equal access to agency-level design

As a small business owner, you might be debating whether or not your company is "eligible" to hire an agency to help you create your brand. The answer is yes, by the way. Spoiler Alert: Eligibility requirements do not exist in order for any company to have a sharp logo and website.

all brands deserve equal access to agency-level design

Solid website design and logo creation, along with other brand elements like your tagline, shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg as a small business owner. There's just one catch - you literally cannot afford to have a lackluster web experience for your end-user. It doesn't matter if you own a local carwash, landscaping company, or you're a CPA. Without a solid logo and website, you aren't allowing your customers to really take you seriously. And yet, the first thing business owners are willing to just "throw together" is both their logo and website. I've seen countless professionals try and scoot by with a pop-up site; and, while these sites are visually appealing, they are not great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because of canonicalization.

say it five times fast now, canonicalization

This is a sneaky little tag that lives in the boring part of your website (coding). The "rel-canonical" tag tells search engines that "hey!! This is duplicate information and I don't need to show up in searches because I appear elsewhere!" Even if the content on the page is different, your page will still remain virtually unsearchable because the code is telling search engines to move along. Try to avoid services that guarantee you a "quick build" to your website. You do not want to set up a site that doesn't fully communicate the voice of your brand, and you absolutely cannot do that in less than an hour.

your message matters

There's no doubt that nobody knows your business like you do, so collaboration is key between you and your agency of choice. It's important that you feel heard, or else your authenticity could get buried by fancy bells and whistles that don't quite match your identity. In addition to your logo and website, your brand also relies on visual content that matches both your brand's identity and voice.

When it comes to social media posting, I find that having a gallery of images and videos to share via social networking or email marketing will help keep your touch points cohesive and on track. A trick I use for my clients is getting them in the habit of using a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Think of it as your own stock photo folder that you can pull from anytime you need to post. Most brands are not just posting a photo on Instagram or a video on YouTube the day-of. Social posting is most always carefully thought out to fit the brand's identity and voice, so take some time to have a post every week that truly speaks to your brand's purpose.

Giving yourself the opportunity to work with a professional designer will take a huge weight off your shoulders and give you the confidence that the end result will be the next step in growing your brand. All brands deserve equal access to agency-level design.

quit daydreaming about what your brand could be, and make it what it should be.

Whitney Antwine