October 12, 2015

762 words 3 minutes.

Website Design that Wins: The Importance of a Great Design

Two people looking at color options for their website design.

Good web design is more than just a pretty face for your website; it plays a major role in converting visitors to your site into leads and customers. Your web design will make the most critical impression on a visitor to your site: the first impression. Within a matter of seconds, your design can either inspire trust and curiosity, or repel a visitor right off your page back to the search results - and your competitors.

When a visitor arrives at your site for the first time, it is the visual design elements that will subconsciously speak to them. Within the first 0.05 seconds on your site, your design will communicate:

  • Credibility
  • Trustworthiness
  • Warm and welcoming
  • Stability
  • Professionalism
  • Authority

…or not.

Making the right first impression within these initial milliseconds can have a lasting impact on customer satisfaction. Research shows that a positive first impression can prime users and boost satisfaction ratings down the road. Making a good first impression on your users can have a lasting impact.

Good Design can make a Website more Trustworthy

When it comes to websites, trust is golden. Trust can mean the difference between a visitor who sticks around to discover your content, goods, or services, and a visitor who bounces away from your site before reading a single word.

According to an in-depth study from Stanford University, the visual design of a website may be the first test of it’s credibility. Nearly half (46%) of participants used a site’s overall design or look to assess credibility and trustworthiness.

Web Design elements that win

Just like optimizing your website content is done with the human visitor in mind, good web design should also focus on the user experience first and foremost. Here are the elements of web design that will inspire trust, and make a good first impression on the people who visit your site.


The right mix of colors will convey your mood and messaging, reinforce your branding, and influence buyer behavior. Too many colors, however, can be visually distracting. Choose two to three colors max for your hero message, headline, background, borders, pop-ups, and buttons. If needed, you can use one of your colors in different tints, but to try and avoid too many color options on the page or it will feel chaotic to visitors. When it comes to website color, less is definitely more.


Flash animations and auto-play videos may look cool, but avoid using them unless they support your content and information. Homepage videos have the power to engage and compel visitors, but not if it’s out of date, boring, annoying, or fails to solve a problem. Make sure your media elements support your message and are right for your audience.


Just like color, the fonts on your web page can either reinforce your branding and convey a mood and message, or they can create chaos and clutter. Your website design should include no more than two fonts that are easy to read. Fonts that are too small, overly stylized, or don’t contrast with surrounding colors will make it hard for visitors to read your content.


Your website should have a clear navigation structure. When a website visitor is given too many choices at one time or can’t easily figure out how to navigate, they will leave. People have an expectation of where certain elements of a website will be, so trying to reinvent the wheel or get extra creative with a website layout can backfire. Place navigational elements where visitors to the site expect to find them.

Web Design elements that don’t work

A study was done on visitors to health websites to determine the content factors and design elements that most influenced trust. The study found that a website’s design elements were the most powerful factor in generating mistrust from visitors.

94% of website visitors pointed to a design element to describe why they mistrusted a website, and only 6% of comments referenced specific content.

The design elements that generated mistrust that should be avoided include:

  • Small, hard to read print
  • Slow loading time
  • Boring design or lack of color
  • Layouts that are busy or complex
  • Pop-up advertisements or intrusive ads

The design of your website is a visual representation of who you are as a business. It either reinforces your brand, inspires trust, and welcomes visitors, or it conveys chaos and mistrust and chases them away. You can have the most valuable content on the net, but if your design isn’t dialed in, no one will ever stick around long enough to read it.

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