Why a picture of some balancing rocks? Well, good webdesign is always a balancing act. Balancing appearance, usability, speed and cost. Read on…
If you are thinking of redesigning your website or building a new one, you may wonder if website design matters. How does webdesign affect your New Zealand visitors in particular and thus your business? We’ll look at six reasons why good web design matters, not just here in New Zealand but across the world.
1. It creates that critical first impression
When a visitor sees your website for the first time they get their initial impression of your business. They will judge your business nearly instantly. In just the first fleeting second or two you must make a positive impact on your prospective client.
If your website looks rather shoddy, is outdated or slow to load, your visitor will immediately get a negative impression of your business. You’ll likely miss out on valuable business because they’ll simply hit the back button and look for another website – your competitor’s website.
Web design really matters because it impacts directly on how people will perceive your business. The first impression you make on them will either get them to remain on your website, learning about your business or leave, probably never to return. Good website design helps you keep visitors on your site, researching your business and making positive decisions.
2. It helps your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy
Fundamental web design practices greatly affect how search engine spiders will crawl and index your website.
This is one thing you must not mess up. If the basic aspects of designing for search engines are not done correctly, it’ll be an uphill battle for search engine rankings, right from the very first day.
Aside from the content on your website, certain underlying website features directly affect SEO, in a multitude of ways. These (mainly invisible) bits can be difficult to understand if you’re not familiar with how it all works. Put simply, your website must be built to be search engine friendly, particularly to Google. Good SEO practices should be built into the very fabric of any website.
3. It sets the tone for customer service
People often judge how you will treat them by looking at your website. Your website gives them an insight into how you view your clients. If you don’t put effort into your website’s design your potential clients and customers will probably think that you won’t be putting much effort into helping them either.
Your website is really a customer service representative. If your website looks modern and inviting, your visitors will feel more welcome. You need to give the impression that you are open and welcoming to anyone that visits your website.
By contrast, an outdated, dull and unattractive site makes your business appear cold and distant. People won’t want to deal with a business that doesn’t value them enough to make a good first impression.
Think of your website design as the digital equivalent of a face. If someone walked in off the street, into your physical location, wouldn’t you want a friendly face to greet them and make them feel welcome? A properly designed website is the equivalent to a friendly face greeting your new visitors.
4. It builds trust with your visitors
People don’t trust badly designed websites and the people behind them. If they come across a poorly designed site and the information looks old and outdated they won’t trust your website or you. They might even assume your business is seedy and shady, just because you don’t have a properly designed website.
Think about a person looking to buy something online, something that costs a lot of money. If your website design doesn’t convey trust, they really will keep looking and another business will get their order. One with a better website. It’s that simple.
On the other hand, a professional looking website conveys trust. People will trust your business and feel comfortable checking it out further and giving you a call. You may never even know that it was your website that generated that call.
5. Your competitors are doing it
Your main competitors are probably already running better, more modern websites. To remain competitive you must use high quality web design for your site.
You need your website to stand out from the competition. If you have an old, outdated and cheap website, your competitor’s will leave you behind. They’ll attract the clients you should have had, simply because their website is more appealing.
When you’re competing with other businesses here in New Zealand, you generally have the same services and similar pricing. You need that one thing that will make your business stand out from the rest. That can be your website.
A well-designed website is the best way for your business to showcase it’s unique features. It should subtly influence visitors, causing them choose your business over all the competition out there.
6. It creates consistency
When you’re trying to get new clients you want to build your brand. You want your audience to get familiar with your brand so they choose you when they’re ready to buy.
You should have the same colours, fonts, styles and layout across all the pages on your website. If you have a different look on every page, this will make your site confusing and it will look very unprofessional.
By building consistency, you keep prospective clients on your site longer and let them get familiar with your business. You will generate more business when you redesign your website for this key element.
The important elements of quality web design
Now that you know about the importance of a well designed website it’s time to start looking at the factors that make up a quality design. There are six important design priniples that should be built into every website.
1. Sensible navigation
When users arrive at your site they want to find your information quickly and easily. If you want people to remain on your website then you must have a menu system that is intuitive and super easy for your audience to use.
They should not have to learn how to use your website! They must be able to access your different pages without having to guess which link to click. If your website navigation is poorly designed visitors will just give up and go elsewhere.
Visitors’ attention spans are pretty short. If you want to keep them on your site, you must help them access information quickly. Properly designed navigation will help them get to the information they need.
Your menus should be simple and self-explanatory. Include broad headings that encompass a number subtopics, so visitors can quickly find the information they are after.
2. Responsive design
Visitors will access your website using a multitude of different devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. If you want all of these visitors to remain on your site, you must make sure that everybody has a good experience.
Responsive webdesign ensures that your visitors will see a nice website, regardless of the device they are using. Your website should automatically adapt to any device and displays correctly.
Responsive design helps keep people looking at, and reading pages, for longer. If you want to have a successful website, you must have a properly responsive website design.
3. Style guides
As mentioned previously, one reason why good webdesign matters is because it creates consistency across your entire website. Consistency helps your audience build brand recognition and keeps them engaged on your page longer. A style guide will help you keep a consistent brand image on your website.
Creating a style guide
Your style guide is the basis for how you want your website to look. You decide the color, format, typography and more, for every page on your website.
When you have a consistent style across your entire website you create a much more cohesive site. Your visitors will stay on your site longer and it helps build brand recognition. This will help you gain more clients down the line.
4. Purposeful visuals
Successful companies with successful websites use images and video to help improve engagement on a website. For example, customers are 10 times more likely to interact with a video than with text.
While visual elements are great for engagement and breaking up text, some businesses go overboard with the images. Their sites are so crowded with photos and videos that the site feels overwhelming and cluttered. And it gets slower and slower as all that overhead has to be downloaded and rendered.
If you want to have success with your website, you must create a balance between images and text. Don’t add any visual elements just for the sake of it.
5. Well written copy
Your visitors come to your website to obtain information so it’s important that when you include this information on your site, you write good quality copy. The text must be understandable, free from errors and be easy to read.
Writing good copy keeps your visitors on the website for longer. They’ll read all your information to learn about your business. The style of writing should be consistent with the style of your website.
The content on your site matters just as much as the overall design, so it’s necessary for you to provide your audience with valuable information they need.
6. Page speed
You can have an awesome looking website but it won’t matter at all if your desired visitors never get to see it. Having fast loading pages is a critical part of good web design. You must ensure that your website pages load quickly, so your visitors can find what they are looking for without having to wait.
Website visitors hate to wait for slow loading pages. If any page takes too long to load, your visitor will become distracted and lose their interest in your website. They will go back to Google and select a competitor’s website instead. And every time this happens, Google notices…
Finally… if you’ve got this far…
Maybe all the above this looks a bit daunting? Webdesign Matters specialise in carefully building customised high-performance websites for New Zealanders and will bring nearly 25 years of website knowledge and expertise to your website project. We absolutely know how much webdesign matters and can help you create the website you need. Get in touch.