5 Research-Backed Insights on Website Design and Branding
With the fourth quarter upon us, many B2B companies have already started planning for 2019. As marketing leaders evaluate how well their existing marketing programs have performed and begin plans for the coming year, the conversation often turns to the current B2B website design and company branding.
For many B2B professionals, the corporate website is at the heart of their marketing initiatives. After all, like your email marketing, your website is something you always own. No matter what happens next with social media algorithms or Google’s SEO updates or other changes beyond your control, your website is literally your domain.
At Swimmer Integrated Marketing by Design, we’ve spent the last few months launching new websites for several clients to finish this year strong and start the new year off right.
If a website update or redesign is on your mind for next year, here are five research-backed insights to guide your 2019 planning.
Insight #1: First impressions are made in mere seconds.
It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website. In that extremely short time, visitors determine whether they like your site or not and whether they’ll stay or leave.
And even though it’s common to say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” websites are subject to an extreme level of snap judgments. First, a website serves as a window into the way a company operates. Outdated style or information can communicate your company doesn’t care about its digital presence.
And second, for any given Google search, there are multiple search results. It makes sense with so many options available, the tolerance for an unappealing website goes down dramatically.
If updating your web design, keep it simple and aesthetically appealing for a good first impression.
And there’s a reason best practices exist. Users know what to expect when sites have company logos, menus or search boxes placed in familiar locations, which contributes to ease-of-use and supports a favorable first impression.
Insight #2: A well-designed website keeps audiences engaged.
Even if you’ve passed the first impression test, there are several common snafus that can derail a positive website experience:
- 38 percent of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive
- 39 percent will stop engaging if images don’t load
- 39 percent will stop engaging if the site itself takes too long to load
That’s a lot of potential customers that no business can afford to lose. Ease of navigation is key here also. Evaluating the organization of your site andhow visitors may interact to get the information they came for in as few clicks as possible.
A good design seamlessly integrates the user experience with a solid technical foundation to create a more enjoyable online experience and keep audiences engaged. Organizing “next step” content like detailed specs, contact info or downloads of product sheets is key.
Don’t overlook the importance of optimizing any website design and branding for technical SEO aspects such as image size and page loading time.
Insight #3: Consistency counts too.
According to a study performed by the University of Loyola, color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. Consistent branding and messaging are key strategies we stress to all clients.
To communicate your brand identity, maintain a similar color scheme and overall aesthetic from your website design to your social media channels to your print collateral and packaging.
Insight #4: Make it easy for visitors to contact you.
51 percent of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites, and 44 percent of website visitors will leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number.
It sounds simple, but making it easy for visitors to contact you is frequently overlooked. Make sure contact information – whether it’s a phone number, email, physical address or even how to live chat – can easily be found by site visitors.
If you’ve captured and kept their attention, you don’t want to lose that interest simply because a visitor can’t find the best way to reach you.
Insight #5: Don’t forget the fold.
One of the time-honored web design guidelines is to keep important content “above the fold”. The term originally referred to the upper half of a newspaper page but has also come to mean the part of a web page visible without scrolling.
However, the concept of the website page fold has evolved. Today’s research indicates many people scroll on sites, and a current trend on home pages is a fairly long scrolling page.
Even though users are likely to scroll, the viewable area when a user first hits your site matters – a lot.
Remember first impressions are formed in about 50 milliseconds. Content above the fold should pull people in and give them a reason to keep scrolling to see the rest of your site content.
In a digital era when 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine and 81 percent of people perform some type of online research, a website can make or break a customer’s perception of a company. As you head into the new year, a few simple adjustments can change the way visitors perceive your site for the better.
Contact us for more fresh ideas to enhance your website presence.