If you’ve ever come across a client that thinks there’s no problem with their website that was designed by their grandson back in 1996, you might want to share this bit of information with them: a survey suggests that people don’t trust companies with poorly-designed websites.
In 2011, an online poll was taken in the United Kingdom asking both regular people and owners of small to medium businesses in their thoughts on online business. 70% of the regular people stated that they would not buy from a business if their website had a crappy design. As for the business owners, over 2/3 of them stated that the design of a website was more important to the business than the store location of the business (see source).
Trust is important.
When it comes to online commerce, there’s nothing more important than trust. We all trust the big companies like eBay, Amazon, and Best Buy because we already know that they spend a lot of money hiring professionals to develop their online stores and secure it. With small mom-and-pop business however, we can’t be sure that they’ve taken the proper steps to securing their online store. Did they hire a professional to set it up? Or did they try to do it themselves?
Because looks matter.
A great analogy for website quality is a blind date. If you’ve ever experienced the romantic crap shoot known as “blind dating,” you’ll know that looks matter. You don’t know anything about your blind date, so when you first meet them, the only thing you can base your opinion of them on is their appearance. And if he or she were to show up wearing sweat pants and a wrinkled T-shirt with Zippy’s Chili stains? Then you’d have to assume that they’re a unpleasant, irresponsible, and disheveled person in general (or that they have a schizoid personality disorder).
Is it fair to judge someone by their looks? Not it’s not. However, we do it anyway, so with that in mind, we should make sure that we look presentable, whether it’s for a blind date or for our online store.
Continuing on the blind date analogy, I’m sure that your business has a “wonderful personality.” However, prospective clients will never know that if you don’t put some time, thought, or money into the design of your website. You looks don’t need to be stunningly good, but they can’t be crappy.
What business owners should take away from this
Don’t underestimate the value of a well-designed website. A good web designer is not just hired to make your site look pretty. In fact, making your site look pretty is incidental – the goal of a web designer is to ensure that your website establishes trust with prospective clients and that you are a good company to do business with.
With that said, be cautious about who you hire. Most web designers know how to include e-commerce software, but e-commerce is really a skill set that is completely independent of web design. If all of this seems complicated, then I suggest delegating the responsibilities to online payment processors like Paypal or using a 3rd party service software like Shopify.