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Leveraging Web Design and Digital Marketing for Ultimate Results
- 20 Feb 2023 12 min read
Web design and digital marketing do go together, and with the right collaboration, they can be the powerful conversion combo you’ve dreamed of.
Web design is primarily a discipline of aesthetics. It deals with the visual appeal of website elements – from layout and typography to colors and arrangement of content. All to tell your brand story in a way that resonates with your target audiences.
Studied separately, many assume that web design couldn’t possibly have anything to do with digital marketing or online selling. Well, operating as both a digital marketing and web development company, we argue otherwise.
From the perspective of customers or audiences, the art and science put into both practices are concentrated into the customer experience – interactions and user experiences that are free of friction. And from the marketer’s lens it’s about optimizing the brand experience so that customers keep coming back to transact.
With that, you can conclude that web design and digital marketing are inextricably linked. In this article, we’ll give you a deeper understanding of their synergistic relationship that creates sustainable business results.
What is web design in digital marketing?
Web design in digital marketing is the process of effectively crafting a website that looks appealing but also functions well as a platform for marketing your services and products.
As part of your online assets, web design is focused on creating an online presence that reflects your brand, attracts leads, and converts them into customers. This includes using high-quality visuals, effective user experience strategies, responsive layouts, and other strategic components to create an engaging website. Moreover, it also requires an understanding of how search engine optimization works so you can increase organic traffic coming from Google or other search engines.
With all these elements working together in sync, web design in digital marketing helps businesses:
- increase their brand awareness;
- build trust with potential customers, and;
- increase sales.
And the best part is, you don’t even need to master all technical aspects of web design to integrate this into your marketing or business processes.
Is knowledge of coding required for digital marketing?
No. Coding is not required for digital marketing, however, it benefit you in terms of creating effective online experience for customers, and gain more success online.
For starters, marketers who code can optimize campaigns expertly, and make smarter decisions on how to reach targeted audiences using different technologies.
For instance, knowledge of HTML and CSS enables you to customize website designs so they look attractive and function across devices. Coding skills can also be used to create dynamic content that changes based on user input or browser type, optimizing their experience.
Hence, while coding is not a prerequisite for digital marketing success, it does expand optimization potential that marketers would do well to take advantage of, if granted.
Can a web developer be a digital marketer?
Yes, a web developer can be a digital marketer. As web design and marketing continue to overlap as practices, developers must possess a small level of understanding of marketing. This is so designers and developers can generate leads and sales for their website creations.
A great web developer should understand more than just coding languages and has a well-rounded understanding of other facets of digital marketing. Knowing how to integrate search engine optimization or SEO in web development, use digital advertising platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, and be familiar with content marketing, and social media management.
Finally, an understanding of how to use data analytics tools gives web designers and developers the capability to understand how end users interact with websites. This knowledge and understanding of analytics digital marketing tools like Google Analytics helps developers track website performance which, in turn, help them spot features that can be improved upon for increased conversions or positive user experiences.
With this arsenal of digital marketing skills, web developers can make sure their designs are draw in visitors and results.
FURTHER READING: Become a Better Digital Marketer With These 18 Online Courses
The seven basic principles of web design
We established how web designers can be digital marketers and how vice versa, marketers can benefit from knowing basic codes. To further drive the importance of both to create an effective website, here are general principles of web design that everyone and anyone can follow:
- Design principles. One important web design concept is that it should be visually pleasing, but also include elements of usability and accessibility. It should have a hierarchy that makes it easy to navigate, prioritize content and draw attention to important elements. It should be responsive, allowing users to access content on any device.
- Color theory and psychology. As in color psychology, colors can evoke emotion and create an atmosphere for a website that appeals to visitors. Understanding how different colors interact with each other is essential to creating an effective design.
- Typography. Typography is the art of arranging typefaces in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and legible. Proper font choices are essential for readability as well as for conveying brand personality.
- Layout. Web layouts should provide visual cues about what type of information can be found on the page. This can be achieved through grids, columns, or sections which help organize content into appropriate spaces.
- User interface (UI) and user experience (UX). The UX design of a website must meet the needs of its intended users. Therefore, UX designers must use UX principles such as user-centered design and prototyping to ensure the best possible experience for all users. Additionally, interface (UI) design involves creating visual elements such as buttons, menus, and icons in order to enhance usability and make features more accessible to users.
- Visuals. Eye-catching visuals are key in keeping visitors engaged with your website’s content – whether it’s images or videos – they add value by helping tell stories and convey messages quickly and effectively while maintaining aesthetic appeal.
- Motion graphics. Animations can help guide users through your website by providing visual cues to direct them where they need to go next or simply adding life to otherwise static images or headlines.
Why is web design important in digital marketing?
