A website is the virtual face of your business and can easily be a visitor's first exposure to your business. Ensuring that your website is branded appropriately means that the website will unmistakably be associated with your business. Just as it is important to have consistent corporate branding for print collateral, it's important to maintain that consistency for your website.
A good practice in choosing a colour palette is to balance it around the colour version of the corporate logo. This can mean pulling colours from the logo, choosing colours analogous to those, and choosing colours which complement the logo. The palette should enhance the logo. It should also be appropriate for the company's industry and target audience. Remember that your logo and corporate colours need to be an integral part of the web design. Your website should strengthen your corporate image.
What if your logo only utilizes very bright colours? Your website colour palette does not have to consist of only bright colours. Keep your target audience in mind. Children are more receptive to bright colours than adults. However, it is important to keep in mind that text content should always be easy to read. Ensure that there's enough contrast and that type is sized appropriately.
If your business caters to a more professional audience, but you want to include some bright colours, it's best to use them sparingly. This allows the bright colours to make more of an impact and gives breathing room to other content. White space is not a bad thing, and visitors will generally prefer a site that gives some time for their eyes to rest while perusing content than a site which demands attention in too many places simultaneously.
Similarly, if you have a great deal of text content on your site, try not to have too many other items that can distract visitors from your content. If your site is about content, let the content shine. You don't need a plethora of bells and whistles to have a great website. If something seems to distract from the real purpose of your website, think twice about including it.
And what about extra features on your website? Don't forget to give those attention too. If visitors can see it, it should be easily identifiable as being associated with your business. That means the company blog needs to be branded. It doesn't mean that you need to replicate a site design for the blog, but they do need to work together.
Obviously, it's important for your corporate identity to carry across print and new media. But don't forget that there are things that are better suited to print than they are to new media, and things that are better suited to the screen than print.
Don't be afraid to ask your web designer why they think a certain route will work better for you in web design. Be glad if they raise concerns; it means they want the best for you. It is ultimately your business and your choice in how it's represented, but it's always wise to be receptive to the experience of your web designer. Even if you decide you want something to be done differently from what was suggested by the web designer, keep their concerns in mind and let them know that you prefer a different route.
Your website is an important vehicle for strengthening your corporate identity, and can easily attract new business. Take advantage of the opportunity to enhance your image; don't forget about branding.