Web design is too often relegated to the world of aesthetics. But it’s not only about making your site look pretty. Instead, good web design can be a powerful driver of business performance and value. Here’s how:
Why care about business value?
Before going too far, let’s talk about why business value is something you should care about.
Determining the value of your business is a good way to assess its overall health. The bulk of the business sale process is in deciding how much the company is worth. Typically, revenues are used as a benchmark; most brokers will multiply yearly revenues by 2.5 to get a starting number.
But business valuations are far more holistic. They look at the success and efficiency of your business processes and systems, and they will also look at how well you’ve managed risk and positioned yourself for the future.
Even if you’re not interested in selling your business, you should be interested in boosting its value, as all this really means is improving the company’s overall health and well-being. Web design can’t do this entirely on its own, but it can help you improve in several key areas, such as:
Search Engine Performance
The majority of your site’s traffic will come from organic search, so it’s imperative you do well in this area. Strong SEO rankings indicate your site
- drives traffic consistently
- is considered by Google to be a relevant authoritative source in the niche
- is well-positioned for future success
Design affects several of the key metrics used to determine search engine rankings. For example, Google uses “Time on Page” and “Bounce Rate” to identify quality content. The idea is that the more time people spend reading your content, and the less quickly they click off it, the better it is.
Obviously, to perform well in these categories, you need to have good content, but quality design is also critical. Elegant, organized and logical design will keep people calm when they’re on your site, and it will increase the chances they stick around and consume more content. We’ve all been on sites that look unprofessional or that are hard to navigate. We usually scream and click back as fast as we can, vowing to never return.
A good showing with search engines improves the value of your company, a key sign it’s successful and built to last.
At the end of the day, conversions are the most important thing. Every piece on content on your site exists for a reason. Not every page or post will be entirely designed for conversions, but everything is in some way or another working towards this end. And design can play an important role in helping your conversion strategy work, mostly by making it easy on people.
The first way this works is in what design isn’t. We have a tendency to want to include a lot of information at once, thinking if we cast a wide net we can reach a lot of people. Sometimes this works, but most often it doesn’t, leading instead to cognitive overload. This is when you present too much information for people to process, and it usually leads to frustration and shutdown, which translates into them leaving your page.
Instead, if you focus only on what’s most important, and provide links to other pages so that some people can find out more information if they want, you’ll be able to keep people’s attention for longer and increase the chances of conversion.
Visual hierarchies are also important. This is the process of organizing information so that the most important stuff is at the top. A lot of people, even if they like your content, might not make it all the way to the end. It’s important to put what’s most relevant right at the top. Well-thought-out design will do this, and this will help drive better conversion rates and improve the value of your business.
A strong brand should be the goal of every digital business. With so much competition out there, you need something to help you stand out from the crowd, something your customers can latch onto and build a connection with. Branding requires a comprehensive strategy across all forms of communication, and your website design is one of these. Their role is largely in shaping first impressions.
Think of your website as your virtual storefront. When people land on your page, they are going to make associations about your company. In the broadest sense, these can either be positive or negative. But there’s more at play. Colors matter, and so does the way you present information. You can get people thinking about your brand in a certain way simply with the way you’ve designed your site, and this will make all your other messaging that much more effective.
It’s not hard to see the connection between business value and branding. First, strong brands tend to make more money, which inherently increases the value of your business. But also, effective branding helps to maximize customer lifetime value, and it also helps set you apart from the competition. You’re no longer just any old eCommerce site; you’re a known entity people recognize and connect with, and that has tremendous value.
Start Taking Design Seriously
Design often drops off the list of website owners’ priorities. We tend to settle for what we have, often thinking, “it’s good enough.” Well, this simply isn’t true. Web design has a significant effect on the performance and overall health of your business. Consider bringing in a professional to help you leverage your website design and make your company stronger and better positioned for success.
About the Author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service specializing in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He has bought, run and sold three online businesses throughout his career and is considered an expert in high-growth internet companies. Now, he works with others to help them maximize business value and identify exciting growth opportunities.