When thinking about your website, there are a plethora of things that need to brought into consideration in order for it to be successful at achieving your goals. It doesn’t matter what your desired outcome from your website is; be it product sales, for an eCommerce site; content exposure, if you’re a blogger; contact leads, if you provide a service; the list goes on. You need to think about how your website can work for you to achieve these aims, and one of the key elements in this analytical process is the visual appearance of your website, i.e. its design.
With the number of websites currently published, the sheer amount and depth of information available to us, and the speed with which we can access it; your website has a matter of moments to make an impression on your visitors and the first step is in its visual impact.
Imagine you’re going on a job interview, you spend a huge amount of effort preparing your answers to the tricky questions that you know are going to arise, you learn all there is to know about the company, you think about engaging questions to ask the interviewer and perhaps put together an extensive portfolio of your previous work. You’re ready! You turn up to the interview, unshaven with bed hair, wearing your favourite Star Wars t-shirt (that you’ve been wearing for the last two days), ripped jeans and knackered Converse…will the interviewer be listening to a word that comes out of your mouth? No. The answer is no.
Many people focus a disproportionate about of time on the text on their landing pages, obsessing over word order, where the keywords appear and getting bogged down in the wide range of technical SEO elements. Now, while this is all important, it certainly comes secondary to the design and graphical representation of your site. Which, of course, logically makes sense: if as a visitor you are put off by the visual appearance of a website, you’re not even going to bother reading the text. Conversely, if the design impresses you and draws you in, then you are certainly more likely to engage with the site and therefore the brand, pushing your visitor that bit further down your conversion funnel.
So you go to your next interview looking all tidy and smart, with decent clothes that make an impression, basically looking as visually appealing as possible and you’re over the first hurdle. Now all the effort you put into preparing will have a chance at succeeding and getting you hired.
In terms of SEO, people often think that design and SEO are kind of opposites; one being subjective and related to personal taste; and the other methodical, technical and objective. This is perhaps a fair point, but when you consider that bounce rate and time spent on site are important SEO factors, suddenly design doesn’t seem so unrelated. A terrible design will inevitably result in a high bounce rate and a fleeting visit, which will have a negative knock on effect on your SEO efforts.
You can’t afford, therefore, to skimp on web design. You’ll never win the race if you fall at the first hurdle.