Virtual assistants and online business owners invest thousands of dollars when they want to design their website. Many others spend a small fortune on a redesign in the hope that making it more attractive can increase sales or attract higher-quality clients.

Does design really make that much of a difference? It certainly does.

1. The Wow Factor

On the one hand, businesses look for the “wow factor” that will impress users. But really simple and rather plain sites can work well too if they allow the user to do what they need to at the site quickly and easily.  Remember Flash? It was all the rage for a while, but now consumers just want to get to their desired content as quickly as possible.

If you still want to wow users, choose striking colors and easy-to-read fonts for text, particularly for your headlines. Hint: there is a reason Amazon uses the colors it does rather than its former color schemes and fonts.

2. The Appearance Needs to Match What You Sell

Amazon colors are pretty neutral and could be used for almost any business. This might make it hard to stand out. On the other hand, it’s possible to stand out in a bad way, such as by using a black background with red or white text. Goths might love it, but seniors and those who are visually impaired might struggle to read the words on the page.

Conversely, pink and purple might be good for certain types of business, but would clearly not be in keeping with Coca-Cola’s standard color scheme. If you already have a logo, match the colors on your site to it. If you don’t already have it, choose a color scheme and then hire someone to design one for you. Your colors can convey your brand so don’t overlook this important piece.

Use similar colors for highlight text, and use sparingly. Use similar fonts in your marketing material as you do with your logo. Don’t make it so fancy that you really can’t tell what the logo is supposed to represent.

3. Consistent Site-Wide Navigation for Ease of Use

Google rewards sites that have site-wide navigation that is the same on each page. So while you might be tempted to have a magazine-style blog, for example, using a trendy template from WordPress, it could cost you dearly in terms of Google and visitors. If your customers arrive at a site with thumbnail images all over the place, they might literally not know where to start. If you don’t have a navigation bar, be sure the search box for your site is in plain view.

4. Mobile Friendly

Some sites are still not mobile friendly. They have to look good even on small screens, and there should be clickable buttons rather than links, which can be difficult to click on correctly (especially if there is no space between the links).

5. Housekeeping Pages for Confidence

Google rewards pages that have “housekeeping links,” such as About Us, Contact Us and so on. They lend an air of credibility and confidence that visitors are in the right place and that you are a legitimate business, not a mad spammer.

Design a clean, uncluttered website or blog and see how much your customers keep coming back for more.