Design of a business website is as important as the salesperson that greets a customer in a store. First impressions matter immensely, I don’t think there’s someone who will argue with this. If your website is well designed you can gain a lot of customers for your business with it, and poor design is sure to ruin your business sooner or later. People do not have time or patience for poor design anymore, the world is moving too fast, there is huge competition in any niche, so it’s much easier for your prospective customers to find a competitor than endure your poor design.
But how do you know whether your website design is good or bad? You might have good taste and even have some type of design education, but judging a website design relying solely on your own taste is a bad choice. There’s a much more objective approach.
Think about design and what makes it good or bad. Do your thoughts initially go to the visual aspects of it? The way it “looks” and “feels”? The colors, fonts, images and other visual aspects of it? The thing is - the visual aspect does matter, but truly good design is something far more complex than a good-looking picture with no particular purpose.
A really good design has a strategy behind every element and its placement, it has flawless user experience, and every single thing a visitor sees or does on the website is carefully thought through and serves a particular purpose as a well-tuned business tool.
Long gone are the days when a business website was some type of an online business card. It is imperative for a business website to be designed for conversion, and have a solid strategy behind it, otherwise, the website and the business cannot succeed.
So let’s have a look at the signs that indicate the difference between bad and good websites.
Just as a business has to have a mission, a website has to have a well-defined purpose. Do you know exactly what you expect to get out of your web presence? The purpose cannot be something vague like “I want to have a website to have a stronger online presence for my business, and because everyone has one”. You need to know what exactly the website’s purpose is going to be. Is it lead generation you need? Is it going to improve your communication with your existing clients?
When you have a solid understanding of what it is exactly that you want to achieve with your website, you can work backwards and determine how the website should function to achieve that, what text should be added, what messages should be there, how the website is going to be managed.
Without knowing the ultimate purpose of your website you will lack direction and focus, the website will have a random look and feel. And making a positive impact with such a website will be virtually impossible.
On the other hand, when a website has a purpose and is designed according to that purpose you can clearly see it - every element is in place, every button and every word there serves the purpose and ultimately the business’ mission.
Usability is essential if you want to keep your visitors and encourage them coming back. Most people are impatient nowadays if you make them work too hard they will simply leave and never come back. And probably tell other people not to visit you as well.
Every successful website is easy to use. If it is an online store you own, you have to make sure that the website has a flawless search function, the products are clearly categorised and easy to compare, there is a perfectly functioning and user-friendly shopping cart and navigation is easy and clear.
When you came up with a purpose for your website, it is important to make it clear to your website visitor. It is very easy to get caught up in adding more and more “important” features and ending up with an overloaded, cluttered website with an unclear message that produces only confusion.
Good websites are built with this clarity in mind, they show the users what can be achieved with the website and why the users should care.
Want an example? An online store needs to make a clear statement of what can be purchased on it and why it should be done via this very e-commerce website and not any other.
A blog needs to communicate to the visitors what’s it all about, what content will the visitors get if they come back or subscribe to a newsletter.
A business website needs to clearly show the visitors what service it provides etc.
A good way to achieve clarity is simplicity, this is why the minimalistic approach to web design is so popular nowadays. It cuts out all the unnecessary noise and clutter and makes the main message clear and easy to see and understand.
As mentioned above, the appearance of your website is indeed important when it comes to determining whether or not a website is well designed. It doesn’t have to be an award-winning design done in line with every single trend the web design would produce every half a year.
What it has to be is fresh, clean, modern and it has to complement the website’s purpose and message. It also has to match stylistically with the business, simply put - it has to suit the brand.