You’ve got a website and it’s been doing OK, but now more than ever it is important to make sure that it is working for you. With the post-pandemic economic downturn, businesses are looking to cut costs and make existing assets work harder for them – and your website design could be letting you down.
But is website design really that important?
In a word, YES!
Let’s say that your website design is a little outdated or was just thrown together to get something online, or it just doesn’t match your current business focus, you could be losing customers. When someone visits the site they are going to make a really quick decision whether to stay or leave – around 15 seconds in fact.
And according to Stanford University’s web credibility project, around 75% of website credibility comes from design.
So, if you’ve been putting off working on your website then now is the time to invest some time and energy into getting it right.
It really doesn’t have to be that difficult, to be honest…
Start by checking your website metrics
The first thing to do is look at your current website metrics. If you have access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console for your website this step is easy. If you don’t then the first step is to get these free tools (or other analytics) connected to your site so you have real-time data to reference.
Your bounce rate is the measure of visitors who arrive at a page in your website and leave again without doing anything else. Remember that 15-second rule?
It is measured as a percentage of total visitors and most websites have a bounce rate of between 26% and 70% according to Semrush. It depends not only on the quality of your website design but also on the industry you are in and the type of website you have. For example, ecommerce sites tend to have a lower bounce rate than non-ecommerce sites.
So if your bounce rate is high (70%+) there is some work to be done to keep visitors on your site for longer and encourage them to click through to different pages.
Top Tip: Add clear calls to action (CTAs) on each page so ensure that visitors are guided where you want them to go on your site next.
Then check accessibility
If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your website design, make sure that it meets current guidelines for accessibility, content layout, and mobile responsivity.
You can use free tools to check these such as EqualWeb for accessibility and Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. These will give you an audit of where your website currently has issues and a list of things to look at when you redesign the site.
The more accessible your website is for all audiences, the better it will rank and the more visitors will stick around to look at what you have to offer.
Get some feedback
It may seem obvious, but just because you know what you do doesn’t mean you are clearly getting that across on your website. Ask someone you trust* to have a look at your website and then tell you how easy or difficult they found it to find specific elements.
For example, you may ask them to tell you:
- What are the services that you offer?
- What makes your business unique?
- Where can they go to contact you?
- Where can they find advice on a specific topic?
If they find it difficult, then you have a place to start with your redesign.
*Please don’t ask your Mum! She’ll probably think anything you do is wonderful and whilst that’s her job it won’t necessarily help you make your website more appealing!
And finally, redesign your website
When looking at your website design, it will seldom require starting from scratch. But I would recommend starting offline by making a plan.
Think about each of your pages and whether they clearly show HOW you can help your customers and WHY they should work with you.
Ensure that navigation is simple. Adding multiple navigation options such as buttons, menus and links within pages will help everyone move around your website easily.
Check your mobile website works correctly. All websites should be mobile responsive and easily readable on all mobile and smaller devices.
Run your website through accessibility tools to ensure all visitors can interact with your website.
So, does website design really matter?
“A bad website is like a grumpy salesperson.” – Jakob Nielsen
And you don’t want that now do you?
If you want prospective customers to take you and your business seriously then investing some time and money in your website is a great way to ensure that you are making the most of your marketing budget in the long term.
And, if you need some help, check out our Website Rescue service, it’s why we’re here!
Holly Hinton has been building websites for over 20 years – since way back in the days of Dreamweaver and FrontPage – and started Web Goddess in 2014 to help small business owners build websites the right way. Connect with Holly on LinkedIn for honest advice and tips about how you can improve your own online presence.