There’s no shortage of articles online explaining how important it is for small businesses to have a website to represent your business, but few emphasize design as much as they should.
Your online reputation is built on a combination of customer feedback and first impressions. To build a strong brand that attracts new business, you need to make the strongest impression possible while highlighting the work you’ve done for people in the area.
The average attention span of an internet user hovers around 10 seconds, and on a website you have even less time to capture attention – as little as 5 seconds according to some studies.
If your website doesn’t make a strong impression in those few seconds, it’s an uphill battle getting those prospects back. It’s no better than showing up to a sales meeting in shorts and flip flops.
So what can you do to make a strong impression and protect your online reputation when you have a limited budget? Let’s look at how big of an impact design can play and what you should be doing to improve your results.
Building a Unified Brand and Great User Experience
One of the first steps when managing your reputation online is protecting and unifying your brand. What do people see when they search for your name? Is the same branded logo with company colors shown across Google Maps, YellowPages.com and your own website?
Unified design that presents a strong, professional brand image legitimizes your company for someone who does extensive searching before reaching out to ask for a quote. It also allows for a more seamless transition between your business’s various social media profiles, local listings and web-based advertisements, which leads to less confusion and better user experiences.
The design of your website carries by far the most importance. More specifically, design that prioritizes a satisfying user experience can end up improving how your business ranks on the search engine results page.
For example, if a user clicks on a link to your site from the results page and quickly heads back to try a different link, search engines might interpret that as a negative user experience. Sometimes this is the fault of content, but bad experiences are also associated with confusing or inconsistent branding and design and might result in worse search performance for your site
Faster Load Times and Streamlined Navigation Keep People on Your Site
A HostingFacts survey showed that 40% of web users will leave a website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Even a single second loading delay can drop conversion rates by as much as 7%.
Poor design can have an immediate negative effect on the performance of your brand, hurting how people perceive your company. This is a common problem we see with some of our new clients, who’ve previously struggled with DIY self-hosted WordPress websites. Just because you’re small business, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to afford world-class website platform.
Not only do you lose potential prospects before they have a chance to view your website, these slow load times and high bounce rates can negatively impact your search engine rankings as well. Google evaluates the bounce rate and time on site statistics for all websites as part of its ranking algorithm.
Mobile-Friendly Design is no Longer an Option
Mobile traffic is responsible for more than 52% of all Internet traffic in 2017, up from 44% in 2016. People increasingly use their mobile phones and tablets for the majority of Internet searches, including business research. This is one of the areas in which design is of utmost importance.
Without a mobile-responsive design, your website will load slower, be harder to read, and more difficult to navigate than on a desktop.
A design that doesn’t adapt to the device it is displayed on increases bounce rates, and hurts their perception of your brand. Google now directly considers whether your website is mobile-friendly as well. If it’s not, they may remove it from the mobile search results, which can have a huge impact on your brand value online.
A Professional Presentation for Your Brand
A well-designed website is one of the most important tools you can have in your digital marketing campaign. It is the centerpiece of your brand online, and without it your reputation can suffer.
From lower search rankings due to poor user experience, to a perception of a business that isn’t in tune with modern technology, you cannot afford not to invest in your website’s design.
Far more than just a website design and hosting company, Pronto Marketing offers a host of services to help you brand your company for success. We’ve taken the time to analyze over 600 websites before and after they moved to Pronto to figure how much we increased their website traffic. It’s no big secret and you can read it all here. When you’re ready, schedule a call with one of our consultants to discuss what our designers can do for you!