hosting's template services or using a popular C.M.S. template to build a "simple" website is good enough for your business?

Long answer short, you may get away with it if you're running a one-person operation and just need today's equivalent of a listing in the Yellowpages. For everybody else, it's not an effective part of a growth strategy for your brand or business even if you're not selling things directly off your website.

As we’ve said elsewhere, do-it-yourself template sites do serve a purpose. And if you're going to use one and just add your logo and address, don't pay a business to set it up for you, you can save costs and do it yourself.

If for example, you need to build a hobby site you don't actually need to use for business, or if you're going to stand on the street corner passing out pamphlets with you URL on them or something, then you don’t need to spend money on a custom branded website.

If you don't plan to make money off it, even tangentially, and literally don't need any visitors you haven't personally brought in, a site that generates traffic then influences visitors probably isn't necessary.

For everybody else, if you require marketing of any kind, have at least one competitor, and don't have a staff of thousands to send across the world spreading the personalized word out about your organization, you need a website with more than the logo and address sections to be custom. That, and NOT JUST "wanting a pretty website" is why you pay a web development agency to make you a site, to brand, differentiate and to attract new leads or customers.

Let's step back away from websites for a minute and discuss traditional branding and marketing methods. Let's start at the easiest; those local mailed paper circulars filled with weight loss goods, doggie spas, and bathtub refinishing ads. The ones you almost never read through before you throw them in your trash along with those never ending Direct TV mailers. Around here in Los Angeles, in a busy regional market, they claim to get you into 12,000 to 30,000 households, one time, and charge you $500 to thousands for that.

And just as many businesses use the do-it-yourself templates or web host's "build your business website" services, many businesses will gladly pay up to a few thousand dollars to get one cheesy (OMG sooo cheesy) print ad to the houses of 30,000 people, many of whom throw the mailer away sight unseen.

Those same business owners often have the mindframe that a website that is built to get in front of the eyes of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people ACTIVELY searching for THEIR VERY PRODUCT in an engaging and effective way, should be able to be had for the price of, or less than, a one-time cheesy print ad that ends up in the recycling bin. Business owners with this mind-set often strike out with their first website. They start out by by throwing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars at web development and walk away thinking websites "don't work". But websites and web branding really do work when done right, and we're here to prove it to you.

Branding Websites by Artisan Crew:
What They Can Do For Your Business

So you're afraid a website with a branding / marketing plan is too expensive? We're here to tell you that custom branding sites pay for themselves

A website, even one that doesn't do direct B to C sales like an ecommerce site, can, and needs to, pay for itself.

One of the goals of a branding site is to get more buyers / distributors / consumers to search for your brand directly instead of a product category. This means more buyers will be aware of the buzz about your brand, this means strangers recognize your logo, this means leads, sales, and overall profits increase.

We honestly believe you should get what you pay for.

But you also need to understand what you need to get, and can reasonably expect to get out of your investment. We mean websites that are too cheap and websites that are very expensive without goals are both inefficient ways of spending your web design budget.

So how do you get what you pay for?

I know we're sounding like a broken record here, but you need to start with your business branding goals and go from there.

Every business has an advertising budget, and the best way to use that most efficiently is to choose marketing and branding mediums that have the best return on investment. A really good branding website can have amazing R.O.I.

Any amount of money spend on an ineffective website is too much, but unrealistic expectations in regards to money spent gets you nowhere. $500 to a few thousand in the real world gets you a full page ad in a local print circular in the low tens of thousands of households, ONCE.

Did you know that a full-page black and white ad that runs ONE DAY in Sunday's New York Times costs about $180,000? If you're a business that thinks you can spend $3000 on a website to launch your business and get out in front of hundreds of thousands to millions of your potential clients / consumers / fans once and and be done with it, you're not being realistic. The web's a great branding opportunity, but it's not business Narnia.

Also remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. According to Nielsen, the average ROI for online advertising is 218%. A web design agency or web developer promising you a much higher return should raise an immediate red flag. If you need to make $1.5 Million in sales annually and an agency is promising the web design and web marketing they're charging your business $10,000 for is going to get you there, you're looking at an ROI of 14900%. If you're down with that, we have a mini-dragon that eats jelly beans and sneezes out gold that we'd like to sell you. Call us!

On the other hand, we've also seen the businesses who spend and spend and spend on custom widgets and apps (because all the cool kids have apps!) and amazing original graphics and exotic location shoots and videos and models and bears, oh my! But because they didn't start with measurable goals or an actual marketing plan in regards to who they needed to attract to their super fancy site and how, they too have missed the website boat. Metaphorically speaking, they're like restaurants with no customers who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on redecorating their interiors when they would have been better served changing chefs and advertising.

Advantages of Custom Branding Site


Custom Branding Site Advantage:
Sets Your Brand Apart

Your website is a chance for you to show the world who you are. If your message is “We’re just like a lot of other companies / brands / sites, but here's our phone number” you probably don't need a custom branded website.

For everybody else, let's metaphor this.

You're an amazing restaurant in an area with no foot traffic. (That's your brand without an effective branding strategy.)

