“You only get one first impression” — or so we’ve all been told. While we’d argue that ever-shortening attention spans allow us to have more chances at first impressions, we don’t dispute the importance of making a lasting one. Unfortunately, you may be making the wrong kind of lasting impression if you neglect the tenants of good design. Average content may be often forgotten, but the good, the bad, and the ugly remain top of mind.
What does the research say?
When it comes to the effects of good (and bad) design, experts all come to the same conclusions on the weight it holds for your first impression with potential clients. 38 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content is bad. You have 10 seconds to make a lasting first impression with potential clients. If you don’t tell them what and who you are in that timespan, they’ll hit that exit or back button and leave — likely to find your better-designed competitor.
Focusing on design is so much more than just about “looking pretty.” It’s about user experience and your reputation. In fact, 48 percent of people cite poor website design as a factor in a business’ creditability. This is true for more than just people. A bad website design often means bad search engine optimization (SEO) — the language Google uses to translate your website. If Google doesn’t trust your site or its content, your website will not show high enough in search results to even give people the chance to decide for themselves whether or not they want to read it.
Something as solvable as website design shouldn’t be a barrier for gaining customers; your website should be one of your strongest assets. It’s the face of your company, where people go to learn more about you and your product/service. If they can’t glean the information they want because of poor navigation, unattractive layout, or mangled content, your website is not serving its purpose.
How do you leverage your website?
When it comes to your website, there are simple steps you can take to ensure you make a good first impression. Determining the strategy of your website design is the responsibility of every web develop and marketer when creating or auditing their website. When considering the design of your site or even just one page, ask yourself these questions to ensure it’s designed well:
- Is the purpose or function of the page easily discernable? People should be able to quickly gather the information they need without too much searching and understand the function each page serves to them.
- Is the content easy to read? Aside from being easy to find, content should also be easy to read. You want to ensure whatever font you choose is large enough and clear enough to be read by all.
- Is your site easy to explore? The more time users spend on your site, they’re likelier to become customers. The best way to increase the amount of time users spend on your site is by making it easy to navigate and entice them to explore more pages. This is especially important if your website has a blog.
- Is your site content-balanced? Having a website with no images is not a best practice of design. You want to have a good ratio of written content to media content. Too much or too little of either can reduce your site’s aesthetic appeal.
- Does your site load quickly? A one-second delay in load time can lead to a 7 percent loss in conversions and 11 percent fewer page views — something we already know is important. This can translate to a $1 million loss in sales annually.
- Is your site mobile-friendly? If it’s not, you need to address this immediately. Not only is over two-thirds of media time spent on smartphones, but Google prioritizes mobile-responsive websites, even in desktop search.
Asking yourself these questions and addressing any “no” answers can help your business put its best foot forward and give potential customers a better first impression. Get started on your design or re-design today!
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