How Web Design Can Improve Visitor Retention

Web design — by Isla Wright
Web design — by Isla Wright

They say that you can never get a second chance to make a good first impression. By that logic, no one would be more important than your first-time visitors. Nonetheless, there’s a flaw in this way of thinking, seeing as how a website visitor doesn’t have much value unless there’s a chance for them to eventually become paying customers (or at least subscribers). For this, it takes more than a single visit.

In theory, there shouldn’t be much difference between a first and a second-time visitor, however, in reality, this theory is incredibly flawed. You see, an average human has the attention span of a goldfish or shorter, which means that a first-time visitor looks for flashy website elements and attention-grabbing techniques. In other words, first time around, you have only several seconds to persuade them to stay, while the second time around, they have the time to thoroughly inspect your domain and see exactly what you have to offer.

One last thing, unless your website’s design is appealing to first-time visitors, there won’t be a second one, which means that this isn’t really a decision or a choice that you have to make. You do, however, need to choose to focus on visitor retention. Here are several ways in which you can do so with web design.

Customer experience is the key

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that when it comes to customer retention, you need to make sure they feel comfortable the first time around. This can be made through professionalism, responsiveness and an overall clean (minimalist) design. Claiming that your website responds in 0.001 seconds or bragging about your rank isn’t going to fool your audience. In fact, if your website has some trouble loading, they might not even get as far as reading this information.

What you can’t fool is their subjective feeling of your website. Responsiveness that allows seamless transition between pages, navigation that allows them full control of their position on your domain and interfaces that are optimized for mobile (responsive, adaptive or mobile first) are how you do this. Even without rationalizing what they like about your website, your audience will feel comfortable with the notion of coming back. As you can see, there’s a fair amount of psychology entering into this customer retention as well.

Visually pleasing content is more shareable

by Isla Wright
by Isla Wright

One of the best things you can hope for your content, website and brand in general, is for it to become viral. However, in order to get there, it has to become shareable. There are several reasons why people share, most important of which are to stay connected, entertain others and define themselves. Keep this in mind when using your web design, since not a lot of people will want to get associated with information displayed on a website of questionable design.

This is especially true if your website’s layout is sketchy, due to the fact that this flaw in visuals might result in one’s doubt in the validity of the information displayed on your domain. It’s quite obvious that a person willing to share information in order to define themselves might think twice before posting or sharing something they’ve read from this website. If this is the problem that your website’s facing, it’s something you have to know right away and one of the easiest ways to do so is to go through social media monitoring process.

Design affects rank

Sometimes, your website will be exactly what your potential customer has been looking for, however, how easy is it for them to come back? If you’re somewhere on page 4 of Google search, the chances are, they won’t find you to begin with, seeing as how 95 percent of all searches end somewhere on page 1.

Even if they do come looking for you the second time around, what gives you guarantee that they won’t notice something they’ve missed the first time around (on their way to your website)? Sure, bookmarks are quite reliable, yet, some people have dozens, even hundreds of bookmarks, not all of which are organized in bookmark bar folders. This most likely isn’t the case, but are you ready to risk your website’s traffic by hoping that your average visitor is meticulous?

By improving your website’s design, you can make it more user- and crawler-friendly. On-site optimization is much more efficient when done alongside design. As a business practice, it’s the most efficient when established early on and this creates a habit of maintaining it later on. From this, it’s more than clear that improving your website’s rank gives your visitor retention efforts a direct boost.

Building authority

Another thing you can do through web design is establish authority within your niche. Some may assume that this is a goal that’s made tougher with the competition, yet, this isn’t the case. In fact, the more competitors you have, the easier it becomes to stand out. If your audience had no way of comparing your website to something else, how could they tell when you’re performing admirably? Sure, authority should not come primarily from your visuals but from the data/products/services you have to offer.

Nevertheless, in order for one to fully assess your credibility, they would have to fact-check every single thing you’ve displayed on your website and read every single piece of content you’ve published. How many of your visitors do you expect to be that zealous? On the other hand, by making your content interactive, well-formatted or simply well-designed, you’re making it appear more credible. Sometimes, this is all it takes.


An average visitor to your website already has 27 percent chance of returning- Nevertheless, every subsequent visit gives them more and more time to get to know your brand. This means that they may discover some flaws they missed the last time around. Therefore, investing in visitor retention means investing in a quality web design.