Do you think of web design as an isolated section of your marketing work that should be relegated to a corner to work on its own? This myth, propagated over years, could be pulling you back in very many ways. Even though aesthetically important, web design is about more than just visual appeal. Your website’s web design has an impact on your internet presence as it covers SEO and branding to traffic and conversion rates.
Most professionals and businessmen admit to knowing and understanding the importance of web design but cannot tell why it is so. A web designer, Joseph Putnam, was faced with the challenge of explaining this and he had no solid response. He later on did some research and was able to give straight answers to his clients on the impact web design has on the different facets of business.
While researching, Putnam got his hands on a study titled Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites. This study endeavored to find out if design elements as well as content factors have any influence on trust among site visitors and specifically, health websites.
This research found that different elements of design have exponentially more power compared to good content when it comes to trust. When asked why users mistrusted a particular website, 94% of the comments related directly to design elements with only 6 percent referencing to specific content. Even though the study was focused on health websites, the same principles apply across other industries.
These are some of the design elements that the study participants pointed to as a sign to mistrust a website:
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As important as web design is, content is still key. When asked why they trusted some websites over others, content had an 83% influence on their responses. They preferred websites featuring relevant, informative, clear, fresh and unbiased content. They particularly enjoyed websites that provided age-specific data with answers for FAQs.
Both web design and content are vital and therefore, are synonymous with each other. Visitors will not spend time going through the content you have invested in creating without quality design. If not seen as an integral cog in your business’s wheel, your efforts at web design will fall flat. Your website has visual appeal but impacts on other business areas – specifically conversion rates, SEO and branding.
Trends in all industries come and go but the core value of a brand lasts. San Francisco SEO and web design are no different. It is important to take a long-term approach when combining web design and SEO. Your online and brand presence will last for decades. If you focus too much on fleeting trends, you will face some bottlenecks. This does not mean you avoid them completely since they serve a function, that is, they make the company appear relevant and fresh.
Parallax design is one of the recent trends. This kind of design shows a seemingly never ending page which you can scroll down to view different aspects of the menu. Normal websites feature every menu in its own page. Users like the experience of accessing all content by simply scrolling down while website owners employ it because it increases user engagement.
Search engines on the other hand are not as delighted. This is because their crawlers are used to the traditional web structure. In addition, all the website’s keywords will end up on a single URL. Even though it excites readers, parallax design may have a negative impact on your business in future.
On the other hand, there is responsive web design. With Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm and increased use of smartphones, this is the way to go. The future of searches over the internet point towards mobile phone usage and because of this search engines are giving preference to websites which invest in responsive design. The bounce rates on mobile-friendly websites are much lower and it saves you the hassle of running two websites (or more if you include tablets)
These are a few examples of the direct impact web design has on SEO. There are many other factors to consider. From the structure of your code to the amount of Flash recommended for use, all design elements have an impact on your search rankings and therefore should be thought through with regards to the user and how SEO friendly it is.
When analyzing branding in a web design context, there is a key distinction that you should make: your website (and its design) is not the brand but an element of your brand that allows you access to your target audience with whom you want to build trust. Brands are perceptions. You want people to say, “I trust that product or service.” Brand elements like your website, logos, slogans, names, colors, packaging make it easy to form that perception.
Consumers prefer brands they trust. You are more likely to buy a product which you correlate with a high brand power. Knowing this as a web designer helps you to decide on the different elements of design to employ to have an impact on the overall branding strategy and bottom line.
It is important to fully comprehend how design affects your conversion rates. Pay attention to these specific elements:
A website which puts a strain on how the visitor interacts with content will be ignored and left for another one. An intuitive site structure leaves the user browsing sometimes without being aware of how long they have been engaged.
Your wording of CTAs (calls-to-action) and article titles directly determines whether users will click to view or not. This ultimately adds up to your conversion rates. Adding the word ‘free’ has been known to increase subscription and downloads by about 4.2 percent.
There are numerous studies that have been conducted on color perception and the impact color has on people. Color matters. Research points to red as being good for titles, with navy blue increasing feelings of trust and therefore being better for CTA buttons.
Web design has more far-reaching effects than can be seen on the surface. Understanding this is critical to how you handle design decisions and how your business benefits from it. Branding, SEO and even conversion rates gain from your website’s design elements. Ultimately web design has an effect on your brand’s perception.