In this article, we will discuss the specific ways web design and digital marketing can go hand in hand through to achieve many benefits for your brand and business.
Specifically, a web design that’s grounded on marketing objectives helps achieve:
- An excellent first impression for your audiences.
- A cohesive digital branding and infrastructural front.
- Better SEO ranking for your website.
- Increased engagement and social shares.
- An encouraging customer journey and exploration.
- Quality traffic and conversions on your website.
- Competitiveness for your brand on the digital landscape.
1. An excellent first impression for your audience.
Like it or not, digital-first customers would judge your business based on the image you project online. This is because the modern buying journey typically starts with an online search.
Potential customers type the name of your business on the search bar, with your website being one of the first things that will pop up.
If you don’t make a good impression, potential customers won’t bother exploring your site, let alone do business with you. This is one-way marketing and web design are interlinked.
It’s important to focus on the site elements that make the best impression on users. When you focus on the ones written below, you can almost guarantee that your site visitors will return:
- A responsive design. Your website should be optimized for mobile devices since more people today use their smartphones and tablets when surfing the Web.
- Simple navigation. Your website should make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for. Ideally, your site should be able to serve necessary information in under three clicks.
- Fast website loading. Your website should have a page speed that fully loads a page in three seconds or less. Otherwise, there’s a big chance your users could bounce.
- Better images. Your website should be visually appealing to your target audience.
2. A cohesive digital branding and infrastructural front.
Your website is the representation of your business online. This makes it among your most important brand assets.
A website gives you the space to tell people who you are, what makes you unique and different, who you aim to serve, and more.
When done right, it could help boost your credibility and promote customer trust. Web design and digital marketing are one of their objectives to boost brand awareness. Let’s look at the example set by the high-end skincare brand Aesop:
When developing a website, ensure that every element in it not only impresses your users, but also reflects your company identity through your choice of color scheme, images, typography, and content.
Below are some points to remember when designing your website to help improve your digital branding:
- Exercise consistency. The visuals and typography must be uniform across all your website pages. Otherwise, you’ll confuse prospective clients and lose their trust. Use a brand style guide to keep your team aligned.
- Place your logo at the upper left-hand corner of your website. This is where people’s eyes usually go when they first land on a page. Putting your business logo here will help create instant recognition among your customers.
- State your value proposition clearly. Your website visitors must readily know what you offer and how you stand out from the competition. In one sentence, summarize who your business is, and keep it above the fold to increase visibility.
3. Better SEO ranking for your website.
User and page experience is a Google ranking factor. When you invest time and resources to build an excellent website, search engines will reward you and give you better visibility. By extension, this will help widen your reach, attracting more visitors.
How does Google measure user experience? These three factors should guide you:
- The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This measures the time a website takes to display the largest content on the screen which ideally shouldn’t exceed 2.5 seconds.
- The First Input Delay (FID). This measures the length of time a website visitor interacts with your site – say, clicking a link – to the time the website responds to that action. This should happen within 100 microseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). This is a measure of your website’s visual stability. The layout shift happens when an element on the page changes position from one frame to the next. For instance, you’re reading a blog, then the text suddenly moves downwards which causes you to lose the line you’re at. Another example is when you’re about to click a button, the link shifts, making you click something else.
With these scenarios, you might understand why Google measures a website’s visual stability. It may seem like a tiny detail, but it’s one that can make or break users’ experience.
Given these meticulous user experience criteria points, it’s best to consult a professional Web development company that will give you a blueprint to jumpstart your user experience design project.
4. Increased engagement and social shares.
A crucial element in user-friendly, modern websites is the social media buttons. They’re usually at the top or the bottom section of blog posts, allowing visitors to share the content easily on their socials.
This feature has the potential to boost brand awareness and increase your audience reach. This is another way Web design and digital marketing are related.
The only challenge in improving your website development is to determine the best, strategic placement for the social sharing buttons. Positioned in the wrong places, the buttons may not successfully encourage people to share content and may even be deemed intrusive by some users. Instead, place them in the following spots:
- Within the content. On some websites, a social sharing bar appears when you highlight a portion of a blog post. This contributes to a better user experience because some users indeed highlight parts of the content; so they can copy and paste it to their Facebook or X page. With social sharing readily available, you’ll make the process more convenient for users.
- Halfway through the content or at the bottom of it. Most people would think it’s ideal to place buttons at the topmost portion of the content. After all, you’d want readers to be informed right away that they can share the post. This Web design move, however, doesn’t consider the natural way people share content.
Remember, users only share what they find interesting. If they only read the introduction of your blog post and didn’t progress halfway through, there’s a good chance they didn’t find it share-worthy. It’s safe to assume that the social buttons at the top of the page aren’t getting the clicks you’re expecting.
