What can great visual design do for your business?
Good text content and good photography are important foundations of a great website – but they’re not enough on their own.
You need great design to polish and shine those individual elements and knock the final result out of the park.
No matter how engaging your text content (aka ‘copy’) is and how sparkling your visuals are, it takes thoughtful, intuitive design to shape them into a cohesive user experience that turns web visitors into clients and customers.
What good design does
Good design presents all of your information in digestible, clear chunks to help readers feel calm and comfortable as they absorb features and benefits, rather than becoming overwhelmed or puzzled.
It also leads them toward a clear call to action (CTA) that tells them exactly what you want them to do.
Making it simple for your potential customers and clients to respond to your CTA is not only important for your immediate bottom line.
Here are six ways that great design also feeds into your overall brand and business strategy and becomes the gift that keeps on giving:
- Users will spend more time on your website and click around more, which is good for SEO. This, in turn, means that your site will rise in search results and be found more often organically. The snowball effect means more prospective clients will come upon your site earlier in their search and will give you more clicks, keeping you higher up in results.
- Users absorb more information without realizing they’re being sold to. So, when it comes time to make a purchase, they already feel comfortable with and trust in your brand.
- Good design converts more prospects into clients by presenting an organized flow of digestible information and leading your target audience through to the ‘purchase’ point in a straightforward, easily navigable way.
- Your brand comes across as stronger and more professional than other brands.
- You completely control the way your products and services are represented: accurately, but in the best light.
- Great design significantly increases the ROI on the investments you’ve made in quality copy and photography.
- Having your copy already broken up neatly and explained in bite-size pieces, as well as visually portioned out, tees you right up to use it quickly and simply in other places. Need an Instagram post or tweet? Ad copy? A sound bite for an interview? Or even a quick response to a customer question? You’re ready to go. Each small piece of designed content acts like one ingredient, making it easy to make a new ‘recipe’ and still have the right brand flavor.
What goes into good design?
As a designer, I always start at and come back to the question of how I can make a site inviting and convey the right amount of information at each step and on each page.
The starting point involves curating your content.
Site visitors don’t want to spend their time reading a block of thick text, no matter how well it’s written. (An exception is when visitors are reading a blog post, where they are expecting, and mentally committing to, a deep dive in paragraph form.)
Prospective customers just want the basics. They want visual cues in the text, such as text that is broken into small chunks coupled with an obvious flow signaled by font, color, and placement. A basic rule-of-thumb I go by: Would a seventh-grader understand this?
Curating your content leads me to ask: What information needs prime real estate? What can be relegated ‘below the fold,’ nestled into other pages, or presented in the FAQ? How can I make this perfect testimonial or tagline shine and be most effective?
(For more on making your site easy on the eyes, check out my tips for turning dry reading into irresistible content.)
Marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing
A good designer is thinking through how to make your brand shine, and how to avoid having your site visitors feel like they’re listening to a used car salesman.
The comfortable browsing experience I’ve noted above is a precursor to prospective clients believing they’ll be comfortable working with you. When you add great design, the tantalizing copy and captivating images you’ve invested in can truly work in concert to reduce the pervasive feeling that your web visitors are being sold to.
The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
Good design makes your website a kick-a** 24/7 salesperson
A great copywriter will help you get out of your own way and tell the best story about your brand. Great photography – or otherwise relevant visuals – capture you and your brand (literally) in the best light.
But if the design is just ho-hum and passable, if it doesn’t get your prospective customers jazzed up, they won’t spend money.
Find someone with a trained eye for laying out content and a deep understanding of visual ratios; who geeks out on finding the perfect font for your brand.
A designer who doesn’t really get these concepts – or undertaking the website design yourself – leaves you at risk of having a site that’s not quite ‘all the way there.’
Your website is your 24/7 salesperson: Why settle for less than stellar? Why risk having your visitors drop off your site after a few seconds, missing your CTA entirely because the user experience is a challenge?
Good design is worth the money, and the investment you make in getting your website to 110% will reap rewards for years to come.
The three pieces together – great copy, great visuals, and great design – will actually convert more visitors, turning prospective customers into actual ones.
What can great design do for your brand?
Pssst: Wanna know a secret? Beautiful copy, pre-written and edited by a professional copywriter or conversion writer, and gorgeous professional photography can actually help you snag a good designer and get your project done on time.
You’ll be an all-star client, and your designer will be able to move quickly and focus on your job without waiting for those other moving pieces, which will help things go smoothly, and may even convince a designer to slot you into her schedule sooner.
- Good design is a critical piece of the power triad (including clean copy and beautiful images) that will ensure your website is your best 24/7 salesperson, turning visitors into paying customers.
- Good design ensures that you truly get your money’s worth for your investment in professional writing and photography.
- A well-designed site helps your visitors get just the right amount of information at the right pace, and navigate your site seamlessly. The level of comfort and trust they feel browsing the site will translate to their perception of working with you.
It's hard to market an unfocused brand.
Your business must tell a powerful story with strong optics and a persuasive storyline so you can stand out from the crowd and change more minds. Get a brilliant visual framework tailor-made for you.