From the smallest start up to the biggest international company, your website is at the heart of your online presence. A digital marketing strategy is essential for online success but everything revolves around your website, if that’s not up to scratch then everything else will fail to have an impact.
One of the biggest considerations with any website is its design but does good web design really improve your sales?
Design and Credibility
Let’s start with why people buy from you, regardless of what you sell. Yes, your price and product range are important but in the age of ‘dodgy’ sellers and mistrust, people also want to feel they are buying from someone who is credible and reliable. This is where the design of your website can play a big role.
Having a credible looking website that is well designed was given a rating of 4 out of 5 in the relative importance scale in recent studies by usability.gov. This means that people rated the design of a website as the most important trust factor because it enhanced the credibility of the company and therefore made them more likely to become a customer.
Elements That Cause Distrust
Another study of health product websites looked at the impact that design has on the trust and mistrust of websites alongside the impact of the quality content on the site. The report surprisingly showed that 94% of people said that design factors built trust or caused distrust while only 6% cited content as the main factor.
But what caused them to mistrust the website? Top design elements included:
- A complex or busy layout that was visually hard work
- Poor navigation
- Boring design with poor use of colour
- Pop up adverts
- Small print that is hard to read
- Too much text and not enough images
- A ‘corporate’ look
A Strategic Layout
These points illustrate that design does affect how people view and feel about a website and this directly corresponds with their association with a brand and their willingness to buy from it. Therefore it’s important to use strategic layout and design ideas when creating your website to make it as appealing and credible as possible to increase your potential sales.
The area known as ‘above the fold’ or the part of the site that fills the screen when you first arrive is the most important part of the page. This is where you need to balance the information you want to give visitors with the design elements that build trust. Using clean, relevant imagery, a strategic signup form and minimal navigation options can work best.
The Dreaded Pop Up
Every piece of research suggests that we hate pop-ups as users and Google has even taken measures to penalise websites for using the wrong types of mobile website. They haven’t banned them completely though and this is for one simple reason – they work! But you need to be strategic and careful about how you implement them.
Currently, the best advice is to use pop-ups that appear in the bottom corners of the screen rather than grabbing the whole screen and stopping the user from moving until they deal with it. These are known as intrusive popups and are generally considered a no-no by both Google and users. Banners along the top of the screen or even within content rather than pop-ups are another option to encourage interaction without being to intrusive or off-putting.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
The most important feature of a web design has to be its usability and a website that is easy to use and navigate is vital for converting visitors into paying customers. 76% of respondents in a Hubspot survey rated “ease of use” as the most important characteristic a site could have.
With a simple navigation process on your website your visitors will be able to move through your marketing funnel as easily as possible eliminating drop offs and the need to contact you to ask questions. In the fickle world of online shopping very few users will put up with a site that doesn’t tell them everything they need to know straight away.
Ease of navigation is often achieved through simplification. Because your website is a reflection of your company it can be tempting to put as much information as possible on your homepage, but the fact is that your homepage is not going to make you any sales. Instead you should be encouraging users to click through to landing pages where you can convert visitors into customers.