Imagine a potential customer lands on your website. They take one look at the page and immediately hit the back key, eager to find different options. Even if the content of your business and its website reflects what a user is searching for it’s entirely possible that they will completely ignore you. Why is that? Although there could be a number of reasons why, it’s almost impossible to deny the importance of website design. How your website looks and functions will speak volumes about your business and it will stick in people’s minds forever. Today, we’re going to take a look at how your business’ web design may be hurting you.
Why Simply Being Online Isn’t Enough
Maybe the idea of having your business online is a foreign concept to you. You heard it’s important, though, so you begrudgingly got your business a handful of social media accounts and threw together a basic website. Maybe you even had someone else do it for you. You wipe your hands off, pat yourself on the back, and wait for your new customers to come rolling in…only to hear crickets chirping. It turns out that just having a website or web presence in the first place isn’t good enough. A study called “Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites” found that 94 percent of its participants cited web design as the main reason why they did or did not trust a website. This study focused specifically on women searching for online health websites, but the principle still holds true for other industries. The study’s findings, while helpful, shouldn’t be surprising, though, if you consider the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Your website isn’t the be-all and end-all of your business, but for potential customers, it’s most certainly the “cover.”
The Importance of Web Design
The attention span of users gets shorter and shorter as time goes on. When virtually unlimited options rest in the palm of our hands with the touch of a button or even a spoken word, it’s difficult to stand out in the noise. Still, with a little website designing help, even just a little change can go a long way. Some key ways that great web design helps are:
- Improved user experience
- Visually appealing content
- Improved search engine optimization
- Brand awareness and consistency
- Improved audience engagement
- A trustworthy relationship with your audience
We’ll take a look at these in more detail now.
1. Navigation: An Improved User Experience
Your website’s navigation, or user interface, arguably plays the biggest role in the importance of web design. Your website should be simple and intuitive. Can a user find the exact information they are looking for right away? At the very least, is it clear which page they need to go to to find what they’re looking for? Chances are high that if you have a business website you have more than one page. Your homepage most likely branches off to different product or service pages, contact pages, about pages, etc. The structure of some websites ends up looking something like a spider web. An intuitive layout will make navigating your site easier or at least enjoyable to use. If the specific information someone is looking for is buried in one linked page after another with no clear way of navigating to it from the home page, for example, what good is it? Not only that, how quickly a website or a webpage loads is important too. Google itself found that half of the users abandon a website if it doesn’t load in at least three seconds. The importance of getting a user to where they want to go as quickly as possible can’t be stressed enough.
2. Visual Content and Aesthetics
When you’re trying to get new customers, you probably have a lot to say. After all, in your mind, there are probably a million reasons why someone should go with your service or product. And your content should not be ignored! Visual design and aesthetics are very important but it should not compromise the integrity of your written content. But cluttering webpages with walls of text is utterly useless. Sure, the information is all there, but it doesn’t look good to the average user and it’s difficult to sift through. Your website content should be helpful and informational but as brief and to the point as possible. It should also be laid out in a way that’s clean and easy to understand. Having the eye of a good web designer is crucial here. For example, a designer will know how to properly utilize negative space, making for a modern and clean-looking webpage designed to draw the eye of the reader to what’s most important.
3. Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
By now, many business owners understand that SEO is important even if they don’t know why it’s important or how it gets done. Basically, SEO improves your ranking in search engine results with various search engines by using well-chosen and placed keywords, phrases, and internal and external links. Unless someone is already aware of your company or has materials directing them to your website, this is the best way to gain potential new customers. Search engines, such as Google or Bing, have algorithms that crawl through your website’s HTML picking out these elements and determining where you rank for particular searches. A good website design will not only have the right content in the right place but also know where to put it and how to format. For example, important keywords should be used sooner rather than later, included in tags, not used too often or too close to each other, and more. Web analytics can help you determine whether the tactics you’re using for improved SEO are being utilized in the design well or not. This is also where you might hit a bit of a crossroads between design and practicality. For example, one fairly popular trend in web design right now is parallax design where a single page with most (or all) of the content seems to scroll on forever. It can be visually appealing and also convenient for all the users who are browsing your website on mobile devices. Parallax design also takes a little bit away from your SEO ranking, though. When you abandon the traditional website design and pile all of your keywords and phrases into a single URL, it doesn’t necessarily look right to search algorithms. Sometimes, you need to balance the pros and cons of putting design over other considerations.
4. Brand Awareness and Consistency
When you think of brand awareness you probably think of your business’ name or logo. It can also include the voice of your business or its website. For example, does your business speak to its audience in a warm and inviting tone or is it slightly colder and more analytical? It’s important to not only understand your audience and how to communicate to them but to be consistent throughout the entirety of your website. The consistency and uniformity of your brand lead to more trust with users. The logo is an obvious example of consistency. If it looks one way on one web page but different on another, then it’s just confusing at the very least. At most, it tells the user that your business is untrustworthy and doesn’t know what it’s doing. The style of web page layouts and voice in written or audio content should be consistent as well. Different businesses have different tones and ways of speaking.
5. Increase Engagement
This is where pre-planning becomes important. Whether you’re overhauling the website design yourself or outsourcing to a proven professional, you need to have a good idea of what you want. “I want a good looking website” isn’t enough. You’re most likely creating this website for increased conversion rates, marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, or something similar. When you set a particular goal in mind it informs the web design itself. Are you encouraging users to spend more time on the website and visit more web pages? Are you leading the customer directly to a sale or contact information? Regardless of the goal, good web design will lead to more audience engagement.
6. A Stronger Relationship With Your Audience
All in all, every facet of good website design leads to a stronger relationship with your audience. You may offer the best products or most helpful services in the world, but if users find your web presence difficult or ugly, what does it matter? Establishing the consistency and strength of your online presence will grab your audience’s attention and create lasting trust.
Creating a Positive Customer Relationship
The importance of website design can’t be stressed enough. It’s not just a peripheral or an afterthought when creating a business website; it should be one of your main considerations. Quality web design will increase your brand awareness, make it easier for users to get to where they need to go, and improve trust with your audience. Good website designing help isn’t always easy to come by, though, so if you’d like to see how EB Pearls can help out, feel free to contact us right away!