This is part 3 of my series about incorporating design into your website marketing plan. Today I am going to talk about how good design can improve the credibility of your company.

Credibility is crucial to the success of your website. If you can’t gain the trust of your visitors, web traffic is useless for you. Without trust, visitors won’t make a purchase. They won’t sign up for anything. They won’t read your content. All they will do is hit their back button and leave your website forever. What are some things that you can do to increase the credibility, and therefore the success, of your website? Here are five proven concepts that will help you portray credibility in your site:

1. Unique Original Content
The content of your site speaks volumes about the credibility of your company. People can pick up on authenticity a mile away. Stock photography and clip art will make your website look generic and templated. If your photos are original and show real people you will be perceived as authentic. The same is true of your copywriting. If your copy is filled with corporate jargon and marketing fluff, your readers will punish you. Original copywriting that is informative and original will be rewarded.

2. Consistency and Clarity of Message
The biggest and most successful companies typically have the most clarity of their message. When you interact with these companies websites (or any other marketing medium) it is crystal clear what their message is.

3. Breathing Room
Often the things you don’t say speak just as loudly as what you do say. The same is true with the visual layout of your website. The temptation is to fill every inch of the screen with information. Unfortunately, this is not how people process information. The space between things, the breathing room, is critical to comprehension of information. Designers like to call this “white space” or “negative space.” Don’t mistake this for “unused” space, however, because it definitely serves a purpose. Next time you see an empty area on a design presented to you by your designer think very carefully before trying to fill it with something.

4. Hierarchy
When everything on a page is competing for your attention a person doesn’t know what to look at first. Hierarchy is the prioritization of information so that your viewers know what the most important thing on a page is.

5. Attention to Detail
We often underestimate the visual sophistication of the average person. While most people can’t explain why something looks “off” they know when something looks professional and when something looks thrown together. A professionally designed website will have an incredible attention to detail. Typography will be impeccable. Buttons will be consistentlyl designed. Colors will be complementary. Shapes and textures will be repeated intelligently. Photography will all have the same style. All this attention to detail adds up to an extremely credible website.

I hope these five concepts prove to be valuable components of your website marketing plan. Next week I will continue to talk about investing in design and wrap things up with a post about how design can add value to your products. Stay tuned.

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