How Web Design Affects the Value of Your Online Business
Long gone are the days of trying to convince business owners they need a website. The benefits of having an online presence are so great, and as eCommerce takes up an increasingly large share of the retail space, the need to have a great online strategy is surpassed only by the need to be successful with it.
However, having a great website isn’t just about increasing sales and revenues (although that is certainly an important part of it). It’s also a great way to build value into your business. Most people associate determining the value of a business as something you do when you’re looking to sell. This is true, but when you look at how businesses are valued, you’ll realize the key drivers of a high valuation are also simply good business practices you should be doing anyway.
Your company’s website shapes so much of how you do business. It’s often a source of new leads, and it’s a fantastic way to interact with and engage existing customers so that you can build trust and loyalty. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that the design you choose for your website can have a tremendous impact on your online business, and as such, it can greatly affect its value.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which web design affects online business value.
Back in the old days, customer experience dealt with the way people felt when they came into your store. But nowadays, customer experience goes well beyond just how people feel in the store. It’s gone digital, and your web design will greatly impact customers’ perceptions of you and their subsequent choice as to whether or not they would like to do business with you.
In terms of design, one of the most important things to consider is matching your design with customer expectations. Every online business is a little different, and each one makes money in a certain way.
Sites reviewing products will have a different design than sites selling their own.
Intuitive design makes it easier for visitors to navigate the site, increasing their chances of finding something they like, and it also will sway their attitude towards you in a favorable direction, upping the odds they’ll put something in their cart and click “checkout.”
These experiences build up over time, helping to create a favorable image of your company. This is not something that can be created overnight, yet it’s something that adds great value to your company.
Building on this, web design is crucial for SEO strategies. For those who don’t know, SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of setting up your site and its content so that your pages show up at the top of SERPs (search engine results pages). For a long time, most people only focused on content. Keywords and links were the most important things.
This has changed. Things such as “Bounce Rate” and “Time on Page” have become very important in determining SEO rankings.
Obviously, content plays an important role here, but don’t discount design. We’ve all visited sites that look unprofessional or are hard to navigate; we tend to turn away from them. Think of design as your chance to make a good first impression. If you make a good one, people are more likely to want to stick around.
In today’s incredibly competitive marketplace, it’s essential you find a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. It’s impossible to always be competing on price since new entrants into the market, or bigger players with more pricing flexibility, will always be around to undercut you. The answer to this: strong branding.
Having an easily-recognizable and clearly-understood brand is a great way to get yourself to stand out. If people know what you are about, and they know what it means to do business with you, they will be more likely to engage with you again.
Web design plays a huge role in conveying this message to people. Quality design shows a certain level of professionalism that people want to see, especially in the online marketplace where user experience has a direct effect on whether or not people decide to shop online.
But design also helps convey more specific aspects of your brand. You can tell just by looking at a site if the company is geared towards high-end consumers, business professionals, younger people and so on. The images, fonts, interfaces, etc. all factor into this. Of course, content plays a big role too, but good content with bad design is actually bad content.
Strong branding does wonders for the value of your company, as well. It makes it easier to make predictions about future sales growth. If and when the time does come to sell your business, you can use your brand strength as a bargaining chip to get better offers. And your design choices will affect branding right from the beginning.
Businesses with good sales numbers are worth more, obviously. So, the better you do at maintaining current sales numbers while also driving growth, the more valuable your business will be.
Website design that displays products in a visually appealing way will ultimately do better. Plus, there are ways in which you can guide people towards making further purchases. For example, including an “other customers also viewed…” section is a great way to encourage further sales.
Also, an easy to use and interactive sales cart makes people feel more comfortable, enhancing their experience. Design matters in the sales process, and the better you do in sales, the more valuable your company will be.
Hopefully, any doubts that you may have had about the role web design plays in determining the value of your business have been squashed. This shouldn’t come as a tremendous surprise—people have been studying design for decades—but as the business world moves online, it’s important to highlight just how relevant it is for online businesses. Selling short on web design is setting your business up to underperform, and no one wants that.
Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service specializing in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. Through this work, and his various other entrepreneurial ventures, he has become an expert on business valuation. He has been featured and quoted in publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Entrepreneur and Business Insider.