Why You Need More than Just a Pretty Website

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Whether you’re talking about people, places, or products, attractiveness is appealing. However, we all know that being pretty only gets you to a certain point. Having substance, providing value, and being functional are all necessary to draw people in and engage with them. This is true when it comes to your website, too.

Having a nice looking website is pretty  much a standard expectation in today’s world.  But what you can’t always assume is that a website is going to ultimately provide value to the end user. In fact, there’s often such a strong pull for a businesses to make its website look good that it completely overlooks the outcome it is trying to achieve with each user and each page visit to the website. Keep reading to see why a well thought out and intentional website is far more valuable than just a pretty website, and how you can make sure yours is delivering big time value to your organization.

Load Time: Every Second Counts

Did you know the performance of your website matters when it comes to people sticking around? Today, users expect a site to load pretty much instantaneously, and they sure don’t expect to have to sit there and wait for everything on one of your pages to load. Nearly half of all web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they will quickly leave a site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Similarly, 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site, while 44% of shoppers would tell their friends they had a poor experience shopping online.

As amazing and flashy as you want your website to look with all kinds of beautiful graphics, having a lot of fluff is likely to slow it down and take away from your user’s experience. Having too many scripts that need to load and including large size graphics will slow down your load time significantly. Instead of loading your pages with too much fluff, I encourage you to focus more on what action you are trying to get your user to take once they visit the page, which will allow you to make each interaction with your users more valuable.

How does your website rate when it comes to load time? If you’re not sure, check out how strong your website’s performance is with this website grader from Hubspot.

Simple Navigation

We know you can find your way around your own website. Heck, you built the darn thing. But how easy is it for your audience to do the same? We all tend to over complicate our businesses, resulting in our customers having a heck of a time understanding what we are trying to tell them. Your website’s main navigation needs to stay as simple as possible, serving as an easy to understand road map to all of the different areas and information contained within your website. That means you shouldn’t be the only one who knows and understands how it flows.

We know you have a lot of information to share, and it can be easy to justify having a complex navigation system to showcase all you have to offer. However, this can often be confusing to users and make them frustrated when they’re trying to find their way around. Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for your user to go from one place to another on your website. Less is more when it comes to your website’s road map, and your users will appreciate being able to find their way around easily. 

Responsive Design 

If you’re not building a website to be mobile responsive, you shouldn’t be building a website period. 80% of internet users use their phone to search and browse the internet; you should design your website thinking about how it will look on mobile devices BEFORE what it will look like on a desktop. A well done responsive design will ensure that visitors to your website can easily consume the content and interact with you without having to pinch and zoom their way around, which is a showstopper for today’s mobile consumers.

When you’re choosing a design template for your website, platforms like WordPress give you a core structure with great, reusable design elements. It’s important to remember not to deviate too far away from how things are already structured in the template you’re using. Most templates come with features that are consistent with what people are already used to, and most users expect a consistent experience as they go from site to site or app to app on their phone. So when you’re designing your website, try not to overthink it by adding too many unique features to your design. It will only slow your users down and make them have to work extra hard to get around and use your website.

Security Matters

So now you know how to create a good looking and highly functional website, but is it secure and does it provide peace of mind to your users? Setting up SSL encryption on your site is a straightforward and inexpensive process to ensure that all communication between your site and a user’s computer is encrypted, and there’s really no excuse for you to not have it. Since more and more companies are conducting business transactions on their websites and asking for information from users, it’s now more important than ever that those interactions are encrypted and safe from prying eyes. On top of that Google now factors in encryption to its SEO algorithms, so you will get extra points from the search engines by making sure your website is secured by SSL encryption.

Trigger Points

When you’re so focused on making your website look good, you run the risk of leaving your users hanging and not directing them to the actions that you want them to take to bring true value to your organization. What’s the main organizational purpose for your site? What do you want users to do? Are you trying to drive leads, receive donations, sell products, get people to sign up for your newsletter, or something else? Starting from those fundamental questions will help ensure that you create a website that is not only pretty, but highly valuable and effective for you and your organization.

Need Help Fast?

Are you chomping at the bit to get rolling on a new website? If so, contact us and we’d be thrilled to visit with you about your project!