It’s easy to dismiss the visual design of websites as something that is only relevant for businesses in certain, more arty, fields. But the reality is that good website design matters for all businesses.
And it doesn’t need to be hard to achieve.
Why is Good Website Design important?
We all Judge on Appearances
It takes just 0.05 seconds to get an impression of someone’s website according to Google. That’s not long. Needless to say there’s not many words you can read in that time so the first impression is based entirely on appearance.
We all do it.
In a fraction of a second we’ll make a judgement about something based upon how it looks. It’s not just websites. That bottle of wine. People. Books. Houses.
You wouldn’t want an office or shop that had peeling paint, looked really messy and cluttered and generally unwelcoming. Because it would give the wrong impression to potential clients.
The Consequences of Poor Design
What happens if visitors don’t like what they see?
Research has shown about 1/3 of visitors will leave a website if they don’t like the look of it. You might think that you don’t want such shallow minded people as clients but it isn’t a case of being shallow. They’re taking a view that you’re not what they’re looking for. They’re busy and have better things to do than look at a website which isn’t going to give them what they are looking for.
Whilst not everyone that comes to your website is going to be a client, few of us can afford to turn that many potential clients away. Especially if we have worked hard to get that traffic. All that effort in getting people to your website only for them to leave because your website is poorly designed???
The issue isn’t just those who leave though. For those who stay on a website it can be really hard to change that first impression. It requires a lot of effort.
Yes it can be done, but it is a lot easier if your first impression is the one you want to leave people with.
If your website looks cheaply put together it can be really difficult to persuade someone using words that your service is premium.
If your website looks dated it can be hard to persuade them that you’re a modern, forward thinking business.
It works the other way too. If a first impression is positive people are more forgiving of mistakes. Because they’re emotionally invested.
Good website design builds trust and means more sales
We’re always looking for verification that people are who they say they are. Actions certainly speak louder than words.
It’s like walking into a shop that looks like a jumble sale. Or into an office where the receptionist looks like they’ve just rolled out of bed with their hair a mess, crumpled clothes and yawning. It looks unprofessional. You wonder whether they’re a business that cares about their customers.
I’ve come across more websites than I want to that use different designs on each page. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t look like it belongs to the same business. It’s like we’re being introduced to a new business on each page. And it takes time to build trust in each one.
At the end of the day we need visitors to stay on our website, read what we have to say and trust us to buy. Visitors leaving because of poor design or not trusting us because we’re giving out inconsistent messages aren’t going to buy. You’re reducing your pool of potential purchasers.
A well designed, visually coherent website is going to look more polished and lead people into thinking you offer a more premium service than a poorly designed website. Most of the websites we have built for existing businesses have been tied into a “repositioning” of their business (with a price increase).
Good website design can differentiate you from your competitors.
If you’re in an industry where design is not considered important good website design can make an even bigger difference. It makes you stand out. You’ll be the one that’s remembered.
Good website design is not rocket science. There are a number of key components which make a big difference to the whole look of a website.
What are the Key Components of Good Website Design?
Good website design doesn’t need to be difficult. You need to consider:
Having a consistent colour palette elevates your business. Using a hotchpotch approach not only looks messy but is distracting for website visitors. Businesses with a consistent style (brand colours play a big part in this) are considered more trustworthy than those which use a variety of styles. This leads to a difference in sales.
Images make the biggest difference to the look of a website. It doesn’t matter whether they are branding photos of you (which I highly recommend) or stock photos or a combination of the two. But it is key that the images all go together. They need to be coherent.
You can do that by looking at the style and the colours of the images. You want some consistency in both. Using your brand colours within images is a good way to connect them. Just a splash is all that is needed.
Consistent use of a few fonts which go together look much better than lots of fonts. We recommend using no more than 3. One for body text, which must be easily readable. Another (or the same) for headings. This one should tie in with the feel of your brand. And a third can be used for quotes or other highlights.
Use of space makes a massive difference to the way a website looks. Don’t try to cram everything in.
The design of your website is important because it impacts on whether visitors stay on your website or leave. Consciously or not, we all react to how things look. We’re naturally attracted to good design and repelled by poor design.
Visitors judge your business very quickly based on the look of your website, and they’ll leave your website without buying if it’s poorly designed.
Isn’t it worth investing a little time and effort into good website design?