Web design is sometimes seen as an added extra, nice to have, but optional, and this mistaken belief could be affecting your enterprise, as your design has consequences for your entire online identity.
Having good design promotes trust in your site and so by extension, in you and your company. Many visitors will feel discouraged or put off from your business if the layout is old-fashioned, illogical or confusing and that impression is made before they even start reading your content.
Web design is your “in” to customer relationships
Design and content are both important; the design leads visitors onto your content, but it also affects your SEO, your branding and image and ultimately, your conversions.
How design affects your SEO
A lot of websites are using parallax design – one single page that scrolls on to the end. It works well on mobile devices and keeps readers engaged, but it can cause problems as it doesn’t have the conventional structure of several pages. This means that search engines might think your website is just one URL, with lots of keywords, which could count as punishable keyword-stuffing. It’s possible that web design and development experts will find a way round this, but it might be best to give it a swerve for now.
On the other hand, responsive web design – a site that renders differently depending on the device it’s on – eliminates the risk of duplicate content that comes from having a desktop and a mobile version. Search engines reward responsive websites and this lowers bounce rates.
Web design and your brand
They’re not the same thing, although many confuse the two. Your web design communicates your branding to your audience and should gain their trust.
Your branding aims to make people say that they trust your product or service and the branding elements – logos, colours, packaging and taglines – are all routes to this goal.
Your design elements will affect your branding and your marketing success, so make sure your visitors trust you.
Web design affects conversion rates
Your design is crucial to your conversion rates and so you should take great care with these aspects in particular:
Ease of navigation
This isn’t hard to understand. If your website is hard to get into and move around in then visitors will leave and go to simpler ones. Logical, ergonomic sites will retain visitors for longer and keep them coming back.
Your language has a direct impact on how long people stay with your site and what they do. Your calls-to-action are important so it’s vital that you get them right. Keep them short, simple and unambiguous and include the word “free” whenever possible as it can increase conversions by more than 4%!
There are lots of debates and studies on colour, but the time-honoured use of red for confidence, blue for trust (look at most call-to-action and pay buttons), green for serenity and so on still hold firm.
Your web design isn’t just there to look pretty – it can work for you, but make sure it doesn’t end up working against you.