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Professional Design MAKES a difference

As the president of a professional web site design company, I am often asked "Why would I pay you to design my web site?" These days, almost anyone can design a web site for little or no cost at all. But the hidden benefits of having a web site designed by a professional can really provide bottom line benefits for your company that increase your web site's traffic, usage, and most importantly, your profit.

Our Research Data
As a number of public and private corporations underwent redesigns, my company carefully tracked the results via site statistics logs. These statistics came from sites that received no additional content, just a graphical and structural redesign. More importantly, 75% of the sites we tracked were not initially designed by web professionals. Our study began two months before each redesign and concluded two months after the redesign was complete.

The Results
The results from our studies were nothing less than amazing. The number of unique visitors for each site increased over 500% during the first week that a new site went live and each sustained approximately a three time increase in traffic throughout the rest of our study. In addition, we found that users would spend over 50% more time exploring sites after a professional redesign. Sales leads and information requests increased between 700%-1000%, showing that the redesign vastly improved the viewer's perception in the company as well.

Since no "advertising" or press releases were issued to announce each redesign, we examined where the increase in traffic had developed from (obviously, the results on each web site)

E-mail: Although difficult to track, we believe that over 50% of the increase in traffic came from E-mails that surfers would send to their friends and associates when they came upon the newly designed site.

Newsgroups: Investors or fans of the companies had posted announcements on news groups, resulting in a 200%-300% increase in traffic.

E-'zines: A single online article that praised one company's new web site design increased their traffic over 10 times for the entire week that it ran! And residual traffic even came in for weeks after the article was moved into the archives.

After our study, one company "induced" traffic by sending out an inexpensive postcard with their newly designed homepage on the front. The results were a constant 200% increase in traffic over a three week period. Other companies have found quick results in submitting their new sites for Internet design awards.

Other Supporting Statistics
An interesting statistic brought up at a recent web design forum is that the best web design is estimated to be 20 times more effective than the worst. This includes the potential damage done to the company's image as well as the cost of trying to expand a web site that was built on a poor foundation. And experts agree that the Internet is flooded with substandard web sites that present an unclear message or do not have a clear goal.

The Internet is a communications tool that reverses the roles. Customers are now actively seeking your products and services instead of being passive observers of advertisements. The online image you create is often the only contact a surfer will have, so it needs to be as powerful and clear as possible. Remember, once a web surfer leaves your site, the impression you've created remains with them, just like a television commercial or clever jingle. But unlike the other forms of mass media, the consumer can willingly return to your web presence and that's the highest incentive for creating the best image possible.

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