Some Truths About Your Businesses Website Design (Part 1)
Why bother having a stunning website design? I’m exhausted from hearing different shallow excuses from webmasters as to why you should redesign your website.
Don’t get me wrong here, a shiny new website can make a HUGE impact on your business if done right, but not the classic excuses I hear from most web salesmen. I’m going on a journey to look at things from a more objective point of view.
Some things are greatly impacted by a well designed website, and others are not. Let us look together at which is which, and which is not.
Lowering Bounce Rates
A “bounce” happens when someone arrives at your site, and leaves without visiting any other pages. When someone bounces from your site, it means they have little interest in seeing what else you have to say. Needless to say, a high bounce rate is not good (over 70% especially is bad).
A poorly designed website can give you a high bounce rate, while a well designed site (with easy navigation) can decrease it. This is because visitors bounce when they don’t have a clear direction to go next.
But simply having a new site won’t decrease your bounce rate. Giving your visitors that “place to go next” is an important part of decreasing your bounce rate. More importantly than that though, is making visitors want to visit the rest of your site because the content on your site is so interesting – now THAT is an important way to decrease your bounce rate. Actually, it’s much more important than having a good design.
If you had very compelling and interesting content (think of your favorite website), it wouldn’t matter that your navigation wasn’t fancy or clear because your visitors would be so interested that they would knock over brick walls to find more of your content.
Think about every time a new album comes out. There’s always some up-and-coming computer whiz who finds a way to get early access to the album. He breaks into email accounts belonging to recording engineers – whatever it takes. Because the content of the music is so valuable that people are willing to hack for it.
I’m not suggesting that you make your content impossible to find, but I want to demonstrate the effect that good content has on people. They really will try hard to find more if it’s good enough.
On the flip side of that equation you might have totally boring content, but your site is easy to navigate – who cares? Why do I want to navigate your snore of a site anyways?
What if you had a compelling site, AND it looked great and was easy to use? Now you’ve got a winner! The bottom line is that content is more important than a good site design, but design certainly can help and is worth looking at.
You really can’t polish a turd. Although you can try.
Increasing Traffic Numbers
Although you may indirectly influence your traffic numbers by lowering your bounce rate, I want to note that a new site won’t dramatically increase your traffic. I’m sure it’s happened some time in the past, but that would be an outlier (not the norm).
The purpose of a new site is never to increase traffic, but to delight existing traffic (and hopefully persuade them to choose you).
You may be able to increase your sales by making some smart design choices in your eCommerce store, which is really a huge deal, but you likely won’t increase your overall traffic numbers in a big way. Think of a new design as adding a +20% multiplier to your efforts online.
Look for part 2/3 of this series next week as we talk about credibility and mobile devices.