The Professional Web Design Difference
Web design is a delicate balance of art and science. While almost anyone can create a website, a professionally developed website goes far beyond the facade. A properly designed site addresses a number of important issues that impact your bottom line.
Every website has a different audience and different considerations. Whether your business market is Sarasota, Gainesville, or the entire nation, your website has to address the following aspects in its design and development: design look, search engine visibility, download speed, and usability.
Website Design Look
According to a highly regarded study conducted by Stanford University for Consumer Reports (reference), 46.1% of online users listed the design look as a measure of a website's credibility, the largest factor by far. The website has to look professional and accurately reflect your particular company's image. Your customers will lose trust in your products or services unless you present yourself professionally online.
Search Engine Visibility
One of the most overlooked facets of web design is search engine visibility. Most people will turn to a website like Google to find your site. A website has to be properly structured, the code has to follow certain protocol, and proper linking has to be utilized to provide search engine spiders with enough "food" to rank your website highly in its search results.
Web Download Speed
According to the January 2005 bandwidth report (reference) 45.31% of home users in the US still connect to the Internet via dial up modems (at 56Kbps or less). If your website takes more than a few seconds to load in the browser, visitors will leave your website resulting in lost business. It takes an experienced developer to create an attractive site that also loads fast and is not obscured by unnecessary code.
Related to download speed, but encompassing far more, is website usability. Your website visitors have to find what they are looking for FAST when surfing your site. Online users have distinctly fast surfing patterns - they scan text quickly and move page to page within seconds. It's more important to give users what they are looking for rather than pushing content you want people to read. The website navigation structure has to be intuitive and obvious. Otherwise people will leave your website frustrated and look to your competition for a better user experience.
All of the above issues directly impact your business website's profitability. While there are a number of other issues that must also be addressed (such as browser-compatibility) the above are what set a professional website apart from most other websites on the web.
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