Don’t copy another website’s design. Make your new website even better.

The value of a business website has never been greater. Every business, from retailers and professional services to IT companies, all these organizations have an online presence, which means their competitors do too. With everyone vying to make the best first impression with customers, it’s a daunting task to make the best website possible for your company. Some businesses try to get ahead by just copying the web design of more popular sites and industry competitors who are more established. However, this can do more harm than good. In the end, a successful website isn’t one that’s the best, but rather the one that best markets your individual brand. Don’t copy another website’s design when you can make your own website even better. Let’s look at why and how.

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Web design – an introduction to your brand

Before prospects examine your product’s features, the scope of your services, or even the success stories on your site, their first impression of your business is based on your site’s web design. On average, it generally takes only 50 milliseconds for a visitor to develop an opinion on your website. Additionally, 75% web searchers judge the credibility of a company by their site’s web design. In less than a second, a prospect can decide whether they’re open to working with you. If they don’t like your site or think it’s not presentable, your window for conversion diminishes rapidly. They’ll probably just bounce to a competitor’s website.

Done right, web design adds a visible layer to your company’s story that catches the viewer’s eye and draws them into becoming a customer. Done wrong, your web design can turn prospects totally away from your brand, it’s that simple. Therefore, your website’s design structure has to be a strong starting point for the customer journey. You do this by focusing on creating a design that helps tell your company’s individual story. The best way to do this is by being original.

Having a unique well-designed website creates a connection between your company and the customer. You can’t just be like your competition, to win the sale you have to offer something that differentiates your brand over theirs. This connection, coupled with your value-added content and brand promise, will lead to the sale. The challenge then is to present a web design that’s original and intriguing the second users land on your page and keeps them engaged to explore your brand further.

Use inspiration from other sites, but don’t rely on them

Just having a beautiful web design, or one that mirrors a more popular site won’t do your brand justice. Copy another website’s design and you’ll probably end up with a site design that’s dated the day you launch. With so much web content out there, visitors can quickly pick up on poor designs or lack of creativity, which are major turn-offs for your whole brand.  Again, your top priority in web design is to distinguish your brand from competition. Copying web design defeats this purpose by putting your brand’s story second to pure aesthetics, making your overall website a dull, costly waste.

It’s tempting to think that just having unique web copy and features presented over a generic or copied web design will be enough to support your brand, but this just weakens it. It’s true that your written content and brand promise stand on their own and define your brand. However, the unoriginal web design will ultimately overshadow your story instead of enhancing it. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take inspiration from other sites. If you see features and even language on competitor sites that you like and think reflect certain aspects of your business, it’s okay to draw from these elements. But, you’ll need to make these various ideas and features come together to be your own. Studying different elements from multiple sites can help you create a truly unique web experience for visitors that leaves them with a distinct impression of what you offer. At the forefront though, are the brand qualities and language reflected in your web layout that help create the finished design itself.

Embrace your uniqueness, branding your web design

Like everything else, balance will be the difference between bad, good, and great web designs. The focus of your website is your unique business, your brand, and what you offer the customer. Your web design should do this in a couple of specific ways. Let’s examine how.

1. Tell your unique brand story.

People buy products and services from businesses they trust. If you copy a website, this trust is already suspect because there will be elements that seem to be derived from another site. This makes your site generic, which makes it seem like you don’t care about standing out for your customer or that you’re ingenuine. Before you even begin looking at other sites for inspiration, consider how your messaging would best be presented. What are your brand’s colors? How could web design enrich your logo and help emphasize the words you’re communicating on each page? What shapes and layouts would help communicate the philosophy of your brand? These are all things that will inform the design of your site. Your unique story will help you construct a website that is true to what you offer and visually amazing because it will be unique to you. This is what builds the connection with customers!  

Another crucial element of your site that you can’t do effectively if you copy web design is to maintain brand consistency. Every page should maintain with the image you’re trying to establish for your business. The language and design should be linked on every page which means that even if you just copy a layout or design from another site for just one of your pages, it’ll look out of place. Let your design tell your story throughout the website so your online visitor is constantly connected to your brand.

2. Design makes the site presentable and navigable.

In addition to looking nice and unique, you’ll want to optimize your site to guide prospects effectively. Consider how it would be best to display and highlight key information to help viewers make decisions or gain more resources from your site. Simply put, the navigation of another company’s site won’t work for you because your content and branding are totally different. You need to consider where the design should be more straightforward and subtle while balanced with things like pop screens and similar interfaces. You need to consider what kind of solutions you offer and how you can display them in a manner that guides the customer towards reaching out to you or other sales-related conversions.

3. Speak effectively to your audience.

In addition to your branding, you need to consider whether the design best speaks to your target audience. Just because you like a competitor’s website doesn’t mean your customers will. You need to think about how your company will connect to other individuals and what those individuals are looking for in your industry. Again, look at what competitors are doing with their website to get a feel for some best practices and then just customize your site to develop more streamlined messaging. The design you come up with will be able to form the connection with visitors because it’s addressing the needs of those who you’re trying to market to, not because it’s like another website.

Your own web design = owning your brand

Remember, if your web design doesn’t hook your viewers: no prospects, no sales. Your website isn’t just your way to make your brand stand out, it’s one of your most critical business tools. Investing in developing your web design and online presence ensures you will continue to generate new business and maintain brand loyalty for years to come.

Don’t know how to develop the web design that’s best for you? A professional web designer and content marketing firm like Rystedt Creative will know the contemporary design trends your new site should leverage to stand out. We give you a fresh perspective that’s critical to approaching your brand. Remember, your visitors won’t know anything about your company, so you need to make sure that your intended design and messaging are aligned to hook your target audience. You don’t need to do this alone.

Rystedt Creative’s web design team will work with your company to help you launch a modern site. Your next step is as easy as contacting us. We’ll help you implement a design you’re proud of and that will help your brand reach its potential.