When people talk about online marketing a lot of emphasis is placed on the visual appeal of a website. In many cases, so much attention is given to the way a website looks that other aspects are often neglected.
Craigslist is one of the 10 most visited sites on the internet and gets over 50 billion page views each month. What’s even more impressive is that it’s about as visually appealing as the classified section of a local newspaper. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
So, is the visual appeal of a website really that important?
If you are running a website to generate leads and sales for your business, using craigslist as a benchmark isn’t the best idea. Its success lies in its functionality. The amount of user generated content means that it will always achieve a high volume of links, shares and visibility.
Since craigslist was founded in the late 90’s the search algorithms used by the major search engines have changed beyond recognition. They now take into account all sorts of factors. They measure how long a visitor spends on a page, the bounce rate, the number of social shares and, most importantly, the volume and quality of the links pointing to a particular page. Put simply, every day the search engines are getting better at measuring which sites people like, and which ones they don’t.
If user experience is the key to visibility, that makes the visual appeal of your site fairly important. Though it should always come second to the functionality of the site and the actual content on the page, how a page looks is an important part of the equation.
Think about it; would you be more likely to share a blog article from a great looking site or one which looks like craigslist? Think about it another way; would you prefer to do business with someone who handed you a professional, well designed business card or someone who scribbled their number on a napkin?
Perhaps the most relevant question is why wouldn’t you try and make your website look good? If you are building a new website or redesigning your existing site, there is no reason that functionality, user experience, content and design can’t be build into one professional package. If you are using the right web design company, you should never have to compromise.
At Web Adept we always take a very practical approach to web design. We deliver sites which look great but are also designed to compete in a very competitive online environment. They are designed to bring you business!
If you’d like to talk to us about a new website or if you’d like us to take a look at your existing site, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
By Angus Findlay
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