Carefully curated: Why website design should be a top priority when taking your business online

Consumers today research and shop much differently, so much so, the 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report says almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of potential customers won’t consider a business if they can’t find it online. Simply having a website doesn’t make your business invincible either; it only takes 50 milliseconds – or one-twentieth of a second – for visitors to decide whether they like a website.

More than ever before, consumers are turning to websites to research companies, compare product or service offerings and form conclusions about the quality of brands, and buy online. So, while a website should be at the top of the list of ‘must-haves’ for any new venture in 2019, it’s equally important to create a strong first impression to keep potential customers engaged and drive sales. A McKinsey report found one company increased e-commerce sales by as much as 21 per cent by shifting spending from general advertising to web content.

So, whether you’re an entrepreneurial startup or a small business owner of an established business looking for a refresh, here are some of the benefits great web design can bring to your venture.

Build brand identity

You may already have an email signature, letterhead, PowerPoint template or even a business card – each one, no doubt, brandishing your signature colours, fonts and logo. A website is the perfect place to bring together all the visual elements that make up your brand image. A consistently designed website that reflects your business’ persona and other marketing collateral will help customers instantly recognise your brand while creating a positive association with your products or services.

Logical and easy to navigate

Potential customers visit websites at various points of their journey; from the discovery stage, through to research and eventually making a purchase. When the average visitor only allows a few seconds to find what they’re looking for, it’s essential to ensure the layout is logical and easy to navigate. Your website design should offer a clear and distraction-free pathway to key information and platforms such as contact details, guides, and even your online store. If achieved, your customers may be more inclined to return in the future.

Looks really do sell

Let’s start with the worst-case scenario; whether it is too much messaging, poor quality images, or getting trigger happy with graphics, a chaotic website can put-off potential customers and lower conversion rates. It’s true, badly designed websites are often perceived as a sign of internal disorganisation and poor-quality products and services. Conversely, a website that’s easy to read, looks professional and makes customers feel good, can do the exact opposite – it’s that simple.

Keep keywords prominent

Of course, search engines are instrumental to the success of your website because they trawl its content to determine the relevance of your site to online searchers. Incorporating relevant keywords and phrases and making them prominent in the design of your site supports improved SEO which could contribute to more search results. What’s more, with volumes of visitors also influencing SEO, a visually appealing website that pulls in the crowds could do wonders for your ranking.

Encourage referrals and entice people back for more

An up-to-date and fresh website gives potential customers a great reason to return multiple times. Whether it’s for engaging blogs, slick videos, outstanding product images, news and insights, easy navigation or an easy buying experience, delivering a great online customer experience, can all help to see your business remembered, recommended, and chosen over competitors. Positive reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers can be a great way to show potential customers the value of your service and product.

Think mobile

Today, as the capabilities of our mobile devices advance, many people are looking at websites from the palm of their hands as much – if not more – than their computers. Ensuring your website design and user experience is compatible with and looks great on mobile devices, can be another great way to appeal to a wider range of customers. It may be worth noting that a website that looks good on a computer, doesn’t automatically work on a mobile device. So, before your mobile site goes live, have a look to see what does and doesn’t work.

Half a century ago it would have been impossible for a business to be successful without a physical address, but today it’s getting tougher for businesses to survive without a digital presence. By using intuitive tools like website builders it’s easy for your new venture to design an engaging and professional website that’s on trend, on budget and right for your target customer.

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Tara Commerford
Tara Commerford is the Vice President and Managing Director of GoDaddy Australia and New Zealand. GoDaddy is the world's largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses.

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