Design is an integral part of any website. It affects a customer’s perception of your company, the website’s usability, and the overall effectiveness of the website. Having a “pretty” website is not a luxury. In today’s competitive and wired world, companies’ websites have to be as beautiful as they are functional. Here’s a few reasons why it’s essential to have a beautiful website, no matter what industry you are in.

Builds credibility
A few years ago, Stanford University and Consumer WebWatch performed a study to determine how visitors evaluate the credibility of a website. This study found that visitors were more likely to judge a website’s credibility on visual cues than on the site’s content or security features. The number one factor that participants mentioned was the “design look” of the website, causing the study to conclude that most visitors “assessed the credibility of sites based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size, and color schemes.” (You can download the whole 105-page report here if you want the details.)

When customers see an ugly website, they are less likely to trust the company. The logic is that if a company can’t even be bothered to present their information well, they won’t take the time to create quality products or provide good customer service. A well-designed website tells your customers that you are a professional company that will take good care of them. In reality, you could be a one-man operation working out of your basement or a multinational company with thousands of employees, but all your customers will see is what you show them.

Helps people find things
Attractive websites are easier to use. A good design helps visitors navigate the website, understand their options, and do what they came to do. Humans are visual creatures. We look for cues in color, images, and layout before we read any words. In fact, many people only resort to reading the text if they can’t figure out what to do based on the images they see in a quick glance. From consistent navigation to helpful icons, design plays an important role in helping visitors use a website.

Establishes/reinforces brand identity
Your website adds to your brand identity. Through colors, images, text, and even typography, your website tells customers who you are. If your website is ugly or poorly designed, it tells customers that your company is sloppy. If your website has a fun, vibrant design, it tells customers that your company and products are fun and dynamic. If your website is traditional and professional, it tells customers that they can trust your company to take care of them.

Helps you stand out from the crowd
There are literally hundreds of millions of websites on the internet. Many of them are unremarkable, following the same boring templates that let visitors forget them as soon as they’ve left. But having a beautiful website that reflects your company’s unique image and culture will make an impression on your customers and potential customers. They will remember your company and be more likely to come back and recommend your website to their friends.

Don’t plan to be the exception
Of course, there are definitely exceptions to the rule. There are a lot of ugly websites that have loyal followings and are very successful. However, that doesn’t mean that you should try to look like them. These websites succeed despite their looks, not because of them. If your website is ugly, confusing, nondescript, or still looks the same as it did when the boss’ nephew first created a splash page in 1995, you should think about redesigning it. Request a design quote to see how Gravitate Online can help your website become beautiful.