Why Design Is the Ultimate Way to Increase Profit
Have you ever wanted to increase profit of your business? And, what about showing your client that great design is worth the price? In both cases, this article is what you’ve been waiting for! Whether you are a web designer, developer or business owner, this article will provide you with information you can use immediately. Form selling your services to clients to getting a chance to gain an advantage over your competition. Read this article, improve your business, make more money and, the most important, enjoy your work!
Great Design Will Attract More Customers
The first and foremost reason why design will increase profit of your business or freelance services is that it will turn your website into a magnet for customers. This is not just because we love beautiful things — which great design will provide. Well-crafted design will also increase trustworthiness of your website. I already talked about this topic in 5 Best Reasons to Listen to Your Client Not Trends article. However, the main point is people are more likely to trust websites showing certain level of quality. And, what’s better indicator of quality than well-crafted design?
By the way, did you know that your brain can process an image in just 13 milliseconds? Seriously, this is not a joke. It was known for a long time that human brain processes images much faster than text. That’s also the reason why social media feeds are looking more like a gallery … Marketers know that single image is worth a thousand words. Anyway, imagine your website as one big image. If you’ve ever worked with layouts in graphic editor, it will be fairly easy. Or, even better. Use one of the online tools such as Screenshotmachine and take a shot of your website.
When you are done, open generated snapshot and take a look at how your website looks like. What was the first thing that came to your mind in the first four seconds? How much trustworthiness does it raise? Try to see your website as a potential customer. Would you be willing to buy something on your website? What about your credit card? Would you be willing to fill in your credit card number into the designated field? Or would you rather get out as fast as you can and run an anti-malware analysis of your system?
The exact same thing applies to mobile apps as well. If you are an app designer or developer, make sure to always do your best when it comes to UI design. Also, don’t half-ass the presentation of your app on app stores and other places you will use to propagation. Presenting your app in inferior way could quickly destroy all the potential to increase proft your app might have. Remember, people are making buying or download decisions based on only that handful of screens you will provide.
For this reason, make sure you will present your app in the best light possible. Meaning, double or even triple check every image. Pay attention to every detail. Nothing should be left to chance. Although I think that the design of your app is exemplary, I still want to warn you about one thing. Let’s say that you will find yourself in situation when you will have to decide between between fixing some non-critical bug and polishing the UI or UX design of your app. What is better way of spending your time? Unless the bug is serious, pick design.
There are many people that will forgive you some bug here or there just because your app looks awesome. Just make sure to fix that bug as soon as you can. Counting on the patience of your users is not the best way to build a business, not to mention a way to increase profit from it. So, let me repeat that one more time … Unless your app has a serious bug endangering its stability or usability, invest your time rather in polishing the design part.
Remember that in general, it doesn’t matter how quality products or services do you have on your virtual shelf. Unless this quality is directly reflected by the design, only few people will be willing to risk their money. The rest of the crowd might consider your website spam or some kind of phishing website. The opposite is also truth. If you have a classy website, you will be able to increase profit of your business even if the products you are selling literally suck. Remember, well-crafted design will not only increase the trustworthiness of your website, but your product as well.
So, what is the takeaway or action steps you can take to hit higher numbers than the ones you currently have? First, if you want to save couple bucks, don’t do it in expense of design. In other words, don’t try to look for the cheapest designer or developer on the Internet. Am I biased? Yes I am … I run a digital agency, so it is in my own interest to give you such advice. However, from number of clients, I learned that money saved on design and development work will backfire. Unfortunately, you will not see this coming as one big bang.
It will rather come as a series of smaller investments. You, or your client, will pay one developer or designer here to get one thing done. Soon, you will realize that he did terrible job. You will hire another developer or designer and pay him to fix mistakes of the first one. This may continue to the third or even fourth round. Unfortunately, the more rounds you will go through, the bigger mess your website will become. As a result, you will need to hire someone again. Now the task will be refactoring the whole website. You can find more about this topic in Refactoring CSS Without Losing Your Client Or Your Mind post.
By now, I hope you understand that being cheap in expense of design is not a way to increase profit of your business. It’s the opposite. By doing so, you are digging a hole in your wallet. Consider this … Is it better to pay more, but once or pay less, but multiple times. I guess we both know the answer. Also, don’t forget how much time will the cheaper option cost. Since we are talking about being cheap, avoid trying to find the cheapest hosting as well. That is just another way to shoot yourself in foot.
Remember, investing into both, design / development and hosting, will bear fruit in the future as they will gradually increase profit of your business.
Your Website Will Get Better Position in Search
Believe it or not, great design can help your website rank better in search engines. At least in Google, which is the most dominant anyway. How’s so? One thing Google is pushing every year with almost every update of its algorithms is great usability. Meaning, Google is rewarding websites that are designed well and are easy for user-friendly. The better the user experience your website is providing to visitors, the more likely will uncle Google give you higher rank.
On the other hand, if the UX of your website sucks, Google will answer with worse position in search results. Why is all if this happening? Why is Google sticking its nose into your business? Well, people using Google’s search engine are his users and customers. And, Google wants to keep his users happy so they will come back. What do you think will happen if someone will visit a website suggested by Google and that website will be completely useless? You’ve nailed it! This person will lose trust in Google’s search engine and go to competition.
As you can see, it is in Google’s interest to reward websites with good UX design and punish the rest. What’s more, with the increase of mobile browsing in recent year or two, this subtle nudging will not only continue, it will even increase. What does it mean for you? Sooner or later, you will have to invest into UX and design of your website. Otherwise, your website might not be there for a long time. For more information about how to optimize your website for mobile devices, take a look at Mobile Friendly Websites article on Google Developers website.
