Does web design matter?
In short, yes.
From tech websites to universities, design matters when you need to capture an audience’s attention. It matters when you need to tell your brand story and communicate the value your company can bring customers in a way anyone can understand.
To get into the details of just how much design matters, I spoke with Sean Maconachy, Growth Director at Clique Studios. We talked about deciding if you need to redesign, what you should first think about when it comes to website design, and the components of what makes for a great website.
2 Steps to Beginning a Website Design
- Decide if you need a redesign
- Learn the components of good web design, including copy, user experience, and marketing.
1. Decide If You Need a Redesign
First, I asked Sean how to decide if you need a website redesign.
Maybe your website is already working well for your company. So, to decide if you need a redesign, Sean says to think about a few things.
Ask yourself if your website is converting. Your website should be a primary driver of leads that turn into sales. If your leads are down, sometimes it’s hard to know why. Is it really the website that is causing leads to be down this year? That’s probably part of the reason.
The information architecture and the site itself should be laid out in a way that allows people to move through your site naturally.
Here’s a good example of a website that makes it easy for the user to navigate:
Affinitiv’s homepage is simple. The tech company in the automotive industry has one platform that connects customers, car dealerships, and manufacturers.
The design for this tech website helps users visualize the process for each solution Affinitiv offers. For example, when a user clicks on the customer loyalty solution, her or she can go through each component of that solution, such as event management.
Sean says the second thing you should think about when deciding to redesign your website is if it supports your sales process. Do you have good content on your website that helps the user know you are an expert in your industry? Does the content help the user in any way? For example, if you work for a tech company that has a tool to help marketing teams organize their projects, do you have articles to help them get more organized?
If you do have good content, is it easy to find? Do the users know what product or service you provide when they look at the homepage? If not, consider a redesign.
Third, does your website represent your business? You want to make sure your website depicts your brand. Design, development, content, copy, user experience, and marketing all play a huge role in how you are perceived in the marketplace. When all these come together, you create a content experience for your website users.
In addition to uniquely representing your brand to potential customers, you will then also represent your brand to potential employees.
“Now, more than ever, people are really wanting to figure out how to attract really good talent,” Sean said. “A plain and outdated design and content strategy that doesn’t really represent you and your culture and your company is not doing you any favors. It is not going to convince people that they should work for you if they are not already convinced.”
“A plain and outdated design and content strategy that doesn’t really represent you and your culture and your company is not doing you any favors.”
Sean says a careers page on your website can really convey the authentic experience of what working at your company is like. What benefits do you offer that will differentiate your company from other companies? Maybe you offer a work-from-home policy that is unique, or maybe you have company outings once a week. Whatever it is, it’s beneficial to make those benefits clear and easy to find.
2. Learn the Components of a Good Website Design
Great website design is about more than just design. The art on the page is really important, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
When you are planning your website design, you want to make sure you incorporate all of the following elements in addition to design:
- Good copy
- User experience
Bringing all these elements together in a strategic way will make sure website users have an entertaining experience throughout their entire website journey. So, what exactly do each of these components mean? What do you have to think about?
Website designs need to work for your brand. You are introducing your website to the world.
Design means creating full, effective navigation throughout the site to make sure all touchpoints between visitors and your site are positive.
A human voice is a necessary component of establishing your brand’s trust. You must have good copy to have conversations with your potential customers and to keep your current customers.
You want to make sure the design and copy work well together — and that the design does not distract from the copy.
The user experience means creating experiences your users are going to fully engage with. To create a user experience for your audience, understand who they are, first.
Create user personas that highlight your users’ needs, wants, and expectations. Listen to your customers’ pain points to create these personas. What questions are they always asking your customer service or equivalent team? Why do they like your company? Who are your customers?
Personas will help you guide the creation of the user experience.
Marketing your website will get you in front of the right audiences. This is a necessary component to any website experience — getting people to interact with it.
SEO, paid search, and social strategies all play a huge role in showing your brand to the right users.
Website Design Matters
There are several components that go into design, including user experience, copy, and marketing. You want to be able to capture your audience’s attention and hold it.
The website itself gets audiences (potential customers, current customers, your parents) to get a really good feel for what your brand is about. And it will keep them engaged over the course of their lifetime with you.
Of course, the quality of your service or product, your company culture, and what your brand represents will be the most important factors for if a customer decides to do business with you. You just want to make sure they know who you are first — and your website is going to be their first impression.