October 31, 2023
You've got a website—good for you! You're already ahead of 36% of small businesses that still don't have a website at all.¹ But having a website and having a website that truly serves your business are two very different things.
Did you know that nearly 4 out of 10 people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive?² That's almost half of the potential customers you could be losing due to outdated or unappealing design. Whoever told you that visuals don’t matter lied to you! We’ll prove it to you in this article, but here’s a spoiler note: you already know this intuitively. Ignoring these realities can have dire consequences for your business. Let's delve into what happens when quality is compromised.
Ah, dear business sojourner, ponder this for a moment: Would you serve a Michelin-starred meal on a paper plate? Gift a Rolex in a cardboard box? Present a Pulitzer-winning story on a crumpled piece of paper? Unthinkable, right? Why would you wrap your business—your crown jewel—in a brown paper bag?
Picture, if you would, your current website as a storefront. The paint peels away in disgrace, the open sign flickers like a dying firefly, and the windows—ah, the windows!—are so clouded that they obscure the treasures within. You're not merely out of fashion; you're declaring with a megaphone to the world: "We have so little regard for your experience, we shall not even make the minimal effort!” According to a Stanford study, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company's credibility based on its website's design.³
Ah, but fear not! The tale of your website need not end in tragedy. The notion of upgrading to a professional-level website isn't solely about bedazzling your visitors with aesthetic charm—it goes far beyond. From user experience to mobile optimization, from SEO rankings to analytics and insights, the tenets of a pro-level website are as expansive as they are essential.
In today's digital age, the first impression isn't about your firm handshake or your eye contact; it's about your website. Studies show that a staggering 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds!) is all it takes for users to form an opinion about your website.⁴ With such a small window, every design element becomes crucial.
But what do we mean by 'good design'? It's not just pretty pictures and complementary color schemes. Good design is about visual hierarchy, guiding the visitor's eye from the most important elements, like your call-to-action, to secondary elements in a natural, intuitive way. It's about typography that's not just legible but also readable, contributing to a comfortable and engaging reading experience. It's about navigation that doesn't make users think, but rather, effortlessly guides them where they need to go. Good design is more than just aesthetics.
Here's an eye-opener: the average person spends just 5.59 seconds looking at a website's written content.⁴ In this incredibly short time, your design must effectively communicate your brand message, value proposition, and what steps you want the visitor to take next. That's where design-led marketing comes into play. It's not a matter of art for art's sake; it's about controlling the consumption of information in those crucial few seconds (and the seconds you hope to earn that are to follow, upon capturing that attention!).
Think of it this way: you wouldn't show up to an important business meeting in a casual t-shirt and expect to make a lasting impression, right? You'd wear a suit or dress because you understand that appearance matters and that first impressions are often lasting ones.
In the same vein, your website's design is far more than just a "digital storefront window." It serves multiple roles—tour guide directing visitors, salesperson closing deals, and customer service rep addressing concerns. A professional, well-designed website doesn't just capture attention; it commands it, funneling it toward meaningful interactions and conversions. Don’t deprive your business of the "suit and tie" treatment it deserves.
Remember the days when your local barista not only knew your name but also precisely how you liked your coffee? This isn't merely charm; it's astute business acumen in action. The data sings the praises of such personalization, revealing that such nuanced customer engagement can elevate sales by as much as 19%.⁵ The public's appetite for personalized experiences is insatiable, with 71% of consumers expecting it and a staggering 76% feeling let down when companies don't deliver.⁵
But let's not stop at personalization. A stellar user experience (UX) is about more than just calling your customer by their first name. User experience is about crafting an entire environment that delights both the eye and the mind. It's about a website that loads faster than your customer can say "Google it." It's about intuitive navigation that doesn't require a map and compass. And yes, it's about design that grabs your attention and doesn't let go. Branding, of which websites are one part of, is all about creating a journey that not only satisfies but also excites your customers, encouraging them to explore, engage, and eventually, endorse your brand.
Think of your website as more than just a digital brochure that houses information. It's an interactive experience, a journey that your customers take with your brand. In a world where people have the attention span of a tweet, creating a website that not just attracts but also engages and delights your audience isn't a nice-to-have—it's a must-have. And the stats back this up: McKinsey states that personalization can deliver 5-8x the ROI on marketing spend.⁵ Consider dedicated landing pages tailored to specific ad campaigns, or personalized product recommendations based on browsing history.
In this digital age, your website is more than just a compendium of facts about your company. It's an immersive, interactive experience—a narrative that unfolds with each scroll, each click. In a world that operates at the speed of a tweet, a website that merely catches the eye is yesterday's news. Today's websites must captivate the soul.
Here's a staggering fact: more than half of web traffic comes from mobile devices.⁶ Imagine locking your store's doors at random intervals. Sounds absurd, right? Yet that's precisely what you're doing with a site that's not mobile-optimized. An upgraded website ensures all elements function seamlessly, regardless of the screen size. It's not about merely fitting into a smaller screen; it's about delivering a complete user experience.
Buttons should be clickable, text should be readable, and navigation should be smooth. Nonetheless, while a captivating design and excellent user experience are essential, they alone won't bring visibility to your site. User experience (UX) only matters when you have… users!