It is no longer truth that you can put your website without taking care about its design and experience your visitors will have. In this day and age, the rules are different. You have to actively work on it if you want to not only increase profit of your business through your online presence, but even keep your website findable. In the past, search engines didn’t care about it. Now, they will penalize you if the user experience provided by your website will suck.
The takeaway here is simple. Don’t think about design only as an inferior part of your business. In reality, your business or business of your client can be turned upside down just by doing couple small design changes. When search engines will find out your website meets their requirements they will help you reach broader audience and more customers. So, take your time and play with tools such as PageSpeed Insights. Find out where your website has issues you can fix and what can you improve.
If you want to go beyond that, try to ask people about the experience and feelings they got while using your website.
Bounce Rate May Go Down
Let’s stay with the topic of search engines for a moment. One aspect that will influence the position of your website in search results is bounce rate. In one of the previous articles called Quick Guide to SEO I already wrote a bit about the most important metrics you should care about. One of those metrics was also a bounce rate. I decided to discuss this metric in relation to design as well. By the way, bounce rate is a percentage of visitors who enter your website and then leave without visiting any other website. In other words, people who didn’t find your site interesting.
Let’s geek out a bit … The simplest equation (borrowed from Wikipedia) for bounce rate is following: Bounce rate = Total number of visitors viewing one page only / Total entries to page. Anyway, do you remember that longer part about search engines and how they want to provide the best results to their users? Bounce rate is one of the metrics search engines are using to determine how useful your website is for specific search query and keywords. Higher bounce rate means visitors are leaving your website immediately. In other words, you are in the trouble.
First of all, I’m not going to claim that having website with great design will significantly lower bounce rate. Thinking so is naive. The only way to change the bounce rate is to provide content that is interesting enough to keep visitors on your website. There is no other way around that. However, there are still some improvements reachable by design. Here is what I mean … Let’s say your website provides interesting information about certain topic. If it is still hard for visitors to navigate through it and discover interesting articles, they will not be willing to stay anyway.
Be smart. Make it easier for visitors to be immersed when browsing our website. Use great design to throw the bait and then do your best to keep your visitors engaged and happy. Also, forget about using some black hat SEO tricks and shady tactics. In most cases, they don’t work. And, even if they do, you are putting yourself at risk of having your website penalized by search engines which can potentially get you out of business. Instead, find out what are visitors look for on your website and provide it wrapped in the best package (design) possible.
Great Design Results In Better Usability
Let’s build on the previous topic of bounce rate with conversation about general usability. In the end, usability is one of the things users (often unconsciously) care about and designers discuss. In the beginning of this article, I stated that you should focus on polishing the design of your product rather than fixing non-critical bugs. I still stand firmly behind this statement. Here and now, I just want to devote a little bit more time and space for the “non-critical bug” condition.
The thing is that some one could take my statement to the extreme. Meaning, this statement can result in a situation where you have a product that looks more like a piece of art, but is full of bugs and completely unusable. It is especially for this case why I included the “non-critical bug” condition. Initially, I thought it would be enough. Luckily, one fellow freelancer suggested that this condition is too vague. When you think about it, what does “non-critical bug” actually means?
For person A, non-critical can be anything that will not cause failure such as crash of application or your browser. On the other hand, for person B, non-critical can be something that will not make the user wait for a longer time than necessary. In the range of these two examples, I would place my statement near to the person B. In a short, you should not push great design in expense of functionality. This is also the main idea behind my post about MVPs called The Question of MVP (or MLP?) dedicated to the topic of minimum viable product.
The conclusion of that article is this … When developing new product, aim for version with the most important (main) features, good functionality and nice design. Then, take it to the market and use feedback from your customers to improve it. In the end, your goal is to make people fall in love with your product or service. This, I think, says it all.
When you will have to make decision to pursue either usability or design, chose both. I know this may sound weird because we are used to think that, regardless of the topic, we can choose only one option. That’s bullshit. You should use your own brain. There is no rule set in stone saying that. In a fact, I would argue that great design actually results in great usability. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work so smooth the other way. It is only when great design and usability coexist when you will be able to increase profit you make from your products and sustain it.
Great Design Leaves A Long Lasting Impression
The last reason why design can be the ultimate way to increase profit of any activity or project is that it leaves an impression. I would even go as far and claim that design can support virality of your product. The later part about virality may be far-fetched. However, the part about impression is definitely truth. Let’s illustrate it on an example. Say you are a freelancer web designer and you are working hard on making your online portfolio the best presentation of your work.
One of the main problems freelancers have to face is getting new clients and keeping their business afloat. This means having a solid online presentation of your skills so people can find you and, if interested, contact you. Unfortunately, that’s not the end. Do you know that saying, “If you build it they will come”? Great design alone will not ensure you lines of people wishing to work with you. It doesn’t work that way, at least in the real world. After you create your portfolio, you have to switch hats and promote it as well.
That being said, great design can make the whole promotion thing much easier. How? Use design to create a long lasting impression in people. That way, even if this or that guy will not be interested in working with you at that moment, he will remember you. And, who knows? Maybe in the near future the situation will change. Then, when the same guy will look for someone to hire, your name will immediately come up. Magic? No. You’ve only used the power of design to create an impression and everything else, took care about itself. Remember, focus mainly on things that can increase profit in the long-term.
Closing Thoughts on Design as the Ultimate Way to Increase Profit
Here you have it. Today you’ve discovered couple good reasons why design can be the ultimate way to increase profit. Whether you are a freelance web designer working with clients, starting your own company or working in a regular job, great design will still bring many benefits. For those of you interested in exploiting the powers of great design, I wrote a special article on this subject called Timeless design — 10 Principles of a good design. This article builds on and explores the principles introduced by famous designer Dieter Rams.
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Originally published at Alex Devero Blog.