The benefits of good website design are best summed up in the following quote:
"If you have a business, you should have a Website. Period. No question. Without a doubt. Here's the exception to my rule: It's actually better to have no Website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. It either says, 'Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we have created this wonderful site for our customers!' or it screams, 'Hey, look, I let my 10-year-old nephew design my site. Good luck finding anything!'" Tim Knox - founder of four highly successful US technology companies.
But let us explore this further.
As you know, first impressions are crucial. When you meet someone for the first time or walk into a shop, what you see first helps you decide on your next course of action. Is this someone who I would like to be friends with? Does this shop have what I want or is it in such a disorganised state that I don't know where to look and want to walk out straight away? You know what I mean. When you think about encounters you have had in the past, it is what you see that makes that first crucial impression.
This is exactly why good website design is critical in attracting potential customers. If, at a glance, the website does not appeal to someone surfing the net, it just takes a click for them to go to a competitors website and hey presto.. you lose a valuable client.
So what is good website design? You know it when you see it. If you open a website that has the wow factor for you, then you know that a few key elements have been considered by the designer.
Firstly, it has a striking front page which captures your eye. The design of the front page should make people want to keep looking at your site and make them familiar with what it is you are selling. Good design is not easy to explain, but you know it when you see it.
The pages should be well laid out and not cluttered. Putting too much info onto a web page can confuse and frustrate a visitor who then probably will not hang around to see any more. Lots of bells and whistles may look impressive at first glance but they can slow down a website and people are unlikely to wait for the pages to load so will go somewhere else.
So you could have the best product or service around but if your website doesn't sell it, well then what is the point?
A website should be easy to navigate. You shouldn't have to look at the site for long before deciding where to go for more information. If that happens, a potential client is likely to again get frustrated and click away onto another site. The site should open quickly. If it takes too long a potential customer will again get frustrated and abandon your site. A good designer will know the tricks to avoid having a slow website. Like having too many moving graphics and blinking texts. Not only does this slow down a site, but often viewers are annoyed by them as they just get in the way and are a distraction for someone trying to find out more information about your business.
The copy (or script) should be well written and easy to read. If there are spelling and grammatical errors, this will reduce your website credibility. Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation show attention to detail which is what we are all looking for when buying goods or services. We want to know we are getting the best our money can buy from someone serious about providing a top quality product. It also shows you are serious about what you do and want visitors to your site to know this.
You only have a brief chance to impress someone with your website, so spend time ensuring it does have the wow factor.
The photography should be top quality. This again gives your website credibility and that professional look that is crucial in encouraging customers to choose your business over your competitors. While many people like to supply their own photos, unless the quality is of a high standard you are better off letting the designer source the material as they will know where to get the shots that will give the site that wow factor you are after.
Your site has probably less than a minute to capture the interest of potential customers. That is why a clean, unique, appealing and fast loading site can increase the impact on your business. So make the first impression a good one!