In today’s world it is undoubtedly essential to have a web presence; research consistently shows that businesses without a website are considered as untrustworthy following an unsuccessful user search for them online. And it seems that no business is unblemished when found lacking in the website department; even local businesses and small trades men will miss out on the 3 out of 5 Smartphone users who search for local services (ReachLocal), and that’s before we start looking at search engine optimisation of whatever web presence a business may have online.
However, simply ‘being online’ is by no means enough and moreover, being online with a poorly designed website can be even worse than having no website at all. So here we tackle that all important question of just what is in a design and moreover, what damage can a bad design do?
Bad Design Can Be Worse Than No Design At All
Bad Web Design = Poor User Experience
At the very heart of web design is the user’s experience. Guiding your visitor from first click to conversion can be nigh on impossible if your design is ineffective. This can then lead to, at best, confusion, and at worst, high bounce rates that see the majority of your users leaving to never return.
The Latest Web Tools Could Be Causing Problems
Recently there has been a rise in the number of online tools that allow small and medium business owners to create their own websites. Whilst this sounds like a cost effective and empowering situation, the actual landscape of the websites created with such tools may be suffering untold loss of business.
There are many reasons behind this, not least that web design is based on solid design principles that guide users to the business owner’s conversion goals (such as contacting the company or purchasing a product). More than this however business owners lack the complex knowledge behind ensuring a website is search engine friendly and optimised for mobile users.
One final issue that applies to such tools is that the websites that they produce suffer from incredibly slow load times, which brings us on nicely to our next point.
The importance of load times is just one of the many elements that prove that it’s not enough to have beautiful form, but that is essential to have effective function. After 4 seconds if your website hasn’t loaded, you’ll lose 25% of your visitors (Kissmetrics 2013).
Ensuring Your Design Works For You
Test Your Design With Analytics
First and foremost you need to gain a clear idea of how your current web presence is performing. A tool such as Google Analytics is therefore essential, with key metrics to check being:
– Page bounce rates (how many people are exiting your website from certain pages?)
– Visitor duration (How long are your visitors staying on each page?)
– User flow (How do your users move through your website? Are they even reaching your key conversion pages?)
Consult A Professional
Whilst Google Analytics can serve as the base for your website analysis, it is no way a substitute for professional advice. Of course, it is possible to create good website design yourself, if you approach it right, but digital marketing agencies who are worth their salt will offer free feedback upon your current web presence, and help you establish what issues you are facing and what resolutions are available.