Refreshing your web design (or coming up with a brand new design) is challenging. You don’t want your website to appear unprofessional and rushed, but you also need an affordable web design company that will offer the most return on investment.
Let’s look further into some of the ins-and-outs of web design, and the difference it makes for a website’s overall performance.
About web performance
A matter of user retention
It’s common for successful websites to improve performance and see a massive spike in user engagement and retention. For instance, after shaving 40% off of load times, Pinterest experienced a 15% increase in search engine traffic and sign-ups.
Conversely, the BBC lost 10% of users for each extra second their site took to load.
Naturally, with more traffic remaining on high-performance websites, conversions increase as a result.
Getting more conversions
“A Conversion Goal is the measurement of some action an individual user has done on your site. A few examples include:
A completed purchase
A submitted form
A button or link click
Reaching a particular page”
Conversions are very much linked to user retention. To retain users (and therefore increase revenue), it is extremely important to improve your site’s loading speed.
UX reigns supreme
Web performance is achieved fundamentally due to good User Experience (UX).
A website’s UX dictates how long users stay on or revisit a site. It also dictates how much of the website’s content they share with others.
Therefore, speedy load times and smooth navigation are both primary contributors to quality UX. Components such as layout, hierarchy, intuitiveness, and easy usability all play an integral role.
It’s also worth noting that every user’s experience diverges depending on connection quality and the device they use. For instance, mobile devices lack CPU power and memory.
That means users will quickly be overwhelmed when faced with code-heavy websites. In the case of a slower mobile connection, it forces users to wait for way too long.
These limitations and coding problems lead to unresponsiveness — and worst of all, an increase in bounce rates because your users won’t stick around and wait.
Web designers who excel at responsive websites enhance the UX because matching layouts to the specificities of various devices (whether it’s for mobile, desktop, or a tablet) ensures optimal performance.
You may not think much about the length of delay between a user action and the loading of a fresh page. For instance, when a user enters your website URL in their browser or clicks a button on your site — how fast your web page responds will directly impact his or her perception of your site.
And this is crucial because modern websites come with a ton of rich content like animations, complex illustrations, and dynamic elements.
You might be pleased with your site’s design and layout, but those might come at the expense of your website’s speed, or turn off mobile users when your designs do not load properly on their screen.
Design decisions usually shape the development phase. Although they’re typically made at the start of a web design project, they have a large impact on your eventual website speed:
- Colors & gradients: Affects image formats, transparency, and how much CSS3 is used to develop a site
- Layout: Affects HTML hierarchy, class and ID names, design scalability, and the organization of your web developer’s CSS
- Typography: Affects the weight and quantity of font files
So if you’re a marketing professional or business owner who’s making website design decisions, you’re making decisions that will impact your site’s performance.
If that’s something that you’re unsure about, speak to a professional web design company that has experience optimizing for website performance.
Trust us, the last thing you’d want is to spend money on a website that you’ll need to rebuild in the near future. We’ve heard many horror stories from clients who went through such an experience, and it’s both time and money down the drain.
Now, let’s dig a little further into the nuts and bolts of how web design intertwines with performance.
How does web design impact performance?
Intuitive, organized web design means less time spent fumbling around aimlessly looking for products and services.
For instance, making contact information readily available in a ‘Contact’ tab and at the bottom of the home page gives users what they need immediately. Site visitors won’t need to scour the ends of the earth for information.
If the UX on a website is too clunky, users will go somewhere else. Here are some red flags that indicate poor web design:
- Overly complex layouts
- Too many ads popping up
- Undecipherable print
- Bland design
- Poor load times
When these factors hamper a website’s performance, it can damage a brand’s narrative — no matter the quality of its products or services.
2. Brand identity & credibility
Efficient and eye-catching web designs tell the story that a brand is ahead of the pack.
It’s a similar notion to how, as humans, we eat with our eyes. A grey, dismal looking steak might possess the delicate nuances of a high-end dish, but since it lacks aesthetic refinement, it’s still unappetizing.
Quality web designs use colors, print, and visuals that synergize with the rest of a brand’s marketing collaterals, to help audiences make connections. When branding is consistent, it reinforces a business’s identity.
Once you’ve established a consistent identity, the next thing you’d need to care about is how to increase the trust that users have for your products or services — so that they’re more likely to reach out to you.
Below are some recurring themes that help a website look more credible:
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ) sections
- Content that is up-to-date
- Thought leadership through articles with author credentials and citations
3. Visibility on search engines
What good is an aesthetically beautiful website that enhances the user experience if there are no users around to appreciate the experience?
Unfortunately, that’s what will happen when website owners don’t design with SEO in mind.
One of the best ways of incorporating SEO best practices into a website’s framework is through responsive design. In short, this makes your website’s content readable across devices, browsers, and platforms. Building a website available to a broader audience adheres to solid SEO fundamentals.
Google’s mobile-first index also means that it ranks responsive websites higher during mobile search queries. With an overwhelming majority of internet users using smartphones, it’s no wonder that these responsive designs appeal to Google’s algorithm.
And yes, this essentially means that every design feature on your website could have the potential to influence your search engine rankings. So, always keep in mind SEO best practices when redesigning your website — this is something that we advise all our clients.
Get your web design optimized for performance
Your website is more than just a place on the Internet. In this digital age, a high-performing site is fully capable of making or breaking a business.
If you’re looking to build a new website or redesign your existing one, this is a great opportunity to take your business further.
Need help to optimize your web design for performance? Speak to us! We usually reply within one business day :)
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