How Important is Website Design?
Every business has different goals, different strategies, different markets, different marketing channels. In short, every company is different. Some businesses may not need a website at all. Maybe an app would do just fine. Or maybe old-fashioned phone calls work. This article isn't about persuading people to build websites. It's about discussing some findings involving website effectiveness. We're going to answer the question "should I be paying more attention to my website's design and layout?"
Website Design Plays an Important Role in Perceived Trustworthiness
94% of website users say website design elements are something they use to judge a company's trustworthiness. Only 6% cited content as a determiner of trustworthiness.1 Please, don't take this as an excuse to publish poor content. There are many reasons content needs to be high-quality. In fact, the same study found that people trust websites they're familiar with because of the content they publish. But that's for another article. This is about design. The following design elements are things you should avoid if you want visitors to trust you, according toShelley Media Arts.4
Busy or complex layouts
Pop-up advertisements and flamboyant ads
Small print that’s hard to read
Boring web design/lack of color
Slow website intros and load times
We agree with these findings. Some items in the list may be more important than others, but all are important considerations. Others agree, too. University of Surrey researchers found that judgments on website credibility are 75% based on overall aesthetics.2
Web Design Affects SEO and Conversion Rate
There are many factors search engines consider when they rank your website. Some factors fall into the "web design" category.
Google and other search engines will be friendlier to you if your website has good navigation. Try not to make visitors click through too many levels of navigation to find what they want.
It also helps if you don't overload your pages with a lot of large files. This will slow the load time, which will have a negative effect on SEO. Use good pictures, but they don't have to be so good that they add 5 seconds to your load time.
Lastly, don't leave pages without links. Hosting a page that isn't linked to, from your navigation or from another page, can cause problems. Also, don't publish everything you have on the same page, as is the trend with "parrallax" sites, if you are concerned with SEO. Dedicating pages to your blog, your bio and other things will better appease the search engines.
Bing once adjusted the color of its links from one shade of blue to another. The company found that the color change resulted in an $80 million increase in revenue.3 Don't underestimate the power of color; and while you're optimizing your link colors, test different calls to action.
Your Web Design Should Reflect Your Image
Just as a teen's skinny jeans reflects his image, so should your website's design. If your business fabricates artistically stunning, elaborate furniture, your website shouldn't be dull and plain. It also shouldn't have any obvious flaws. Anyone buying high-quality furniture may think "if they can't do the website right, will they do my furniture right?" We're emotional, irrational creatures. Get used to it and make sure your website represents your business well.
To Sum Up
In the past, your website may have been nothing more than a bare-bones outlet of information, having little design involved. Today, though, your website is your real estate. Give it the respect it deserves or you will miss out on some revenue.
Seizing market share by using proven website elements and online advertising practices is what we at isoTree do best. We're standing by. When you're ready to discuss your goals, contact us.
1. Hendricks, Drew. "Understanding The Full Impact of Web Design on SEO, Branding, And More." Feb 11, 2015. Forbes. (link)
2. Alsudani, Farah and Casey, Matthew. "The Effect of Aesthetics on Web Credibility." 2009. BCS.org. (link)
3. Fried, Ina. "Behind Bing's Blue Links." Mar 18, 2010. c/net. (link)
4. Shelley, Ryan. "How Web Design Impacts Your SEO, Branding and Conversion Rates." July 10, 2015. Shelley Media Arts. (link)