One of the first things to consider when branding your business is the availability of a domain name for your business. I would start with that before you register your business because if you do it the other way around you might find you can’t get the online business name you want.
If the dot com .com is taken, look at that website and see if it is in direct competition to you. If the website is inactive / there is no website but the domain name is taken you have two choices, approach the domain owner to buy the domain or two pick a different domain name. I would be careful of choosing a domain that is too similar because one day the person that owns the domain you want might create a website like yours and people might get confused and buy from the other person.
Consider other domain endings like a country domain .com.au, .uk, .fr .local. There are heaps and heads of options now.
Branding is hugely important. Its like the first impression someone gets of you. Think of branding as your company’s cloths. What do you want your cloths to say about you? Are you corporate and professional or are you fun? or are you corporate and fun ? The colours you choose, the font you use and the style of writing and communication all play a role in your customers perception about you.
Make sure your branding is consistent across all your communication, by that I mean make sure you always use the same font and colours as well as image style and filters. This Apple, Virgin, Donna Hay, Jamie Oliver, The New York Times. Each of these brands evoke a colour, a style, a feeling and even though you might be a small business, people will get a feeling about your brand too.
Best practice would be to create a one page style guide for your business just to remind yourself of your brand elements, the colours, fonts, logo, image sizes ect.
The internet uses what is called html colour code to represent specific colours.
The html colour code is a six digit number and letter. eg white is #ffffff black is #000000
Use Html colour picker to get the exact colour code you want and use that same code everywhere
If you are getting a designer to create your logo, ask them what the colour code is.
For print colour codes are CMYK or RGB
These mean (CMYK) Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black – ie the percentage of each base colour to make up the colour you want. This of it like a paint recipe, eg Orange would be 0,40,100,0 (so zero cyan or blue, 40% magenta which is pink, 100% yellow and zero black) for Red you would have 0,70,100,0 so zero blue, 70% pink, 100% yellow and zero black).
If you want inspiration for what suite of colours go together go to: http://www.coolors.com
Knowing what your colours are will help you when you are setting up email newsletter templates, your website, brochures, letterhead, business cards and any marketing material you produce.
The choice of font can really say a lot about your brand. If you have a look there is a big difference between a typewriter style font and a cursive curvey font and a clean straight font. It says something about who you are and what you represent.
Pick one or two fonts and use them consistently.
Usually you have a font for your heading and a font for your text.
They can be the same but often the heading font is obviously bigger but can be a bit more fancy whereas the body font should be clear and legible.
Here is a great website where you can see what font pairs work well. http://fontpair.co/
Your website template will already have in built fonts which can be changed but that is also a good place to start.
Look at Google fonts to select which font to use for your business.
Google fonts are free to download and use and often a lot of the free website building programs use them. https://fonts.google.com/
Here is a link to the safest fonts to use online – by safe I mean they will look the same no matter what device you are using http://www.cssfontstack.com/
OK so now you have colours in mind and a font in mind, lets look at where to get a logo made.
You can get a logo designed at http://www.fiverr.com for $5. The better you brief your designer the more likely you will get what you want eg tell them colour and font and style and show them other logos you like and ones you don’t like. Tell them what feeling you want from your logo. Pick a few graphic designers on fiverr to get a few different ideas.
So once you have your general logo design you want it created and delivered in a number of formats:
1 – Get a logo that has a transparent background .png format so that you can overlay the logo on a coloured background
2 – Get your logo in black and in white as well as in colour so again you have flexibility over where to use it eg on a dark background or a light background.
3 – Get your logo in a rectangle shape as well as in a square shape because in social media you will often need it in a square.
Here is an article on logo design trends 2017 https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/logo-design-predictions-2017
Once you have a logo and/or know what your brand colours and fonts are get a business card. Look at http://www.vistaprint.com or http://www.moo.com to get cards printed or head down to your local printer shop.
It’s also good idea to get a virtual business card / email signature – again looks more professional.
Check out “wisestamp” as a gmail add on and/or “vcard”
So you don’t need to be a marketing expert to brand you business but you do need to make active conscious choices about how you want to be perceived and make sure you communicate a consistent look/feel and message.
Here is an article on small business branding https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77408
Here is a link about branding and colour choices https://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/
Here is a link to font choices https://designschool.canva.com/font-design/
Here is a brand style guide you can download http://turnarounddesign.com/how-to-create-a-simple-brand-style-guide/