Would you feel good about buying your own products and/or services based on the design of your site? Would you be comfortable entering your personal information into the website? Too often we dismiss site design as “good enough,” without realizing just how much money we’re leaving on the table.
The Stanford Web Credibility Project found that 47% of web users base purchase decisions on the look and feel of the website. This implies that nearly half of your customers will buy from you – without necessarily looking elsewhere – as long as your site appears professional and provides essential information clearly and completely.
So how do you make sure your website satisfies that 47% segment? You’ve gone to the effort and expense of getting their eyeballs to your website with advertising and PR strategies. Think about the boost to your bottom line if you suddenly found it much easier to close the deal with almost half your online prospects.
The 8-Second Window
Usability studies indicate that visitors decide whether to stay on a site within eight seconds of viewing the home or landing page. In this brief moment, customers gather a surprisingly broad range of impressions about company size, trustworthiness, product offering, brand, price and much more.
If a site makes them “anxious,” they’re prone to move along to a site that looks more professional and trustworthy – even if it means spending a few more dollars. Think about it: How often have you paid a few extra dollars for an item on a trusted, secure site such as Amazon.com, versus the same item at an unknown, unprofessional-looking site?
Small businesses often underestimate the importance of graphic appeal. Websites with unprofessional graphic design elements abound, yet site owners wonder why so many users abandon their site. And it’s so clear that professional enhancements can pay off in no time. One graphic designer I know recently tackled an e-commerce site. The resulting redesign nearly doubled page views, purchases and time spent on the website.
If you doubt your website’s effectiveness, ask friends or clients to view your site alongside competitor sites. Ask them to search out and buy a particular item. Observe any troubles or frustration. Ask probing, open-ended questions for details about the impression your site creates with users.
Expectations of a Graphic Designer
A skilled graphic designer should be able to:
* Incorporate an attractive color palette that engages your target market and appropriately represents your brand.
* Include attractive photos that – along with informative captions – are large enough to reveal important details.
* Lay out simple and effective navigation that shows visitors what they can expect to find.
* Ensure that key calls to action stand out.
* Optimize graphical elements to load quickly on both PCs and Macs, and with common browsers.
* Make sure users can tell exactly what your company does and what it can offer in eight seconds or less.
Effective graphic design work is too important to leave to an amateur. Hire a web design specialist (print design is a different skill set) to help get your site right. Make sure the person or agency you select truly understands website usability.
Make the investment in solid graphic design assistance – the quick return on that investment may surprise you.
Deb Daufeldt is Founder and Principal of ‘Second Story Solutions, LLC. For more than a decade, Second Story Solutions’ team of business consultants has helped clients overcome immediate challenges and build their teams’ abilities, tools, and metrics to tackle problems and seize opportunities in the future. Our clients come in all sizes, shapes and industries, yet share one thing in common – a belief that consistently meeting and exceeding their customers’ expectations is essential to success. Our customer-centric framework and versatile approach has allowed us to gain broad and deep experience with diverse clients and challenges. Call us and find out how we can help you. Deb can be reached at 303.662.1888 or firstname.lastname@example.org