A better title for this article might be, “how GOOD web design can help your business” because there are just a lot of really rotten looking, and rotten performing websites out there. We all have our stories of poor experiences while moving around the web. Yet, when web design is done well it can put a business on the map giving them a visual boost (through a great looking site) amongst their clientele, help people complete the tasks they are there for and do it quickly because the site was designed with performance in mind.
What makes web design good is a multi-layered conversation. There are literally dozens of considerations and touch points that go into building beautiful, performant websites. Too many points to cover in the scope of this article. For our purposes here we’ll focus on some of the most important benefits and how they help your business.
Your Website is a Sales Tool
We have a lot of discussions with clients about budgets and the value of spending a few thousand to many thousands of dollars on a website design project. Helping people break free of seeing a website as just a thing that a business should have to seeing it as an investment in a sales person, a lead generation tool, and a brand platform can take some work. While Squarespace, Wix and other quick build platforms are a great resource for getting a site up fast and cheap, those very qualities also negatively impact the perception of web design.
Sure, you can get a site that costs you $14.95 a month with free, beautiful themes; but without strategy guiding your content, design, user flows, and the myriad of other factors that go into good web design there is no reason to expect that site to move the needle.
The analogy we often put forth to potential clients is to think of a website as a sales person for a company. If they were to hire a full time sales person to grow a business, what would they expect to have to pay them per year to retain their services? How much more investment would there be in training that sales person to adequately discuss and promote the company’s products? Now, would they see that time and money spent as an investment?
Investing in a website is like hiring a sales person—one that is working for the company 24 hours a day. A sales person that is always loyal, always ready to help engage new clients and develop new business. Good web design is the catalyst that helps grow businesses. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” is a truism in the field of web design. Sure, you can get a site that costs you $14.95 a month with free, beautiful themes; but without strategy guiding your content, design, user flows, and the myriad of other factors that go into good web design there is no reason to expect that site to move the needle.
Good Web Design is Beautiful
There are a lot of unattractive/ugly websites out there. Visual design, though, can be every bit as important as the speed at which web pages load. The California based usability company, The Nielsen Normal Group, has done extensive studies on what they call the aesthetic-usability effect which refers to how people perceive an attractive website as being more functional/usable than an unattractive one. People tend to abandon or leave a website that is unattractive, having formed a poor first impression of the company. If they do stay they generally tend to take that website or company less seriously, or they perceive the company as being less professional. Both of these situations can cost businesses clients in the long term.
Good Web Design is Functional
Like a well designed building; a functional, well-structured website helps users navigate pages, easily locating the content they are looking for and helping people to make purchasing decisions regardless of where they are in the buying process.
A well defined information architecture is at the heart of good website structure. Coupling a strong underlying organization for the pages on the site and a strong strategy for the content on those pages reinforces the brand, provides a clear understanding of what services the company offers, and answers questions. Good architecture also reinforces the idea of user-centered design, which is the process web designers employ to help people do what they came to the website to do. When people can find what they are looking for and find it fast, they are more likely to pick up the phone or fill out a contact form.
Good Web Design is Performant
Having a good looking, well organized site is great, but if the site does not load quickly and perform in a way that fosters usability then nothing else that was done really matters. According to research done by Google in 2018, mobile users leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Each second longer that a site takes to load the probability of a bounce (users leaving that web page without going any further into the site) increases exponentially. And users leaving a website obviously equates to lost income.
There are many factors that contribute to site performance—each one working in concert with the other to provide a reliable, fast loading site. These are considerations made during the strategy and building of a quality website. High performing websites are designed to support businesses.
As mentioned at the start of this article, there are a lot of other factors that go into good web design, but these three over arching groups are some of the most important.
Good web design is a process. One that takes time and attention to detail. There are a myriad of factors that stand between average and stellar websites, and the differences between the two can be what makes a website just something a business does because it’s a requirement and something a business does to drive development.- - -