While web design is traditionally thought of as an artistic way to show off a brand’s image, its benefits are really much more far-reaching than that. A well-designed website can lend a helping hand to SEO efforts, increase conversion rates, and improve interaction and engagement with site visitors. Thanks to recent improvements and growth in the web design industry, it’s become easier than ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs to design aesthetically-pleasing sites with a high ROI.
While a beautiful website doesn’t necessarily mean a huge uptick in conversions, it can certainly help. Some of the most valuable benefits of having a well-designed website include:
1.) Longer Average Time on Page.
While clicks are good, you’re really looking for visitors who will stay on your site and read your content. This is generally indicative of more engaged readers, who lead to higher conversion rates and lower bounce rates. Well-designed websites encourage people to stay by helping them move from page to page, like an experienced tour guide.
One study showed that design can be more beneficial in some cases if it encourages users to scroll down a page rather than click somewhere else on site, because it is easier for visitors to do so.
If you, as a company, are able to attract enthusiastic buyers, you’ve done your job. One way to do this is through high-quality web design which highlights and effectively communicates and strengthens your brand image. Software like Axure and Invision are making it easier than ever to attract these enthusiastic buyers by simplifying web design collaboration.
While your customer wants a quality product or service, deep down they are craving something else. They want consistency. Think about why people buy food at their favorite fast-food joint. They often go because they can count on getting the same flavor and choices every single time. A McDonald’s in Hong Kong will give you the same burger as the McDonald’s in New York City. High quality web design does the same thing; it helps your company establish brand consistency, which is something many customers desire.
Some of the most successful companies in the world as well as top site designers claim they have long seen greater engagement because of consistency in site features such as company logos, “breadcrumbs” and content location on page.
While your site may be effective today, will it still be attractive three years down the road? High quality web design means scalability. If your business grows or styles change, your site should be able to scale and adapt accordingly. Sites designed without great care or attention to detail usually necessitate starting over when major changes occur, due to a lack of scalability and adaptability.
5.) Added Exposure.
If you have truly fantastic web design, you may even find additional exposure through CSS galleries. These are professional design galleries that websites showcase. They can bring additional traffic you would never have had otherwise. One software that’s made web design collaboration easier and simpler is Flatsies. With improved collaboration comes higher quality web design and added exposure.
6.) Cross Browser Compatibility.
Everyone has their own preference for browsing. Some like Firefox. Others like Safari or Google Chrome. Some people still swear by Internet Explorer. A well-designed website ensures that your site will be clearly visible and functioning on all browsers. This maintains a professional image and makes the most out of all visits.
7.) Reduced Maintenance.
In the business world, downtime is lost time. When your site goes down, you are missing out on exposure, conversions, and sales. A high quality website will limit outages, as well as the amount of time you need to clean things up and eliminate bugs. This gives you more time to focus on the things that matter.
If your website is well-designed, it will be easily shareable. This provides opportunities for visitors to share content, suggest products to friends or interact with your brand. Furthermore, it builds social signals, which increase your brand’s reach and awareness. Many experts speculate that social signals are also used in Google’s ranking algorithm.
9.) Better Search Engine Visibility.
While your primary goal should be to accommodate your human visitors, high quality web design also influences your site’s rankings in search engines. Google actually employs manual search quality raters who visit websites and score them based on usability, quality of content, and other metrics related to design. High-quality web design accomplishes this, and thus influences search engine rankings.
Clearly, high-quality web design has numerous business benefits. If you’re looking to upgrade your site’s design or want to launch a new site, you will want to consider multiple factors including the consistency of your branding on site, its shareability and browser compatibility, among many others.
You may also be interested in considering new technologies that make communication between web design firms and businesses like yours easier and more effective.
Your website design matters more than you might think: Don’t let a poor-quality site hold you back from getting the conversions your business needs to thrive.
John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant living in San Francisco. His writing has appeared in NBC, The Village Voice, FastCompany, and USAToday.