Website design still matters, but it's only first step

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Not so long ago, the essence of finding new customers over the Internet was having a good business website. And by good business website, we mean one that looked great, regardless of the content that was on it or what you did to promote it.

In today's digital world, of course, the opposite is quickly becoming true: How you market your company online – through search engine optimization, social media and other means – matters more than the look and structure of the site itself.

That's especially true when you consider that there are lots of templates around that can help you build a professional-looking Web presence in just a few hours or less.

And so, the question that needs to be asked is, “Is business Web design still important?” Or in other words, does it matter what your website looks like?

In finding a good answer, there are three things to consider:

(1) Design and layout do still matter a great deal.

As the old saying goes, you never really get a second chance to make a first impression. That's especially pertinent online, where your competitors literally are one click of the mouse away.

If your website doesn't do a good job of making you seem like a trustworthy source of information, products and/or services, then you can bet that buyers will look somewhere else for the answers they need. In other words, your website needs to stand out, or at the very least, not hurt your credibility.

(2) On the other hand, a well-designed website is only a first step.

To return to the point made earlier, a great-looking business website is just a first step. For one thing, the aesthetics of your site can only grab the customer's initial attention; you still need great content to do the rest.

Besides, it doesn't matter how impressive your layout and design are if you don't have a strong Internet marketing plan in place to attract customers. A beautiful website will never be profitable if no one ever sees it.

(3) To make your business stand out over the Internet, you need the right combination of creativity and marketing insight.

Success only arrives when you have the right design for your business website, backed by a plan tailored to your specific market.

When those two elements are working together, amazing things can happen. When they aren't, it doesn't matter how much attention you pay to things such as logos and fonts, because you won't be able to get potential customers to see them.

Although popular emphasis and attention are shifting away from the artistic aspects of business Web design, they are still incredibly important. Don't neglect the look and feel of your site, because those first impressions are powerful, and they say a lot about the long-term results you're going to be able to achieve.

Web design still matters. We've just gotten better about putting it into the right context.

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