Therefore, the better move for Web design is to put the social buttons halfway through the content, where readers have already consumed a good chunk of the post – or at the bottom of the content, once they complete reading the entire post.
- At the top of the content. As you develop or improve your site’s Web design, use the widget that displays the number of shares of the post to help increase social proof.
A blog post with thousands of shares will pique the interest of new visitors and encourage them to read through the content. Hopefully, they will share this on their social platforms.
5. An encouraging customer journey and exploration.
It’s one thing to attract visitors, but it’s another one to keep them. There are over a billion websites on the internet today. In your industry, specific to your location, perhaps there are hundreds or thousands.
Customers have several options yet they would always go for and stay on the platform that’s easy to use and navigate. Ensure that yours is exactly that by using the strategies below:
Keep the design simple. Simplicity in website design involves a two- or three-color scheme, a maximum of two fonts, plenty of white space, and a clean layout.
Remember, you want to propel customers to act. If the website is too cluttered or complicated, they might not get the message you’re trying to convey and leave your platform altogether.
It will be helpful to ask the following questions when you’re in the process of website development:
- Is the page visually attractive?
- Is the text readable and scannable?
- Is the layout easy to understand?
- Use visual distinction on different elements. For example, the title of your blog posts must be bigger in font than that of the bodies. The search bar must be at the top right corner of the website with a placeholder text search and a magnifying glass icon. The calls to action, meanwhile, are traditionally placed in a button. This will allow users to click on it and be redirected to a corresponding landing page such as a form for a newsletter subscription or a payment portal. The visual distinction makes your website easier to understand and use.
- Prioritize easy navigation. Include website categories at the top of your homepage. Keep the search button visible on every page of the site. It’s also best to have search suggestions. You can either provide the most popular searches or add an autocomplete option. Track how a typical user would navigate your website; so you can identify which parts you need to add or improve.
6. Quality traffic and conversions on your website.
Have you ever seen an outdated shop, with peeling paint on the facade, cluttered walls, and absent retail clerks? For sure, you stepped into that store with the reservation that you’re going to find what you’re looking for. A visually messy, complicated website is similar to this. It spoils the buying experience, the worst way to dampen marketing efforts.
It’s one thing to attract visitors and keep them, it’s another to encourage them to do business with you. When you invest time, effort, and resources in a conversion-centered website design, you reduce the customer’s hesitation to purchase from your business.
The strategies mentioned above nurture customers into conversion. To propel them to actually do business with you, introduce real-time customer support on your website. A live chat tool will help you in the following ways:
- Timely responses. AI-powered chats recognize keywords in messages and offer instant answers to customer queries. Even while you’re asleep, they’re at work, extending assistance to your potential clients.
- Smart responses. With Machine Learning, chatbots deliver not only timely responses but also smart canned answers, especially to basic queries. This is important because most people don’t bother going back to a website when they don’t receive meaningful customer service when they need it.
- Critical information. Chatbots leave important data about every chat in the backend for your review. This can help improve your marketing strategies, moving forward.
7. A well-designed website helps you stay competitive.
In this tech-first age, businesses are trying to one-up one another, providing advanced tools that would make them the top-of-mind choice.
If your website is not optimized for the best user experience, you’re at risk of losing not only your online presence but also your competitive advantage.
To outdo your competitors, analyze what exactly they’re doing, in terms of website optimization. Below are some tools that can help:
- SEMRush. This can reveal your competitor’s website’s organic traffic volume and the keywords they’re ranking for, among others.
- MozBar. This can offer insight into your competitor’s domain authority, a marker of how strong they perform in the SERPs.
- Ahrefs. This reveals your competitor’s website’s referring backlinks, the number of pages crawled, most popular content on the site, among others.
While they are two distinct disciplines, web design and digital marketing go together in many ways. A well-designed website can help you achieve your marketing objectives. In turn, marketing tactics – including search engine optimization and social marketing – can yield better outcomes through a well-designed website.
- Prioritize your site visitors. The strategies and performance measures mentioned above all point to improving users’ experience. By focusing on this aspect, alone, learning more about the kind of audience you’re trying to serve, can help you design your website in a way that benefits them. In turn, these efforts can help benefit your business.
- Begin with the end in mind. While a well-designed website ticks off digital marketing goals intuitively, it’s best to be intentional about incorporating these objectives into your website development process. From the get-go, consider what you want to accomplish; so you can reflect this in your layout, navigation, branding, and content. Create a web design checklist to help you streamline your process.
- Professionalize your online image. As you consider the end-users, it’s also important to think about your business image. How do you want to be perceived on the Web? If you want your customers to trust you, optimize your website’s look and function for them.
Do you need more tips on tried and tested web design marketing practices? Sign up for our newsletter and if you have any questions, don’t be shy and contact Propelrr.
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