If you truly want to understand websites, their design, and why it matters, you need to know there's a lot more to web design than the average person thinks.
In this post we will cover 11 web design facts most people don't think about. We personally feel #11 is the most important one!
Let’s take a look behind the scenes to learn about some of the most surprising and amazing aspects of web design.
1. Web browsers render websites differently
When you look at a website from your home computer using Google Chrome, it might be a completely different experience than your friend has when she browses the same website through Safari on her iPhone.
Why does the same website look so different across different browsers? It all depends on parsing and rendering, or the way that browsers translate code and display it on your screen. Some browsers will load the code in a very specific order, and sometimes browsers won’t recognize certain code at all.
Browser differences can make it tricky to create a website that provides a great experience to everyone. That’s when professional web designers step in.
It’s a web designer’s job to ensure that your website looks good and functions properly across multiple different browsers. They also perform extensive browser compatibility testing to identify potential issues, and establish necessary fixes for those issues, before a website goes live.
2. Website Design dictates where users will focus on your website
The Internet has forever changed the way we read and browse content. According to the Nielson Norman Group’s 2008 report, “How Little Do Users Read?” On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.
If a website visitor can’t scan your website and identify key information quickly, they are likely to leave and visit another website instead.
Web designers strive to create sites that direct viewers to the most vital information, such as your online store, your company’s blog, your free giveaway, or other content important to both them and you.
You can also use heat maps such as HotJar and analytic tools to see which buttons and links are popular so that they can continually improve the user experience with future updates on your website.
3. The average shelf life of a website
Web designers work hard to keep up with the crazy pace of technology. Since the web browsers and devices being used to access websites are constantly changing, the way that those websites are designed and developed must change as well.
To remain current and relevant, digital professionals must stay on top of the latest coding standards, browser compatibility updates, and search engine algorithms, marketing tools, and techniques.
An outdated website runs the risk of not displaying properly in every browser, having unexpected formatting issues, or not showing up effectively in search engine results. For this reason, a site that is even two years old may be antiquated if it has not kept pace with these changes.
We always recommend updating and/or rebuilding your website, every 2 years or sooner.
4. Templates will restrict what you can do with your website
Ever see a website that looks "Homemade"?
Some people turn to website templates as an “easy way out.” Pre-built templates can allow someone to create a website with little to no web design knowledge.
Unfortunately, companies can lose credibility by relying too heavily on templates, which typically create bloated code and unnecessary design elements. Trying to force a template to do something new can make it look patched-together, like a Frankenstein website, and that is if that template will even allow for those needed changes.
Your business can benefit the most by having a web presence that is custom-made for your needs and the needs of your customers.
5. Your website’s wording helps it be found by the search engines
You could have the most visually-stunning website in the world, but it won’t matter if you don’t have an audience to view and use that website.
SEO professionals make sure that the way your site is worded will help an audience to find your website when they type in certain keywords into Google or another search engine.
Search engines can be a great source of new traffic for your website.
There are many additional steps that can be taken on a site to fully optimize it for those search engines, but it all starts with wording best practices and ensuring that the foundation of your website is conducive to a good relationship with the search engines.
6. Images and videos can have a positive or a negative impact on your website
Multimedia content, such as images and videos, can be a powerful part of a website, but if used improperly, they can also significantly damage a website’s performance.
Large image and video files can dramatically slow down the loading time of your website. When visitors have to wait too long for a page to load, you risk them growing impatient with the site and abandoning it altogether.
To ensure that any multimedia content that is used on a site engages visitors rather than drives them away, web designers must use images and videos that are optimized for websites.
These optimized files will ensure that your page loads quickly while still offering that rich imagery or video content.
We at Troyer Websites almost always host our client's videos on our Vimeo Pro account and then embed them onto their website. This gives us maximum control of display, fast loading, and super crisp clean videos.
7. A good website design ranges between $400 – $6000
A look at numerous web design companies reveals that a good website design can cost between $400 to $6,000 and sometimes even higher.
If you’re surprised at this range, consider the number of hours and shear brainpower that goes into optimizing websites for search engines, making content accessible across browsers and different sized devices, and improving overall performance by speeding up your website’s loading times.
Web designers often rely on specialty software and robust tools to ensure that a website’s code functions the way its intended while displaying well.
8. Email isn't dead
Don't listen to marketers that tell you that email marketing is dead. Those are usually the same marketers that are trying to sell you some kind of Chatbot service.
A good website will be designed to generate email leads for you. Whether you take those leads and put them into an email marketing system such as Aweber (for general email marketing) or Klaviyo (for eCommerce) that's up to you.
We recommend using one of these systems, building your email list, staying in touch with your leads, customers, and/or prospects and building relationships with them.
Value based email newsletters are becoming popular again and will help you achieve your email marketing goals.
9. Live front end visual editors are the newest rage
Gone are the days of hacking together websites started from scratch with code, or even using an old school back-end editor.
If you want the one built for better conversions, get Thrive Architect. That's the one we prefer and use the most.
10. Great websites are the hub of your online marketing system
Think of a wheel. Your website is the hub, and everything else you do online is the spokes.
All your social media accounts, your email marketing, your business directories, your ads, and everything you do online should all be pointing back to your website.
The more spokes you have, the better your results will be as long as your website is built for conversions which we discuss down below.
11. Web design dictates conversions & results
This is one of the most important features of your website. If it doesn't turn your visitor into a lead or a sale for you, your website isn't doing it's job.
When you have the right layout, wording (copywriting), call-to-actions (CTA) placed at the right places, you can see a major difference in the amount of business your website generates.
EXAMPLE: Let's say your website is getting 1,000 targeted visitors per month and you have a 3% conversion rate. Meaning 3% of website visitors will contact you about your product or service. That would be 30 leads per month or about 1 per day.
Now if you could make some changes to your website and get it to convert better, you might see a 10% conversion rate. (There are landing pages that convert at 30% to 50% and even higher) At a 10% conversion rate you would be getting 100 leads per month or an average of 3.3 leads per day.
If your average lead is worth $50 to you, in the above example you would be improving your website's ROI value from $1,500 per month to $5,000 per month.
That is why we feel conversion is the most important part of web design!
If you feel this is something you would like to discuss with us, feel free to contact us and we'll chat.
About the Author
Jonas is the owner and CEO of Troyer Websites, a full service web design and marketing firm in Orrville, OH.