The Importance of your Website Design

By Jarrad Howard, Campaign Strategy Study Coordinator

Many times, your organization’s website is what makes your first impression. More and more, donors are going to websites before ever having spoken to anyone, which means your website is the most prolific representation you have. It also acts as a business card – a quick and efficient way to get information to your donors and constituents in one easily-accessed location.

In order to make a positive impression on those that are visiting your website, there are a few things to consider regarding its design:

LOAD TIME – A website should take less than 3 seconds to load. There are exponentially higher Internet speeds on the horizon, and with Google Fiber and close to 1 Gbps speeds coming from various service providers, upload lag will soon be a thing of the past. HOWEVER, right now, things such as elaborate flash displays, large videos and complex content take a while to load. Studies show that 40% of people will leave a website if loading takes more than 3 seconds. (ECONSULTANCY)

LAYOUT – The majority of people read websites in an F-Shaped pattern. (NNGROUP) Make sure the content on your page is laid out in such a way that the information your constituents and donors most look for is easily accessible and lays along the magic “F.”

COLOR – The colors of your website, in most instances, are heavily influenced by your organization’s branding. BUT, you should be aware of what those colors may be communicating about you. Check out this great infographic to see what your colors are saying! Also, it has been found that dark colors are better than light colors for more traffic (2% vs. 1.31%), page views (2.98 vs 2.91), bounce rate (44.4% vs. 46.2%), and average time on site (3.18 seconds vs. 3.15seconds).  ()

USER EXPERIENCE – Your website needs to be easily navigated and information needs to be placed in a logical place. I know it sounds very basic, but a user-friendly site is KEY to conversion and keeping viewers engaged. Remember, visitors to your site, if looking for something specific, should never be more than 2-3 clicks from that information.

MOBILE ACCESS – Mobile users now make up around 27% of web usage. (Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. With one of Google’s most recent updates, which some are calling “Mobilegeddon,” if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your page could be pushed WAY back in the search algorithm on mobile devices.

So, when you’re considering the design of your organization’s website, remember to go for functional over “whoa that’s cool.” Make sure it is visually appealing and information is arranged logically, and don’t neglect the mobile version of your site.

How would you rate YOUR organization’s web design?