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Website Popularity: Does Appearance Matter?

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Website Popularity: Does Appearance Matter?

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Website Popularity: Does Appearance Matter?

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Website Popularity: Does Appearance Matter?

What defines a popular website? Would it be a website with regular visitors who return again and again on a regular basis? Or one which receives a large amount of daily visitations regardless if the majority of visitors were unique and unlikely to return the day after?

In essence, it’s both but in reality the second option could be said to define a truly popular website. As for which is preferable, well that depends on the purpose behind the website. Is the goal building trust through consumer interaction? In which case returning visitors are key. Or making money via affiliate advertising? This would be better served by a large volume of unique daily traffic.

It’s What You Say That’s Important:
Regardless of the goal or purpose, there’s no arguing visitors are the defining factor for assessing website popularity. No surprise there. But many website owners have always been schooled it’s all about content and no one has ever had cause to doubt this.

After all, without engaging content there would be no viral promotion via social networking sites, blogs, and forums. And you can forget about return visitations if your website’s content is sleep-inducing. So popularity is definitely all about the content. Well not quite. While it’s certainly crucial to return traffic and cross-website publicity, there’s another factor at play when we think of popularity quantifying website statistics such as bounce rates, stickiness, and trust-building.

Are Looks Important to You?
Appearance. We have all been raised to not judge by appearance. ‘Never judge a book by its cover’. So in this same vein should we, ‘Never judge a website by its design’? Apparently not.

How a website looks influences visitor impression. This is fact. Anyone claiming not to care about the appearance of the site, only the content, may not be intentionally lying, but is fooling him or herself. It’s guaranteed when the visitor initially landed on the website, he or she crafted a first impression. This may well have been a negative impression, such as: ‘God, this looks tacky/cheap/dodgy/sloppy/unprofessional/boring/bad (*delete as required).

The fact the person stuck around to read what the website had to say could be justification for the quality of the content or it could be the result of the visitor having prior knowledge of the content. Maybe the visitor had already been informed the content was excellent and was determined to read it, regardless of what they thought about the design.

Dress to Impress:
Yes, there are content snobs who refuse to develop a website beyond a plain generic template. To do so would take attention away from the awe-inspiring content. And they know, for sure, the content will bring in the traffic. This is debatable. But it’s sometimes not worth the argument…

For a website that wants to immediately impress visitors, attention to design and appearance is fundamental. Today’s online consumers are click-happy and a website has less than 5 seconds to capture the average visitor’s attention. Sometimes not that long.

And no, this does not mean flashing banners, sirens, or garish décor. The visitor should be impressed by the visual quality and user-friendly layout. It’s not a Shock and Awe process. The style and color scheme should complement the theme of the website and the navigational system and overall interface should enhance content and make browsing intuitive.

Let Your Purpose Shape Your Design:
A discussion about design best practice and the finer side of website appearance is an entire article in itself. In fact, it’s more like 3 articles. The idea here was to impart an understanding of how influential website appearance can be and the impact it has on visitors’ impression of a website.

Content may glue the site together but design and appearance shape it. Both should be in harmony. Yin and Yang. Two conceptually different areas which are stronger when combined as a whole. A website without content is just a shell and content without a frame is nothing but a hosted text document.

Consider what you want to express when composing content and consider purpose and aspiration when planning design. Build your website to frame your content and allow it to enhance the reader’s enjoyment, not wrestle with it. If you can learn to appreciate the way website appearance influences visitor impressions it will become instinctive to create harmonious designs. 

  • You're losing business if your site is not found. Are your competitor’s websites ranking higher than yours? Why is that?

    Kurt Stocker  -  Master Certificed SEO Consultant

  • We are your business partner, not just another marketing consultant. Our goal: “To provide companies with the best online services they need by generating the results they want!” After all, it IS all about getting results!

    Heather - Moses SEO

  • Discover the variety of services we offer and decide for yourself on the basis of our latest success stories. We love building fresh, unique websites that WILL be found by the search engines!

    Cliff  - Moses SEO



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