Good looking websites are all the rage these days... ecommerce, portfolio, brochure, and small business websites. A good looking website can go a long way towards helping you gain customers. But why is that not always enough? And what's required to really get the most out of a design?
First, we should begin by saying that a good looking website should be the goal of any company, business, or individual looking to 'sell' themselves. When a website looks decent, it automatically garners a certain amount of trust. This is super important. (And for some businesses and individuals, in all honesty, this is enough.)
Why is this the case? Many people don't really read or browse the content of a website. A lot of times they just take a quick look, judge whether the business or person is legit and seems trustworthy. Then, once they find a phone number, address, or contact form, they quickly run off. This might work well for certain service-oriented businesses. For example, if someone is looking for a plumber, they could honestly care less about your origin as a company or the types of experience you have. Once they see an attractive website, the location you service, and a phone number, they may immediately feel comfortable with calling you.
When, then, might a good looking website NOT be enough? A good looking website may not be enough when a visitor requires more than just a casual glance in order to determine if they should trust you and whether you have the best offering compared to your competitors. Often, this can come into play in industries where there is a lot of competition or when visitors expect your website to provide certain practical tools. In addition, more can be required for ecommerce websites too.
How do you know if a good looking website is enough in your case? Compare the number of visits your site is getting to the number of phone calls, messages, or sales you are getting. If that ratio seems out of whack, then you might have a problem. For example, an ecommerce website may have A LOT of visitors and window shoppers, but not be making a lot of sales. This could be partly due to the price range or category of the products they offer. (Some industries just require more work to gain a sale.) However, could it be that while your site looks GREAT, people are having trouble finding what they want in the store? Or when they go to purchase on a mobile device, are things hard to navigate? Did you choose a shipping schema that scares people away or encourages them to get the same item from a competing website we all know too well? Does your site's product descriptions give them all they need to know in order to make a decision? We think you're getting the point.
In today's world, it takes more than a pretty face to survive. It's important for your websites to be easy to use, easy to understand, not present obstacles to visitors, and really communicate in a way that people will intuitively feel you 'get' them. And in any case... If you give attention to not just the visual design of a website, but also to whether it is truly functional, informational, and easy to use, you will find that your sites will be more successful at converting visitors into paying customers and clients.