5 Design Elements That Are Vital to a Business’ Success
There is a constant argument among digital marketers about whether design or content is more important to the success of a business.
No matter what side you choose, it is safe to say that both of them play a significant role in both short and long term business success. And, at the end of the day, they are both more effective when combined with the quality of the other.
One thing about design, however, is that it can be improved in a much quicker time span than your content can.
For that reason, this article is going to focus on the five design elements that are vital to a business’ success. Let’s take a look at them:
With the attention span of consumers at an all-time low, very few other design elements are more important to your business’ success than the speed of your website.
According to a study performed by Akamai in 2009, 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less. The study also reported that over 40% of visitors will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.
And what happens when they leave your site? They don’t come back.
Maybe even more surprising than the effect that website speed can have on users is how dramatic of an impact even small increases in loading time can have.
A test performed by Amazon showed that sales were decreased by 1% for every 100 ms increase in loading time.
But how do you increase your website’s speed?
Well, if you are not yet using the incredible tools provided by Google Analytics, you should be.
On top of being a free resource that gives you plenty of data and information that can improve conversions, the tool also helps you make changes to increase website speed.
To use the tool, all you have to do is log in to your account, select the Reporting tab, and then select Behavior > Site Speed. From there, you will have access to information that can help you determine where your website’s speed currently stands and receive speed suggestions as well.
Other great tools available on the internet include Pingdom and GTmetrix.
While website speed is probably the most important design element of your website, allowing for simple navigation is a very close second.
In fact, according to Kissmetrics, “the design of a website’s navigation has a bigger impact on success or failure than almost any other factor.”
One of the easiest ways to drive visitors away from your site, and discourage them from purchasing your product or service, is to create confusion.
In their article on website navigation, the Kissmetrics writer goes on to explain that the five most common mistakes made with website navigation include:
- A foreign, non-standard style
- Use of generic labels that do not communicate effectively with visitors
- Use of annoying drop down menus
- Having too many tabs and items to choose from
- Having mis-ordered tabs
Fortunately, just about every one of these issues can be easily fixed.
It should be noted that making even slight improvements to both your website’s speed and simplicity of navigation can have significant positive impacts on your conversion rates.
Responsive on Multiple Devices
The increases in mobile usage for media and internet have been absolutely astonishing over the past 5-10 years.
The usability and technology provided by smart phones has now made it more convenient than ever for consumers to use their mobile devices for everything from reading content to purchasing products.
As of July 2015, mobile media usage (51%) has actually exceeded that of desktop usage (42%). Just seven years prior, in 2008, desktop usage accounted for 80% of all media time while mobile devices accounted for just 12%.
Armed with this information, it should be obvious to you that having a website that is not responsive across multiple devices can mean a significant loss in potential traffic.
While having a website that was responsive on tablets, smart phones, desktops, and laptops once meant having to build a separate site for each, it is now easier than ever.
Affordable web design services like Squarespace have now made it easy to create a website designed for desktops and laptops that can be easily framed for mobile use as well.
If you already have a well developed website, a programmer can help you make the transition for responsive on different devices. Unfortunately, however, this can come at a hefty price.
As time goes on, the use of mobile devices as a main source of viewing media and websites should only continue to increase.
What does that mean for your business?
That means that refusing to make the decision to create responsiveness on multiple devices will leave your business well behind the competition.
Strong About Page
The about page on your website is going to be one of the most visited pages that you have.
With that in mind, it is probably a good idea that you ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to create top notch quality within that page.
Jeff Haden, contributing editor of Inc. Magazine, mentions in his article about improving about pages that it is important that your content is focused on your customer’s needs.
He goes on to say that people don’t care what you do near as much as they care what you can do for them. So, before anything, you should focus your about page content on describing to potential customers how you can help them.
Another important aspect of your about page revolves around creating credibility, trust, and authenticity. All three of these things work together to help your customer become more comfortable with your claim that you can help them.
To do this, it is important that you tell them facts about how you have helped others. People love to see numbers, especially specific numbers, that convince them of what you can do.
The process of creating credibility, trust, and authenticity should also involve the inclusion of either images or videos.
While doing this, however, you want to be sure that you are not using stock photos or poorly animated videos. In the digital world, consumers need to know that you will be accountable for delivering to them what you say you will deliver.
Using actual photos of yourself and people within your company shows consumers that you are not afraid to stand behind your message about how your products or services can improve their lives.
Not only does building a strong about page increase your chances of conversions, but it can also save you a ton of time explaining yourself to customers and professionals down the road.
Make it a priority and you surely will not regret that you did.
Content & Credibility
If you have been marketing digitally for any amount of time, you are probably already well aware of the importance of having quality content on your website.
While there are entire books on how to go about creating and promoting this content, the thing that is not talked about near enough is how that content is seen on your website.
After your about page, having strong content on your page is the best way to improve credibility with your target audience.
After all, if the content you provide for free is useful, what better proof is there that your products and services are useful?
The biggest challenge here is having a design that does not create information overload while still presenting visitors with easy access to plenty of great information.
Jason Awumna of Digital Telepathy points out that some of the main traits of walking this line include having white space, segmenting information into easily understandable visual categories, and having a solid visual hierarchy.
His article also shows several examples of content-rich websites that have successfully walked this line.
The Final Word
There has never, in the history of mankind, been more competition across multiple industries than there is in today’s economy.
With that said, competing in today’s economy requires doing everything in your power to improve the way you interact with potential customers.
Improving these five design elements will no doubt have a significant impact your ability to increase conversion rates and grow your business.
Commit to the process of improving your website design and reap the rewards of that commitment for years to come.