Doctors, it is said, can be the worst patients. The same is true for website designers being their own worst clients – especially when you throw just a pinch of perfectionism into the mix.
The task then, to create a brand, identity, and a website for your own company shouldn’t be that easy, considering the above sentence to be true.
Indeed, it took well over a month with a few hours on most days dedicated to hunting for inspiration, trying to find a theme, colour palette, look and feel, and then finally a sense of direction to work from. There were three chosen logos before the one that was settled on and is in use now, and each time I chose one I slept on it, and then started all over again knowing that I wasn’t happy.
It should be pointed out at this stage that any client work I take on does not usually take this long, it’s my unrelenting standards that get in the way!
The first logo
This very first logo took me five minutes to make, and it shows:
This logo was exactly how I envisaged it, but the detail of the brand, identity, and how it was going to be used in-context on a website, on printed media meant that this was a non-starter.
Finding the direction
The inspiration for the company brand and logo that I settled on came from the company name itself, or at least, the initials for Moreton Creative – “MC”.
“MC” on it’s own is nothing special, but I liked the idea of a monogram logo:
A monogram logo is a decorative design made up of a combination of one to three overlapping letters (traditionally three) to create a single symbol. Monogram logos are commonly used to represent the initials of a person or business. The letters in this logo style may also be combined with imagery to illustrate the concept of the brand further. [source: logojoy]
Early Sketches and Designs
The fun part was putting this together on the screen, and playing with a few concepts:
There were certainly some interesting concepts in there – and I nearly went for the top left one in the circle – but there was something about the bottom right one that needed exploring. I liked it.
The finished logo
I loved the idea of it all falling in to place so smoothly. A simple monogram, in monochrome (one colour). with the M for Moreton at the forefront and the C for Creative emerging from behind, as though it was coming into view. I had a winner.
Here is the finished logo and in context on my business card:
The business card:
Design and art is subjective – so whilst I know this design won’t set the world alight and win prizes – I’m overjoyed with it. It does what my brief set out, which was to create a simple but effective logo – if there was a talking point and solid reasoning behind it – then all the better.
So – you have a website, but want more exposure? Claiming your free listing on the big websites such as Google and Bing could help you get more customers.
It’s easy to do, and will only take an hour or two for all of them, perhaps less – but it’s important for Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
Your area or regional customers and visitors are most likely your largest and most important audience for your local listings. According to a March 2017 survey… 80 percent of respondents said a search engine is their top choice for finding local businesses in their community
Claiming your free business listing will allow potential customers in your local area to find you. They can find out important business information such as directions, photos, opening hours and much more. They may also be able to see and submit reviews, which are vital in turning potential customers into actual customers.
Now that you have the most important online pages for your business set up, you can start by asking your clients to review you. You can invite your regular clients, most recent clients, or even historical clients who have had dealings with you to leave their feedback.
You might be thinking of starting a business, or already have an established one. Either way, you need to get your online usernames and domain name sorted – as soon as you can.
Assuming you have a business name, you will need to reserve all the appropriate social media usernames, as well as your domain name. The sooner you do it the better. Social media accounts are free, but domain names will cost you about £10 a year depending on the provider.
How to choose a domain name and username
If at all possible – you should really go for usernames that are identical across all the big social media platforms. If these happen to match your domain name then all the better, as it will make it easier for you to remembers, and if it is easier for you to remember then it will be easier for your customers to remember.
Twitter and instagram will allow you to create an account quite easily, whether you are registering a personal or business account, but for Facebook you need to create a business page, and there are some good instructions on this hootsuite post on how to do that.
Use an unrelated email address
This point I feel is an important one: and is not one I know of many people to follow. When you register a social media account or a domain name, try not to use an email address that is attached to your company domain name. You may already have a Hotmail, Gmail or other free-to-use email account you use and that is fine – as no customer will ever see these email addresses when interacting with these services.
The reason for this is simple: if one day you somehow manage to lose control of your domain name – which is very unlikely if you follow some simple security recommendations – then you have your own, unaffiliated email address where all domain name renewal reminders and security notices will be sent to. If your domain name has been compromised, or if your website goes down, then you have a fail-safe access point to regain control.
Like I said, it is very unlikely that this will happen, but in my eyes it is just good practice to do this. If you are worried about having too many email accounts then don’t worry – the chances are that your website designer will be able to set up your new professional business email address alongside your personal address if that is what you wish. For larger organisations this may not be appropriate though.
Buy your domain name – but choose wisely
It can be tempting to search for “free domain names” on Google but I fear that there will always be a catch with free domain names, or very cheap ones. When a domain name costs £10 or less to buy for a year it is hardly worth shopping around. If you have a colleague, friend or associate that recommends a domain name registrar, chances are they are fine! You can always search for the company by name and investigate their reviews on an independent review website.
Make sure you find out what the renewal fees are before you buy.
For those that do not have any recommendations, I use Krystal for web hosting and domain names and have done so for some years. They are based in the UK and the technical support has always been excellent – I highly recommend them!
Oh, and don’t worry about buying all the versions. For example, .com is designed for American based businesses and .co.uk for UK businesses.
What company name to choose?
You should always choose a name that best suits your business. I cannot tell you a formula or method but here are two great resources you should glance your eyes over:
Whatever you choose, if the company name doesn’t match any available domain names or usernames, it’s not the end of the world. Perhaps you can come up with an associated word or nice play on words that will suit it?
What if the name you chose, and this is only an example, was Apple and you happened to be a fresh fruit company? Obviously Apple.com is not available, neither are the usernames. But www.thefreshfruitco.co.uk is available (at time of writing) and chances are – the usernames on Facebook, twitter et al would be too. A great compromise.