Like it or not, we live in a visual world in which your work is judged first and foremost by how it looks. There is no way around this. The bigger the investment, the more visual acumen is required. If you are looking to start a website, a considerable amount of time, effort and money must be put into the aesthetic. If you already have an ugly website, then you are missing out on business that you did not even know you could be attracting!
The bottom line - ugly websites cost your company money. Here are five reasons why (there are many more).
1. The Halo Effect
All people make subconscious decisions about a brand based on the aesthetic of the website. Some customers may even make this distinction consciously. Consider your own behavior as a consumer - would you trust a dentist without a decent website to put a moving drill in your mouth?
The "halo effect" is a psychological phenomenon in which people attribute positive characteristics to something with a single positive characteristic. The same works for negative characteristics. Good looking people are perceived as more intelligent. Well- dressed people are perceived as more responsible. Similarly, if your website looks great, people will attribute positive characteristics to your overall brand and give you a chance when they otherwise might not.
2. The Mobile Effect
Over 50% of website traffic is on mobile or tablet devices. Your website must be optimized to mobile platforms, or customers will leave, never to return. When people access your site from a mobile device, they are out in the field and are often ready to buy. They are also quite ready to forget completely about your website if you cannot offer an immediately relevant solution in a shiny, beautiful package.
A responsive website is more than just a mini-version of your desktop website. Your website must also be agile enough to fit any mobile device. You never know the OS or the screen size that your prospect will access you from, and being unable to view your website and gather the information they are looking for, will drive away most potential clients immediately.
3. The 7-11 Effect
People get frustrated if they do not find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. There is a reason that the first page of Google results for any term gets over 90% of the clicks. How much better do you think your unknown website will fare if it is not as convenient as possible? There is another lesson in the 7-11 analogy. People are willing to overlook quality if convenience is apparent. 7-11 serves some of the worst food in the world, yet it is one of the world's best known and most frequented franchises. A great looking website may even give your brand leverage over a brand of higher quality.
The modern consumer has more choices than ever, with new options popping up literally every day. Prospects gloss over sites with nothing more than a click. Can you really afford to have an ugly website that doesn't make eyes stop? Do not sacrifice quality for convenience if you can help it. However, convenience means attractiveness, and this should be a top priority. Quality means nothing if no one gives you a chance.
4. Don't Be Complicated
Complexity scares potential customers away. No matter what, follow the old marketing adage KISS (keep it simple stupid). Use thoughtful UX to break up complicated forms. A simpler flow through the customer journey will keep users engaged - keep in mind that you do not need every bit of information from the customer up front. Create a relationship over time and take the information piecemeal - there is no advantage to putting all 20 input forms on your website, making it extremely unattractive as well as needlessly complex.
White space is your friend. Look at the Google homepage - the page that controls around 90% of all web traffic. How complicated is it? Let your website represent the same kind of functionality through simplicity. The next popular search engine, Bing, is slightly busier. The third place finisher, Yahoo!, is loud, full of news articles and links, and does not drive the customer to a singular solution. Is there any wonder that it remains in third place?
5. Create a Content Flow
The myth of the "pushy salesman" is one that you should forget. Qualified prospects like to be led directly to a solution, and your website should lead them with a streamlined content flow. Pushing a user to content that they are not ready for can send them packing. In short - there is no need to cram your landing pages full of stuff just so you can "get it all in." This is the quickest way to send even the most qualified prospects screaming for the digital hills.
Leveraging strong marketing automation tools with successful customer segmentation can help to convert your prospects more quickly. The first side effect of this implementation will be a more attractive website. Content will move at the speed of the customer. Web pages have room to entice and attract rather than cajole. Your prospect will feel a natural progression and be much more likely to give you the information that you need to properly follow up.
There you have it - five reasons to beautify your website today. You owe it to your R&D process to market your business in an attractive way. As your first impression, your website serves as a potential hub for a great deal of business. A great looking website gives you the ability to compete with international brands.
Contrary to popular belief, getting a great looking website does not have to break your budget. You have many options, including outsourcing your web development. Make the investment up front - it will pay off in the future as people allow themselves to be drawn in through your online aesthetic.