They say you should never judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to website design, judge all you want!

Like it or not, an aesthetically pleasing website can give you that all-important competitive edge, regardless of whether you’ve got the sales to back it up. But getting your website design right is a tricky balance to strike. And it definitely shouldn’t take longer than two seconds to load. So, here’s exactly how website design could be affecting your business.

User experience and retention

Did you know that over 50% of online scrollers admit to preferring an attractive website over an unattractive one? So, if your site is clunky, outdated, or too slow to load, your audience is unlikely to give you a second chance.

And don’t even get us started on what’s going to happen if you don’t optimise your website for mobile, as nearly 60% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. If a website isn’t responsive and it creates a bad mobile experience, users are likely to leave and never return.

Brand credibility

Judgement is part and parcel of being human, and it pays to trust your gut. 75% of people judge a company’s credibility on its website design and user experience alone. If you don’t have your business address, contact number, or email clearly visible, potential customers might decide it’s time to check out before they’ve made a purchase.

SERP ranking

Ultimately, high bounce rates will be reflected in your position on the search engine results page (SERP), and it won’t be a good score. The further down the SERP, the less likely you’ll see conversions.

A recent study by Backlinko analysed 4 million Google results and revealed that the top organic result received 10 times more clicks than the tenth spot. And more importantly, the first result averaged a 27.6% click-through rate. It goes to show that bad design leaves your business with more than just an eye sore.

The principles of good design

Don’t worry. You don’t need to be an expert artist to create a beautiful website. So, if you’re just starting out or looking to give your existing site a refresh, here are the golden rules of good design.

  1. Colour palette – McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Facebook… What colours pop into your mind when you think about these companies? Every brand needs an iconic and instantly recognisable colour palette – and your website is the perfect canvas to showcase yours.
  2. Consistency – On the same lines as having a colour palette, you'll need to come up with brand guidelines that you should stick to whenever you add something new to your site. Whether this is a font, colour, or the tone of voice you use, it should all be the same no matter what part of your site your customers land on.
  3. Readability – As cool as WordArt was in the late ‘90s, using it in your website design could compromise on readability. So keep things simple. Don't use an fancy font if it doesn't contribute to your brand, or takes away from the content you've written.
  4. Navigation – Users shouldn’t need a compass to navigate your website. Your design needs to set out a clear path for them to follow, so they don’t get stranded on the landing page.

Embrace your inner Picasso with Fasthosts

Stuck for a little creative inspiration? Luckily, Fasthosts Website Builder makes it easier than ever to create a beautiful site from scratch (no coding or design experience necessary).

Whether you’re launching a cupcake business or a selling scented candles, you can find a theme, template and design as unique as your business for as little as £1 per month.