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The Importance of Design in Search Engine Marketing

It seems safe to say that the visual design of your website, or landing page, is one of the most important, if not the single most important aspect of your marketing campaign. And, the reasons are plentiful. Consider the following mind-blowing statistics compiled from and Hubspot:

    – 46.1% of people indicate that a website’s design is the #1 gauge of a company’s credibility
    – 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
    – Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text
    – 67% of consumers give more weight to visual content than product info or other text

So, what does this mean for you? It means if you want to truly capture the attention of your target market and engage your followers, you need to make website design a huge priority. Since you have something great to sell, take the time make sure your potential clients are visually engaged with your website, and thus, more likely to buy. Here are 5 tips to help you with your website design.

Tip 1: Hire a professional

Truth be told, graphic designers, videographers, and photographers are a dime a dozen these days. In fact, there is so much competition out there that you can actually hire people on crowdsourcing websites to design a logo for as little as $5.00. Additionally, you can probably hire your favorite Instagram-er to take some pictures for you, apply a snazzy filter, and call it close enough for jazz.

Since, as we learned above, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, it’s worth the extra time and money to invest in trained and experience professionals who understand the ins and outs of every aspect of design, photography, and videography.

That being said, here are some high converting visual aspects to discuss with your professional designer, and to consider incorporating into your website design:

    – Logo that accurately represents your brand, and links back to your home page
    – High-quality and Pinterest pin-worthy photos that show off your products and services
    – Videos that showcase your brand
    – Visual representations of data like graphs, charts, and Infographics

Tip 2: Understand the Basic Principles of the Psychology of Color

Believe it, or not, there is actually a whole branch of science dedicated to the psychology of color. In other words, it’s a scientific fact that different color schemes appeal more to one type of audience than they may to another, and that color can affect human behavior.

Since the main goal of any marketing campaign is usually to persuade consumers to buy a product or service, it’s important to pay attention to a science that can affect a consumer’s decision to buy your product, and/or interact with your brand.

According to a peer-reviewed study called the “Impact of color on marketing,” conducted by Satyendra Singh, it only takes 90 seconds for a customer to form an opinion about a product, and 62%-90% of that decision is determined by the color of the product alone.

To add to Satyendra Singh’s insights, I relate a personal experience.

I recently purchased a vinyl record player on Amazon (hip of me, huh?). After doing my consumer research, I decided to purchase a Crosley Cruiser Portable Turntable. The only thing I had left, and the biggest decision I ended up making, was to decide if I was going to spend an extra $10 to get the cute turquoise one, or settle for the not quite as cute green turntable, and save $10.

While the turquoise turntable was definitely my favorite, I eventually decided to pay $10 less to get the exact same product in the “cheaper” color (this was after 2 hours of weighing the pros and cons). And, I’m still debating whether or not I made the right choice.

Imagine that. A company offering the exact same product with the exact same technical features has leveraged the psychology of color to make $10 more for a product by offering it in a more appealing color at a higher price point. The Amazon seller of this Crosley product clearly did the research to understand that different people like different colors, and that a handful of people are willing to pay more for a different colored product of the same exact caliber.

While my record player buying experience is a bit of a silly example, the principle applies more broadly to website design. People react differently to different colors in the spectrum, and when you are considering all aspects of your website design, it’s important to keep the color that might be most appealing to your target audience in mind.

While a designer will know what colors appeal to your target audience, here are a few simple guidelines on the Psychology of Color to help guide you:

    – Women generally like blue, purple, and green, but not brown, grey, or orange.
    – Men generally like blue, green, and black, but not brown, purple, and orange.
    – Green is great for environmental or landscaping websites.
    – Use blue to indicate trust.
    – Only use strong hints of yellow if you’re trying to warn your audience of a potential threat or danger.
    – Have a luxury website? Try black.
    – Orange is for fun-havers, but don’t over-do it.
    – White is simple, fun, and easy to navigate.
    – Most people respond very well to the primary colors, so save those for your call to action.
    – Think of your website like an outfit. You want a few nice colors that go together, but not so many that it looks strange. Make sure the colors you use match each other well.

Tip 3: Use a responsive design

Today, people will land on your site by using multiple kinds of devices including a desktop, laptop, tablet, and/or mobile device. If you want people to stay on your website, make sure the design you pick is responsive to every single way viewers can potentially find your website. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve automatically bounced out of a site, because the design wasn’t mobile responsive. No one wants to take the time to try and expand small screens and click tiny buttons on a mobile device.

In fact, some designers say that instead of designing a website and then making sure it’s mobile friendly, the better way is to focus on the mobile site design as the first priority, and then design the website based off of the mobile design. Maybe the following statistics will shed some light as to why so much priority is given to mobile design today.

According to a Hubspot survey, the following is true of mobile marketing:

    – 70% of mobile searches lead to an action within an hour. At the same time, 70% of desktop online searches lead to an action within a month.
    – 74% of smartphones searchers use their phones for shopping.
    – 73% of smartphone users have used the mobile web to shop over an app.

This means if you don’t design your website to be mobile friendly and quickly responsive, you may be potentially missing out on a huge chunk of market sales.

Tip 4: Keep your navigation intuitive

While you may be tempted to go creative when it comes to site navigation, just stick to one of the cardinal rules of design—keep it simple. The best way to help your target audience find what they are looking for is to make sure they can easily navigate between pages. It’s also important to help them easily find their way back to the home page. There are 2 current popular ways to keep navigation simple.

The first is to provide your primary navigation bar at the top of the website with a horizontal bar. In this type of design, all of the secondary navigation bars lie underneath the primary navigation bar, or to the side of the page. Each navigation tab has links to a new landing page within the website. This is an effective and traditional way to organize your website’s content. This format is a great way to organize your website, especially if you have lots of content.

Another great way to organize your website is to provide a primary navigation bar at the top of the page, and add a scrolling option with anchor-linked headings. This option is great if you have a website with less content, and/or if your primary audience searches primarily via tablet or mobile device. Not only is the navigation intuitive, but it also makes it so tablet and mobile users can simply scroll from page to page, instead of having to click on tiny links to get from page-to-page.

Tip 5: Test your Design

The last tip for effective website design is testing your design. Testing is an important part of any Internet marketing campaign. Just like you never know exactly what keywords and ad copy will work the best for you, until you’ve tested them out, you never know what type of response you will get from using a light gray background vs. dark gray, for example.

Feedback from A/B testing, analytics, user testing, and focus groups can give you insight that can help you improve your design, capture more leads, and save money.

When getting ready to launch a marketing campaign, take the steps necessary to make sure your website is as appealing to your target audience as possible. It could mean the difference in turning a high bounce rate into conversions.


Guest Author Ashley R. Cummings
Guest Author Ashley R. Cummings
Ashley R. Cummings is the owner of Searchlight Content and a freelance writer, specializing in online marketing, education, and travel. Connect with Ashley on Facebook or , and learn more about her on LinkedIn.