By: Jeremy Mayer Aug 1/2019

In the early 2000s, company websites were like digital brochures, showing off the fact that your business was advanced enough to have a web presence. Functionality was often pushed aside in favour of flashy animations, “eye-popping” designs and a catchy jingle when the user arrived on the website. At the time, the internet was a relatively new way to search for businesses and these features would wow users and generate interest in the brand.

Since then, the internet has become the main place for people to find and interact with brands and businesses. This means that users are less impressed by jazzy graphics and give their business to brands that answer their questions that they have when visiting the site. These are 5 reasons why, especially when developing a website for a small or medium-sized business, you should prioritize functionality:

1. Your competitors are also online

The growth of the internet and the rise of social media has resulted in us being less patient and having a shorter attention span. Even with an eye-catching design, if the user can’t easily find what they were looking for on your website or complete an action such as checking out easily, then they will leave your site.

There are thousands of other sites, including those of your competitors, that have a great user experience and make it easy for users to get what they need. You haven’t just lost one sale or potential lead because of the lack of functionality on your site; your brand’s reputation and future revenue are also at stake when your website is difficult to use.

2. Website usability is a factor in organic search

According to Moz, having a functional website doesn’t just make you stand apart from your competitors; it is one of the most important factors in ranking on Google. Developing a website without a focus on user experience and functionality can seriously impact your ranking in search engines, especially Google. This is essential to keep in mind when creating a new website. Google does not care if your site simply looks good. If you don’t prioritize an SEO-optimized, usable website, you’ll receive less organic traffic which will lead to less revenue generated from the investment in your new website.

3. A functional website means more for your advertising dollars

Digital marketing through platforms such as Google Ads can make a dramatic impact on a brand’s online presence. A website built without a focus on usability is an easy way to let a large amount of ad spend go to waste. Driving traffic to a website through digital marketing can be easy but if your website that lacks functionality, online advertising traffic may end up leaving your site immediately. Your website or landing page needs to be optimized in such a way that users find it easy to complete a purchase or contact your business, or else your Return on Ad Spend will be low.

Building a website that prioritizes functionality can start you off on the right foot with your digital marketing. In fact, the landing page experience is one of the factors in determining Google Ads’ quality scores. A functional website can result in your ad being shown more often.

4. It’s easier to measure success

It can be hard to measure the success and impact of a new website built without a focus on user experience and functionality. When prioritizing these two factors during development, the final goal for the user is easy to identify and measure. For example, a website for a service-based business will likely prioritize calls and form submissions as the end goal. The site should be built in such a way that users can easily see how to call your business and access the contact forms.

This makes the process of optimizing what you are tracking in your analytics tool easier and allows for a simpler analysis of where customers are falling off on the path to becoming a customer. With this data, informed decisions can be made on the success of the new website. For brochure websites made with the focus on “an eye-catching design” there is no real measure of success.

5. Functional websites have a longer lifespan

Flashy, brochure websites are built for the here and now. As I mentioned earlier, back in the early 2000s, flashy animations and sounds were a way of showing off your brand’s online existence. These have long gone out of fashion. Let’s be honest: if you visited a website with a jingle now, you’d probably find it to be pretty tacky.

Design elements quickly go out of fashion as newer and better technology is released. Often an older-looking, yet highly-functional website will outperform a new site that is purely visual. You will get a longer lifespan from a website developed with a focus on functionality. These websites are also easier to scale as you grow your business as the architecture allows for you to easily add new products, service pages or blog posts without affecting usability or a major redesign.

Keep it functional

What I want you to take away from this post is that usability is always important, whether you are creating a brand new website or revamping an existing one. You need to look beyond the visual aesthetic and think about how your new website will help visitors to become customers.

If you want expert help in creating a usable website that also looks great, Snaptech has a team of website developers, designers and user experience experts who can help build your dream website as a functional masterpiece. Don’t just build a digital brochure! Give us a call today at 604-677-5237 to get started.