Design Is The First Priority

Don’t judge a book by its cover. While most of us are probably familiar with this old age,  we still make judgments each day based on sight alone. It’s not petty. It’s human nature. Beautiful people. Interesting architecture. Art. As a species, we humans appreciate things that are aesthetically pleasing.

Websites are no exception to our eye for beauty.Visually, people are as picky about the appearance of the places we visit online as we are about everything else. According to Internet analytics firm KISSmetrics, 42 percent of online shoppers form their opinions of a website based on its design alone, and 52 percent of shoppers would not return to a poorly-designed website.

When it comes to making an impression, design matters.

That doesn’t mean your small business’ website has to be a marvel of graphic design. A website that is easy to navigate and easy on the eyes will keep visitors from clicking away from your page for the last time.

Easy to Navigate

First and foremost, good web design means simple navigation. If potential buyers come to your page and can’t figure out how to browse or buy, they’ll go somewhere where the process is simpler.

Whether you are selling products, services or just information, think of your website like a store. If you were running a store on Main Street downtown, you wouldn’t just throw all the merchandise in the middle of the floor and leave it up to your customers to sort through it. You would place items neatly on shelves, put up signs, and keep the cash register in clear view.

That’s the type of organization that makes a website successful.

Navigable websites don’t crowd the page, they have clearly labeled categories and links that make it easy for visitors to find what they need, and they make purchase links pop on the page, so that users know just where to click once they know what they want.

Think grocery store. Even first-time visitors can walk right in, follow the signs to the milk, grab a gallon, go directly to the register, make their purchase and be on their way in less than five minutes.

If your website isn’t that navigable, redesign it. One simple step Mashable recommends is to go through your site and remove any widgets or excess components that have no use. If it doesn’t provide the user with information, utility or entertainment, get rid of it.

Easy On The Eyes

Usability is key, but appearance matters, and one of the most important factors in website design is color. Color is the primary factor that determines whether or not shoppers make purchases, according to KISSmetrics, and, oddly enough, that doesn’t pertain solely to the products, but to the environment those products are found in. In this case, your business’ website.

Color is so important to patron experience that malls, banks, restaurants and businesses have used color-planning for decades to entice potential buyers and increase sales. The same applies to your business’ website.

When choosing the color scheme for your website, it’s essential to consider your product and your audience. Red, for instance, is a power color that prompts people to buy, but it also induces stress, which is not exactly ideal for a yoga site. Green, on the other hand, is a color that induces relaxation, ideal for earthy online buyers.

While usability may be top priority in website design, appearance isn’t far behind. A website that is grocery-store navigable and boutique-store adorable will give users the right combination of utility and entertainment. Despite what Mom and Dad might have told them, people do judge books by their covers. And websites. So, make sure your site is worth a second look.