I think we have both thought about this question from different sides. Do you really need to invest in good web design? Does it have any effect on the success of your online business? Is the price I am charging you value for money?
The simple answer is yes, good web design matters. People judge your company based on the quality of your website. Think of a shop. If Next had wallpaper hanging from the walls & a light out, you would avoid them, right?
I get it. My analogy doesn’t show proof. So, let’s show you proof.
Your design can create trust – or break it.
People will see the aesthetic of your website before they touch your content, and that can damage your relationship with your audience. Elizabeth Silence found that design problems made 94% of the reasons people distrusted websites.
I try to remember how important first impressions are, but wow. You can turn off a potential client because you’ve not invested enough in how your website looks. The warning signs for distrustful web design were:
- Trying to be too clever with names & headlines.
- Giving people too many options in the website header.
- Websites that are too plain, and not attractive enough.
- Slow loading times.
- Cramped, tiny fonts.
- Big blocks of text.
- Looking too corporate.
It could be as simple as the colour of your background. So, your entire design needs to tie in from the palette you choose in the beginning to the placement of your links and text. This study alone shows that you can’t afford a weak link in your design if you want to enable trust between you and your audience.
As a small business, trust is everything.
Your design is your product.
Cheskin did some studies on if packaging matters. The result was that people saw the packaging and product as one. Here is what they found:
- Adding more yellow to the 7UP packaging left people thinking it had a more intense flavour even though the recipe was the same.
- A close up human face on a tin of Chef Boyardee Ravioli perceived quality more than a full body.
- Adding a sprig of parsley to the Hormel logo added the perception of freshness to its product. Again, no change to the recipe.
Your website is your packaging. A clean, modern design can tell people that you recognise the importance of your design. Avoiding updating your website will give people the wrong impression of the service you provide – even if you’re better than the flashy website across the road.
People read websites the same way.
79% of people will scan your page rather than read it. You will put people off your website if you make these mistakes:
- Highlight keywords.
- Sub-headings that actually tell you what the content is about.
- Limit the ideas you are sharing.
- Not writing enough.
I realise the last point is slightly contradictory. However, people are scanning your content. If they feel it’s worth reading (spoiler alert – short blogs feel light on value) then they’ll dive in.
That said, content doesn’t really matter.
You might think that what you say is just as important as how you say it, but I have some statistics for you to disprove it:
- Visitors only read 20% of your text.
- 55% of all pages online get less than 15 seconds of attention. (Chartbeat)
- People don’t read left to right, they read in an “F” shape.
- There is no link to the number of times content is shared vs. the amount of time people spend reading it.
- Only 10-20% of readers make it to the bottom of a web page.
I hope this goes some way to help you realise that your design matters immensely more than your content. People will not pay attention to your content, but they will leave you over your design.
Concentrate on how you say what you say. Keep it brief, make it stand out when it’s important and make it obvious when it’s an instruction.
Good web design deserves its price.
Price and value are different. I value simplistic design that is heavily optimized to deliver content in the quickest, most prominent way. Other designers love flashy Java fireworks. There is a market for both, but they both deserve their price.
Where the value exists is our time spent developing and understanding what works. If you’d seen my first website I created, you’d chase me out of town. If you check out the portfolio now, there’s a process to every website. They look different, but they all work in a very similar fashion. I know what works & Suzie and Dan know how to write it.
We know where people are laying their eyes and we know when to stop talking and wow their eyes with elegant design. I’ll finish with another analogy, but something I feel is more relevant to now.
You might cut your own hair, but would you do it before a job interview?
Good design matters.