In business, design is valuable asset. From a company’s logo, to the way its colors complement the services provided, successful businesses understand how design works. However, what many businesses tend to overlook is the design of their own website. While it is a small part of the operations, it can have a huge effect on potential customers researching for their services online. In a time where over 83 percent of people research small to medium businesses online, your presence online – and how that presence translates to a smooth and effective experience on your website – could either gain you more customers or lose customers in a matter of seconds.
It Takes Seconds to Turn Away Potential Customers
Did you know that it only takes seconds to lose a potential customer’s interest? If your customer’s website can’t load a webpage within ten seconds – three seconds for visitors who use their mobile phones – over half of them will start to leave.
This is a difficult feat to perform, with the average loading time for websites reaching 14 to 19 seconds on 3G and 4G connection. However, if you could get your website to load within five seconds, you’re 25 percent more likely to increase ad viewability, visitors spend 70 percent longer average sessions, and a 35 percent lower bounce rate.
But what does this have to do with design? This falls more under web optimization than web design, but it shows you how short visitors’ attention spans are, given that we’re in an age where information is always right at our fingertips. Your website has seconds to load, and even if it does, those that stay are more likely to leave in 15 seconds if they don’t see what they need. And they don’t see what they need because of poor web design choices, and that adds up to the time it takes to push your customers away.
What Makes Someone Leave a Website?
A study called Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites showed how important web design was in building a business’ credibility and getting customers to stay. Researchers looked at the browsing habits of 15 female participants looking for medical information. When asked about the website, 94 percent of the participants said they did not trust the website because of bad design elements, while the other 6 percent could only cite reasons about the content. The poor design choices included:
- Busy layouts
- Pop-up advertisements
- Small print that’s hard to read
- Boring web design
- Slow website intros and load times
Beyond these issues, however, there are other things businesses need to take note of. A bounce rate – the percentage of visitors who click away from the website after only seeing one page – affects your visibility online. If more people are put off by your web design or the way it’s built, they’re more likely to leave faster.
How to Make an Effective Web Design
Improving on your business’ web design will not only help make loading time faster, but your visitors can immediately find what they need without clicking away. When this happens, your bounce rate can decrease and will be more likely to rank in search engines. However, a good web design will need the following:
Apple’s done one of the best branding campaigns, so when you go to the website, you would easily recognize that you’re on the right page even if it doesn’t have the name (just a tiny Apple logo on the upper-left corner). Immediately, you’ll see its latest products on the front page, as well as categories to find older products.
A Good Description
While bigger brands with worldwide fame don’t need an introduction, small to medium businesses that don’t have the same range need more than pictures to catch people’s attention. Death Wish Coffee is a good example for this. The company offers one main product (and additional merch and bundles), which is what they claim to be the world’s strongest coffee which is so strong that it is an addictive health hazard for those who need to stay awake for long periods.
Go to their website, and you’ll see that for a company with only one major product, their design is simple but to the point – kind of like its product. The thing that catches your eye is the large red letters claiming its product is the “World’s Strongest Coffee”. And that’s all it needs to tell its customers. What I also like about their web design is that since it is only selling one product, the option to buy and the info they need to read is already on the front page. Everything else can be found in other tabs. Simple web design, but an effective description to quickly make a sale.
Apart from using active voices, adding effective call-to-actions on the website may subconsciously push your visitors to buy your product. Take the website of the small skin care business, Platinum Skin Care. You’ll find a lot of phrases and keywords telling the visitor to do something: Shop now, sign up, learn more, find the perfect products for your skin type, read about face mapping, and more.
How you create your call-to-action, however, will have to depend on your business. It’s also not just about telling a visitor to do something; it should also link to a page where they can most likely make a purchase or learn more after seeing your introduction.
What’s the ONE THING you want someone on your websites home page to do? Think about that after
Logical Website Navigation
Looking back at the Apple website, it’s easy to see the logic in how to navigate. As much as possible, you want to get your visitors to the page they want with the least amount of time, and this is something I think Apple’s done quite effectively with their layout.
If I wanted to read about the latest AirPods, it would take me one click from the main page. If I wanted to read about the old iPad mini 4, it will take me two clicks to get from the front page to its product page. It’s efficient, takes little time, and it’s understandable for users on how to get from Point A to Point B. And throughout this whole time, the way Apple shows its products on display has that certain sophisticated and expensive tech look we’ve come to know from the brand.
An About Us Page
Visitors want to know that they are looking at a legitimate business, and this is usually done by looking at the “About Us” page. This has the information you need to know about what the business does, where they’re located, and why you should pick them over their other competitors.
Tentsile, for example, is a small business that sells outdoor tents that are elevated by hanging its points on trees. It sounds like a relatively new product, but one that promotes green practices by teaching people to conserve trees. You can easily find a link to their About Us page, and from there you can learn about how the company came to be, what the product is, and what are the benefits of buying their products instead of regular tents.
Having an effective web design provides your visitors with everything they need to decide on a purchase in the smallest amount of time. Failure to do so could mean higher bounce rates and less visibility, which in turn leads to lower sales. But do this properly (preferably with the help of someone experienced in web design) and you might see an increase on online customers and web traffic.