Websites are cheaper and easier to set up than ever before with a plethora of drag-and-drop editors hitting the market throughout the 2010s. From Wix to Squarespace, Shopify and of course, WordPress, there are tons of ways to build and design websites for businesses.
Some fundamental marketing advice for small businesses is to establish a core digital presence nice and early. That means building a website and some social media profiles at the very least.
Regardless of whether you build your business’s website yourself, with an in-house team, or hire someone to do it for you, the importance of web design is inarguable.
Internet users are used to clean, fast-loading websites with smooth user experiences (UX) and modern user interfaces (UI).
By meeting or exceeding modern web design standards, a business will boost its credibility, trust, image and commercial viability.
Humans are visual creatures and we’re superb at making a quick visual evaluation of a website. Web design greatly affects what people choose to do after landing on a website/webpage: will they stay or will they go?
92.6% of users agree that the visual dimensions of a site are the number 1 factor affecting their likelihood to purchase, according to Neil Patel. Similarly, WebFX states that some 75% of a website’s credibility is built through design.
From colour usage to design, formatting, features and content, the brain is likely to pre-judge an entire site based on just a few critical visual variables. It’s not just aesthetics but usability too - 6/10 users agree that website usability is critical for online shops. That means the website must work as people expect - looks without functionality quickly lose their appeal.
Another factor is brand messaging and persona - Elementor found that 66% of customers want business to understand their expectations and needs. Web design should synergise with the business’s values and core services.
As we can see, regardless of whether you’re an eCommerce or brick-and-mortar business, a service provider or operate in some other B2C or B2B space, web design is very important. For any small business marketing online, focussing on web design builds credibility, accessibility and usability, all of which assist at every stage of the sales funnel from customer acquisition to sales and conversions.
Take two scenarios:
Given the aforementioned stats, the likely customer choice here is a bit of a no-brainer. The first impression of a dated, ill-maintained website could well be that the business doesn’t even exist anymore. Conversely, an up-to-date, solid website with good design immediately tells the customer that the business is still active.
Competence in web design inspires competence in the business itself. It indicates that the business is taking itself seriously and investing in its digital presence.
A well-maintained website shows that a business cares about creating value, maybe through blog posts, content, special offers and other resources. Once you’ve established trust with a customer, selling the product or service suddenly becomes a lot simpler.
Search engine optimisation - SEO - is the process and method of improving a website’s Google and other search engine ranking. Google uses many variables to rank websites and web pages. Everything from website content to accessibility, mobile compatibility and usage stats helps Google decide how well a website should rank and for what search terms and keywords.
Web design can be an SEO ranking factor - Google will prioritise clean, error-free sites that are easy to access from any device. Also, good-looking sites are likely to increase user engagement which is also an SEO ranking factor.
Colour theory is not a new concept and we experience it every day of our lives. McDonald’s classic red and yellow branding, Google’s multi-colour lettering, Starbucks’ earthy green, Facebook’s blue and Apple’s silver-grey - these are all deliberate choices. Typography is another core design feature that should remain consistent throughout the website, social media and other marketing collateral.
Use the business’s audience, industry, values and services to decode what primary colours to use and keep these consistent throughout the website and social channels.
The majority of internet traffic now comes from mobile. Websites that aren’t fully mobile-optimised are missing out, and this can also negatively affect a website’s search ranking. Use a mobile-compatible theme and check for usability warnings in Google Search Console.
Similarly, navigation also assists Google in ranking a website. Menus should be clear and easy to use. Add plenty of internal links between web pages and content.
A call to action (CTA) is a button that takes visitors to somewhere they can interact with the business directly, e.g. a shop or product, subscription box or contact form. ‘Click here to get in touch with us today’ is an example of a basic CTA.
Web design is critical for any small business marketing online. Building impact and trust is a big part of why website design matters.
The website doesn’t need to be overly flashy with moving graphics, interactive components and other cutting-edge features.
Effective colour and typography usage, reliable navigation, plenty of written content and images and a great CTA will do the trick.
Keep things lean and slick rather than cluttered and overbearing. Navigability, accessibility and usability are critical, as is mobile compatibility.
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