When business people think about good web design, the first thing that often springs to mind is a site that’s aesthetically pleasing. After all, your website is the virtual front door to your business and you want people to be attracted—not repelled. But consider this: At last count there were more than 8.18 billion indexed pages on the Web (but who’s counting). The chances that someone is going to be snagged by the beauty of your site are pretty slim.
As important as an attractive site is—there’s a whole lot more to good website design than pretty pictures and easy-to-read fonts. Your website needs to be designed with certain functions in mind.
Your website needs to be “findable.” Think about how you use the web to find what you’re looking for. You search for things based on your specific wants or needs. If you want to attract visitors, you need to design your site around the things that they are looking for: their questions, their key words, and their interests. This is what SEO is really all about.
Your website needs to be “usable.” Visitors to your site are after information. You need to make sure it’s helpful, accurate, and easy to access. People don’t want to wade through your philosophy and prose. They want to know if you have what they are looking for. Does you content offer them what they want—or does it give them a sales pitch?
Your website needs to be “actionable.” It really doesn’t do you a lot of good if all people do is visit and then disappear. You want visitors to do something. That means you need calls to action all over the place. They need to be appropriate and they need to take people to information that’s genuinely helpful. But you don’t want visitors to just wander off. You want to know what they’re looking at and what’s helpful. And you want your website to differentiate visitors (lookers) from leads.
It’s great to have a good-looking site. But it’s much more important to have a site that brings in the right people, gives them the information they’re after, and gets them to take action—identifying them as leads and potential customers. But it doesn’t just happen. It happens by design.