First impressions persist, and as the saying goes, you only have one opportunity to make one. You go to that job interview wanting to look more than presentable. The idea is that if you take care of your appearance, you respect yourself, you respect the person who’s interviewing you, and you are liable to take care of business with the same kind of care you take with how you look.

All of the same ideas apply to the web design that presents your business. What are you trying to project? Clarity, competence, intelligence, vibrancy, quality, organization, focus, fun? You can do all of these things and more with web design.

One piece of advice often given to people in business is dress not for the job that you have, but for the one you aspire to. The same applies to your commercial website. You may not be the biggest fish in the pond, but if your website is attractive, well laid out, and full of interesting copy, you’re poised to get larger. Web design undergirds the overall look and feel of your site, and encompasses everything from layout to font and images, prompts to action, shortcuts and integration, search, feedback, FAQs, chat, and possibly backside order and billing–all of the components that are essential to your particular business.

You’ve undoubtedly read the studies showing that if someone cold visits your landing page off of a search, the likelihood of their using more than two clicks to determine whether you are what they are looking for is very low. If it’s easy to see what you offer and to determine whether you look like a good bet, they will be willing to dig further or to give a call or chat. Your landing page is like your receptionist at a brick and mortar office. Does your landing page look professional, uncluttered and organized, does it convey competence, friendliness, helpfulness? Can it direct the casual, curious drop-in into a client?

SEO is part of the equation, too, and in fact is deeply connected with the overall informativeness and integration of your website. By linking high-quality, original and occasionally changing copy and other content that is responsive to search queries, both internally and across the web, companies can improve their page rankings. More and more, search algorithms are designed to determine whether or not contents are both responsive to queries (which sometimes involves repetition) and also relatively unique (i.e., is the copy original, or has it been lifted from somewhere else?). A good web design company can help make sure that you are getting eyeballs on your links from search engines, as online advertising and sales platforms continue to garner larger shares of overall markets.

One of the most recent trends is called parallax design, in which copy unrolls on a single page as a visitor finishes reading a certain ‘article’. In essence, the website is suggesting further reading that the user can scroll through, should they find the content compelling, without returning to the landing page or looking at what’s suggested in the sidebar. That keeps the eyeballs ‘in house,’ so to speak, and creates a visually arresting foreground-to-background 3D effect.

Responsive design is also key. How does your website appear across different platforms, whether they be different browsers, or (increasingly) on smart phones? Businesses that have mades sure their sites serve information cleanly across platforms to make the end user experience easy for potential customers are ahead of the game.

What about accessibility for the sight impaired? As the US’s population ages, this is a growing demographic, and it seems likely that accessibility might soon begin to become a regulatory and legal issue.

Poor integration of website elements due to gradual accretion over time is something to watch out for, too. Plug-ins may no longer function well, parts may stop playing well with one another, and the user experience can be crippled if the bits and pieces out of which a website is constructed aren’t well integrated. Think of a website cobbled together piecemeal over time as a bit like Comic Sans font–the less often experienced, the better. When it takes a long time to serve up information, that’s frustrating for the user.

Maybe it’s time your website underwent a general reorganization. Maybe it just needs a bit of refreshing. Maybe it’s time for some new content. Whatever it is, the experts here at SunAnt are here to lend a hand.