Potential customers don't see you, they don't hear about you, and they can't tell their friends about how amazing your dishes are because they haven't tasted them.

Should you panic and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on redecorating you interior?

No. Absolutely not. (Well, some of you do, but those of you who do it that way aren't our clients because that's how you go out of business.)


Custom Branding Site Advantage: Increased Brand Awareness Through Web Marketing

So from that no-traffic unknown empty seated area point of things (new business, new brand, new venture), we work our tushes off getting people to try your food and to eat in your restaurant, tell their friends, and have reasons to keep coming back, creating the traffic you need to survive.

Targeted SEO / PPC / Web Marketing / Social Network Marketing / Buzz and Viral Marketing plans that you can afford are how we do this part for you, custom based on your needs, goals, and budget.

So now we've got visitors, and a great product. That's all we need, right? Not quite. We also need our face, our customer service, the people / entity that come in contact with our visitors to be at the top of their game as well.

And that's the other big role your "simple" branding, marketing goal-based website needs to play.


Custom Branding Site Advantage:
"Indifference" Can Kill A Brand

Moving ahead with the restaurant metaphor, as a person who eats out, you absolutely know that uninformative and indifferent servers can be as bad as bad service, and make you less likely to return to the restaurant even if the food was good.

And that's one of our most important jobs as website developers: to be the best front-of-house we can possibly be to best showcase your excellent dishes. A good branding site keeps the inside of your place clean and fresh, makes sure your front of house is polite, friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable about your food and dishes. (This is the branding website we design for you; your face, your front of house. When a site or service is done badly or with no thought or care, it can, with no ill-will ruin even the best meal.)
The combination of these two elements, the marketing and generation of word-of-mouth and positive reviews, and then keeping that experience consistent, are the real goals of an effective branding website. One without the other, and you've got an empty restaurant, or one that people don't come back to.

An Example of a Company that Needs a Branding Site
(Told Using Bad Stock Photography & Cheesy Icons)

The Company

Soda brand, MochaCola, wants to sell a delicious coffee-flavored soda in specialty stores, fountain outlets, and possibly upscale supermarkets. They're not a household name, but lots of people love the coffee-cola flavor and double caffeine punch of their drink, and they have had huge grassroots successes when they've passed out samples on college campuses. They're now ready to take the next step, and they need a website and a plan. What kind of website do they need? Let's start by examining what they need their website to do.

Their Goals

The goal of MochaCola is, in the end, to increase sales of their soda, to establish a loyal customer base, and to let those consumers know why they're truly better than other coffee colas out there. They also need buyers from major venues to become familiar with them, and see that they have a loyal and growing fan-base which gives buyers an incentive to carry them; a brand with an established, growing customer base is always less of a risk than a pure unknown. They're looking to make the jump from niche to mainstream or at least a very stable and secure niche dominance and they know that can't be done without a solid brand identity. They need their online presence to:

Let people know they exist. And when they've done that, let them know why they're the best in their sector and generate excitement for their brand.

Give their potential individual consumers the actual information they want as well as serve as a point of contact for customer suggestions, compliments and questions.

Explain their company's values, commitment to their consumers and staff, and give people an extra reason (aside from just being super delicious) why people should feel good about choosing them over the alternatives.

Offer their brand fans incentives for sharing information about their product with their friends, which maximizes the value of each and every individual whose eyes landed on the site.

Now since they're working hard to make sure people want them, any retail outlets smart enough to carry them will get extra publicity when Mocha sends their product's fans from their online branding initiatives to the places they can buy their delicious soda, on MochaCola's dime.

WIN / WIN: MochaCola has dedicated their marketing and branding effort to make sure they'll fly off the shelves of the retail outlets that carry them making bigger and bigger distributors more and more interested while maintaining a loyal and engaged fan base for their products, people just waiting for their next product release, and who keep asking the local resellers if they have it in yet.

So to beat this distressed equine to its very limits;
A website is never "just a website" when you actually need to build a brand.

So what do they need their new site to be?

Information Website Designs

Custom Information Website Design

Information Sites: What They Are

Information Sites: Who Needs Them:

Information sites cover a variety of site types, including:

News Sites

For-Profit Brand FAQ or Instruction Manual Sites

Educational Institutions

Government Organizations

For Profit Education-Resource-as-a-Service Sites



Health Care Providers

Advantages of Custom Information Site

Custom Information Sites Are Flexible

Most template sites lack the flexibility to adjust to specific needs. If your site is going to change frequently or expand indefinitely, custom websites allow for room to grow, in the way that will best serve your target users.

Custom Information Sites Are Built With Only You in Mind

Templates are built to be customized by the masses. If you have a unique need or custom addition, you'll need a custom site built.

Custom Information Sites Bring Organic Traffic

Give me an S! Give me an EO! SEO! We are running out of ways to stress the importance of SEO. If you want to be found, you need search engine optimization, and to do it right requires a professional.

Custom Information Sites Come With Better Support and Expertise

Our customer site comes with our expert support. We believe you shouldn’t pay extra for “priority call back” or “instant response.”

Marketing websites and online shops that sell.
Goal based design paired with real-world experience.
Web design by Artisan Crew, Los Angeles