In today's digital landscape, appearing on the second page of search results is akin to setting up shop in a deserted alley. Considering that 68% of online journeys begin with a search engine and that Google alone accounts for 93% of all online traffic,⁷ SEO isn't just an optional add-on; it's a critical business strategy. Sure, you can allocate a hefty budget to claim one of the coveted paid spots at the top of the search results. However, to build lasting visibility and credibility, organic ranking is key. That doesn't happen by accident; it requires a concerted effort. From optimized meta descriptions to quality backlinks, effective SEO practices put you in front of the audience that matters most: those actively searching for what you offer.
Research indicates that 91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.⁸ An upgraded website can showcase these testimonials in a dedicated, aesthetically pleasing section, influencing purchase decisions in your favor.
At the same time, the number of consumers reading online reviews “every day” fell from 34% in 2021 to 21% in 2022,⁸ which we would guess reflects a growing increase in fake reviews, paid testimonials, and pyramid schemes throughout the pandemic. There are right ways and wrong ways to use testimonials. Cheap design, for example, is often associated with scams, since scammers typically don’t invest the time and costs to produce a high-quality website.
Sure, a basic website can give you a headcount of how many visitors you've had, but that's like knowing how many people walked past your store without knowing how many actually came in, what they looked at, or what made them leave. Advanced analytics in an upgraded website can offer you a goldmine of insights. You can track user behavior, see which pages they visit the most, how long they spend on them, and what paths they take through your site. And it goes beyond that: with predictive analytics, you can even foresee future trends and customer behaviors. Analytics inform business decisions on what really matters, both on a micro and macro level. In a digital age where data allows us to improve user experience, not using advanced analytics is akin to navigating a ship without a compass.
Concerned about the cost of a website upgrade? It's time to flip the script. Investing in user experience can yield a stunning return—up to $100 for every dollar spent.⁹ A GoDaddy survey further solidifies this point, revealing that 83% of businesses with upgraded websites felt they had carved out a competitive advantage in the marketplace.¹⁰
So let's break it down: On average, less than 5% of user actions across industries lead to conversions.¹¹ This means if you have 100 visitors to your site, only 5 might download your eBook or make a purchase. The options then are clear: either find a way to attract more traffic or optimize your website to improve conversion rates. Given that e-commerce and other sales-driven actions have even lower industry average conversion rates, the need for an optimized website becomes all the more pressing.
The data is unequivocal, and the conclusion is inescapable: maintaining a merely "adequate" website is a one-way ticket to obsolescence. To ignore this fact is not just complacency; it's business suicide. The stakes are sky-high, and every moment you waste debating is another moment you're gifting revenue and market share to your competitors.
You might believe that your business doesn't rely solely on its online presence. However, in this interconnected world, your website serves multiple critical functions—it's your first impression, your online storefront, and your customer service center, all in one. Even if you don't think of your venture as a "digital business," your website is often the first point of contact for anyone considering interacting with you, regardless of your organization type. The hard truth is that many small organizations have websites that are far from optimal, to say the least.
Consider two familiar analogies to grasp the impact of a subpar website… or a subpar “anything”. First, think of a diet. Do “good enough” diets really “work”? Imagine eating seven cupcakes a day and deciding to reduce that to six. While technically a step in the right direction, it's hardly a game-changing improvement if you're aiming for a healthier lifestyle… in this lifetime. Your diet would go beyond just cutting back on a cupcake.
Next, consider the task of digging a hole. You could use a spoon, and yes, eventually, you'd make a dent in the ground. But what if you opted for an excavator instead? The difference between these two approaches is similar to the difference between a budget website and one that is well-designed and optimized. Both methods "work," depending on your definition of “working.”
If you're hesitant about the investment required for a high-quality website, consider the less obvious costs of maintaining the status quo. Lost customers, poor search engine rankings, and failed conversions—each of these has a financial impact, and cumulatively, they will likely exceed the initial cost of upgrading your website.
It might be tempting to go for a seemingly affordable $2,500 WordPress site, but it's essential to consider the long-term implications. Such an option may come with hidden costs, including poor SEO performance, high bounce rates, and a less-than-stellar user experience. And those are just the tangible costs; the stress and uncertainty of having a subpar digital presence also take a toll.
Whether you engage with us at Expozeur or opt for another path, the mandate is non-negotiable: Act. Now. There are no more excuses, only consequences. 2024 is here. There’s no excuse for having an ugly, outdated, cheap website. Sure, a solid website takes time, effort, and investment. But technology like Webflow in the hands of a skilled designer/developer has made a way for websites that would once cost $20,000 to now be achieved for $5,000. We’re living in a golden era of opportunity. Seize the day!
In the digital age, a strong online presence is crucial. Your website is a BIG deal. Webflow is a top-performing web development platform with over 3.5 million users worldwide. It's an underrated gem for small businesses seeking a superior digital presence.
Expozeur, a leader in branding and marketing for small businesses and entrepreneurs, unveils its strategic rebrand. Founded in 2017 by branding executive Brandon Fertig, this rebrand marks Fertig's transition from leading marketing teams for nearly a decade to focusing on Expozeur's evolution.