I don’t want to get off on a bad foot here, but I have to say it outright: looks matter. A lot. Of course, I’m referring to the attractiveness of your website. While it’s an obvious statement in that regard (it’s a common request from clients), what I want to further explain is why it matters and how the way your website looks can make it or break it.
Decisions made around what colours to choose, what fonts to use and where certain elements are positioned on each page can be the difference between a great looking website and a great looking website that performs well.
The usability and overall user experience of your website is a major factor considered by Google when content is being positioned on the search engine. It can make the difference between being on page one, or page 10.
Google rewards websites who provide users with a great experience, and they take their role as website recommenders (essentially what the ranking system is) very seriously.
A great user experience involves: making sure the fonts you're using load quickly and display at a size that is considered legible, the size of buttons and how closely they sit to other content on the page (white space) and the general ease-of-use and ability to navigate through pages.
Of course, design only makes up some of the considerations Google factors when determining the quality of a website (page speed and content quality are up there too). But, with the advent of user behaviour leaning so heavily toward mobile, Google is placing a firm focus on mobile-first, making design more vital than ever. Meaning, it’s now less about making a website only look good and flow well on desktop; it must be responsive, well considered and easy-to-use on mobile as much as (or even better than) other devices.
Even without the need for digital marketing initiatives, you may still require a website to meet a set of goals, such as capturing enquiries or selling products.
If this is the case the usability and user experience of your website is still paramount to your company’s success online. Research shows that seemingly simple things like the choice of colour for your buttons can be the difference between a user converting or a user continuing their journey elsewhere. Unless your website has been designed properly to consider user experience, your website’s ability to drive users to the right areas and garner conversions will be difficult.
It’s highly likely that this is not the first piece of brand collateral you’ve adopted to the style or aesthetic of your brand. If you’re looking to achieve an effective online representation of your brand or company, there are decisions you need to make in terms of how your website looks. So, take a look at your website and see if it aligns with the overall picture or vision you have for your brand and company. For example, if you presented a potential customer with your logo, business cards or other branded material, would they align with the look of your website?
To make a positive, memorable and professional impression you should ensure your company’s website is an extension of your brand, not fighting against it.
Your website is a place for you to control what the user sees, the messages they receive and the experience they have. If the look of your website doesn’t include good design and purposeful decisions then it is little more than holding spot on the internet, missing out on big opportunities for your business to grow and thrive.
This is the most important question to ask yourself. If your design isn't representing your brand in a way that not only makes you feel proud, but that is also not doing its job in terms of enjoyable user experience and conversions, it might be time to consider investing in a new one that works for you and your business.