Why Website Layout Matters

With competition for web traffic so high, it’s no longer enough to simply launch a generic website. If your website aesthetic doesn’t stand out, you won’t stand a chance at getting a portion of the millions of web surfers running searches online.

Your website aesthetic needs to capture visitors’ interests. This can be accomplished with user experience, a stunning design, catchy content, or other web design tactics.

User Experience

It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave.

The first step is to make sure that your website will actually load in this time. This ensures that customers won’t lose interest just waiting for your site to load. Fast loading pages also ensure that people will get to check out your site once it’s loaded before they go elsewhere.

Slow-loading websites cost retailers $2.6 billion in lost sales each year. If you’re missing the mark when it comes to page speed, you’re also missing out on the chance to bring on new customers through your website.

Besides just the general loading of your site, 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load. If a company fails to update and fix broken images on its website, what does that say about the company’s attention to detail and level of organization? Probably not great things.

Also along the lines of responsiveness, is your website’s mobile presence.

85% of adults think that a company’s website when viewed on a mobile device should be as good or better than its desktop website. All websites should feature responsive web design. In other words, the display of the website should adjust based on the pixel width of the website upon which it’s being viewed - phone, tablet, etc.

This type of user experience and the overall design of your website are not separate concepts, either.

Branding and Design

75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website design.

Since users are making judgements on the credibility of your website in much less than a second, the most logical way you can impact this decision is with design. A website’s design often provides the first impression customers have of a company. If the design is outdated, disorganized, cluttered, or uses unappealing colors, it creates a poor first impression. Everything from colors to font to layout, your website design is truly about building trust with your audience and potential new customer or client.

In the study, “Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites”, the following specific design problems that led to rejection or mistrust were:

  • Inappropriate name for the website
  • Complex, busy layout
  • Lack of navigation aids
  • Boring web design, especially use of color
  • Pop up advertisements
  • Slow introductions to a site (splash pages, slow-loading flash introductions, etc)
  • Small print
  • Too much text
  • Corporate look and feel
  • Poor search facilities/indexes

These kinds of complaints accounted for 94% of the reasons that users rejected or mistrusted a site. A website serves as a window into the way a company operates. As such, it needs to display credibility in every sense of the word.

Content

When it comes to portraying credibility on a company website, step one is to have a modern, updated design that shows your company cares about its digital presence. This includes implementing all of the aspect ratio, image, font and layout information we discussed above.

But credibility is also driven through a website’s content, and content should always go hand in hand with design.

What does this mean?

A website’s content can be anything from images or videos displayed on the site to blocks of text describing your services, or a large headline. The way these pieces of content are integrated with your site’s design is just as important as what they say. This relies on a seamless integration of quality, informative, and credibility-boosting content into the overall fabric of the site.

Make sure that your website’s content - whether in the form of images or text - reinforces its design. This way high quality aesthetics are bolstered with evidence of success, brand-defining statements, and images that keep users interested and engaged.

For content, keep in mind the fact that users spend an average of 5.59 seconds per page consuming written content, it’s imperative that this content is as effective as possible at portraying your company in a positive light and getting your users where they need to go on the site.

If given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something long and plain. Nobody likes big blocks of text accompanied by more big blocks of text. It’s boring and one-dimensional.

Depending on the search query that leads a user to your website, the homepage may not be the first page that they find. Instead, it’s possible that a user may land on a more content-heavy page that better satisfies their search intent. With that said, every page on your website should be well-designed and built to maximize user engagement—not just your core marketing pages. If they are landing on a piece of content that looks like a college research paper, they are likely to avoid it in favor of a piece that offers more excitement and is easier to consume.

For images, remember that users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image. Choose images that are relevant to your product or service offering and will not distract from the overall objective of the website.

What’s next?

It is true what they say about having only one chance to make a good first impression. Website first impressions matter, so make them count.

LinkPoint recommends updating your website design every 2-4 years. Think your website might be due for an upgrade? Contact us today and let’s see how we can help!

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