Style over substance: 90% of SMEs forget about conversion when designing a new site

A new study has revealed that less than 10% of small businesses are dedicating time to drawing new business and sales when designing a new website. The vast majority of design and development time seems to be being spent on the way a website looks, according to the research by creative web design agency Digimax.

Researchers looking into the web design process for small businesses found that only 9% of time spent briefing a web designer and discussing ideas was focused on website conversion. This is despite the fact that an overwhelming majority (98%) of those asked said that the reason they were getting a new website designed in the first place was to make more money. 91% of SMEs are simply not thinking about how their website works to ‘funnel’ visitors from a click and interest in the brand to an actual purchase and hopefully, regular custom.

Website branding, another key tool to help visitors to remember the company, engage their interest and help them to get in touch, was also being neglected. The study found that just 3% of all discussions with web designers touched on site branding.

What is being discussed in web design briefings?

The study found that 88% of the time spent in briefing meetings and discussions with web design professionals was spent talking about the aesthetic elements of the site, such as:

  • Content – 38% of discussion time
  • Layout – 27%
  • Pictures – 16%
  • Graphics – 7%

While it is important for your website to look good and give the very best impression of your brand, it also needs to push sales. Images, graphics and other great quality content are fantastic tools for engaging visitors, but what will convert their interest into cold, hard cash for your company? These are the things that SMEs really need to remember when briefing a web designer and embarking on the process of redesigning their websites.

Digimax’s creative director Shaz Memon explained to smallbusiness.co.uk:

“Having a marketing website is almost pointless if it is not presenting your company with the opportunity to convert visitors to customers effectively.

“Conversion is about purchase beacons that are clearly defined and set out, integrated through a beautiful user experience that increases the chance of your visitor making contact with you. An experienced marketer and designer should be able to deliver a rounded experience that delivers on all fronts.”

How do you design a website with conversion in mind?

There are an enormous number of techniques and design strategies your web designer and development team can use to increase sales on your website. It all starts with having clear goals – what do you actually want the customer to do when they visit your website? Once you know this, you can then design the website around this key goal and crucially, be able to track your progress with analytics data.

Did you discuss conversion when you briefed your web designer and if so, what kinds of techniques and goals did you talk about? Please feel free to share your thoughts.