Enhancing Credibility with Web Design + 4 Quick Tips

In a previous post, we talked about some of the ways a well-designed website can drive engagement.  We touched on the importance of first impressions when it comes to your website. After thinking about more about this topic, and to underscore its importance, I thought it deserved its own post.

First impressions are important

As more and more of our interactions move online, your organization’s website becomes a major factor in making that first impression.  Increasingly, websites are the most visible “front door” of an organization and often get much more traffic than their physical location.  For that reason, it is important to make the necessary investments of time and energy into the design and quality of your website. 

The original rule of thumb was that first impressions are formed in about seven seconds.  But attention spans are getting shorter! Research done by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov concluded that initial impressions can be formed in as little as one-tenth of a second.  


And, for better or worse, that first judgment did not change much over time.

Web Design Matters

Web Design statistics cited by content marketer Tyton Media showed that 94% of people gave web design as a reason they’ve mistrusted or rejected a website.  That’s a huge impact!

What’s important to understand is that this goes beyond whether your visitors like your pictures or appreciate your branding style choices.  The opinions people form about your organization go deeper than that. Willis and Todorov’s research found that, along with attractiveness, the quickest judgment being made is one of trustworthiness. 

Blue Corona, a web marketing company that specializes in analytics and optimization, cited that 48% of people said website design is the number one factor they use to determine credibility.  Half the people who visit your website are using its design to determine whether or not you are a credible organization!  

That is especially important for nonprofit organizations because their engagement, support, and impact are centered on trustworthiness.  A survey cited in Philanthropy News Digest reveals that four out of five Americans lack confidence in charities.

Seven seconds or less is not enough time to absorb any of the meaningful things you want to convey about your organization’s mission, impact, or campaign.  Clean, professional, high-quality web design matters because it creates the critical first impression that keeps visitors present long enough to start engaging with content.  Learning about your story. Connecting with your mission.  

4 Tips for Quick Tips

How do you begin to address these challenges?   

Here are four quick and actionable web design tips to help your nonprofit website make that positive first impression.     

Increasing your website loading speed.  Statistics have shown that 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.   

Make it beautiful.  Give them a reason to stay.  Don’t let design get in the way of your content. Instead, use design to enhance the reader’s experience on your website. Make them want to explore and learn more.  According to Blue Corona, 38% of people stop interacting with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.  

Include your organization’s contact information.  This seems simple, but in reality, most organizations forget to make their contact information easy to find on their website.  Plus, without it, you’ll be hurting your visitor engagement. Tyton Media cited this surprising statistic: over 50% of people think that complete contact information is an important piece that many sites are missing.  (and 44% won’t hang around because of it!)  

Make it mobile-friendly.  In case you can’t tell, I love statistics!  And even though you probably don’t need them to drive this point home, it’s a big one.  According to Search Engine Watch, 72% of people want mobile-friendly sites. Mobile users stay more engaged and are more likely to return. 

Ok, some of these statistics aren’t exactly great news.  In fact, their a little jarring. But if you’re in the process of designing or redesigning your nonprofit’s website it’s good information to arm yourself with.   Especially if you’re in the process of designing or redesigning your nonprofit’s website or looking to extend your reach and your impact. 

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