Better than nothing. That’s a sentiment I’ve heard a lot over the years. I can honestly say that the better than nothing ideum cannot be applied to poor design- specifically poor web design. It hurts your business far more than it helps it. How?
Everyones heard the saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” And for more and more people these days, the first impression of your business will be your website. The majority of people when searching for a product or service will turn to the internet- gone are the days of phone books, and brick and mortar stores are on the way out also. The internet is fast becoming not only the main way people find information but the only way. With that in mind, heres a few statistics about how people respond to the design of websites.
Presentation is everything in the world of web design. It’s not about what you say- it’s all about how you say it. How easy to use, visually engaging, informative, and digestible your website is has far more to do with its success than simply the information you present. If your website is hard to follow, unengaging, or overwhelming, customers won’t just be unimpressed- they will leave, having already formed an opinion of you. You’re not just turning away customers, you’re hurting your reputation as a business and a brand.
You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to getting online these days.
The first of these options would be to do it yourself. There are many platforms out there like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly which provide templates that you can drop your content into. These are great for someone working on a shoestring budget, and who has a bit of time on their hands to fine-tune it to look OK. While you can make a decent-looking website using the templates on these websites, it is just as easy to make something that is very difficult to use. Because of the limited toolset at your disposal, as well as a lack of design knowledge, it can take a very long time to get the design of your website good. So if you are going to go down this route, I highly recommend doing a bit of research on the basics of UX design. It will come in handy when you’re putting together your site, and make it much more likely that you’ll hit the mark design-wise.
Undoubtedly the better option if you can take it though, is to hire a professional. A pro is going to be able to not only make you a site that looks and functions well but also advise you on the best ways to communicate the information to your audience. A good designer knows how to design a user experience that makes potential customers want to come back to your site. We advise you on the best ways to communicate with the users in a meaningful way, and work with you to create something that says what you want it to say.
Believe it or not, the vast majority of web designers get their work through word-of-mouth referrals. Many people will simply take their friend or acquaintance’s recommendation of a web designer and run with it. When considering a web designer, there are a few things you should think about before hiring them.
What platform is he or she working with?
Very commonly, I see web designers using tools like Squarespace and Wix to “professionally” design websites for clients. While these sorts of websites can be well designed, very often these people lure in small businesses with promises of dirt-cheap prices and then proceed to make them a poorly designed website and charge exploitative and inflated prices for hosting and other services. This is a lose-lose situation for you and your customers. I recommend always asking for examples of previous work, as well as a ballpark estimate of how much they charge for an average website.
If they say that their prices are any less than $1000, that’s a red flag. Even for someone just starting out in the business, to be charging less than that you need to be cutting corners in the process, and the end result is going to do your business more harm than good.
While a bad website turns customers away, a good website clearly does the opposite. Making sure the design of your website is good is not just important- it’s mandatory. If your website’s design is well thought out, your customers will stay. Your website should be an asset, not a liability. If you make sure you get the design right, the investment will pay off in the long run.