How website design affects your traffic

There are many factors of a website that affect its performance on search engines. From content and design to search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics, a website’s ranking on Google is dependant on a variety of co-dependent variables.

While SEO may sound like an intimidating topic, it is actually quite intuitive. If you have unique content that is well-written and thoroughly researched, being uploaded on a regular basis, you’re already doing the right thing for your rankings.

However, few website owners pay much attention to the actual design of their sites. The longer you can keep a user on your site, the better it is for your rankings. This hinges on the content they find and how easy it is to use your website.

A poorly designed site will lead to confusion and the user is likely to click off the site within a few seconds. An intuitive and well-designed website will allow the user to stay on the URL for longer as they browse through your pages with ease. Here are a few ways in which web design affects your traffic.

Elements of web design that affect traffic

Your website’s look and feel (the design) will be the first thing that a new visitor notices. Within a second or two, they’ll either like what they see and find what they’re looking for, or they’ll be overwhelmed and confused. They’ll know instantly if they want to stay on the site or leave and find a better one.

The design of a website relies on a few key elements, mainly readability, colour schemes, blank space and usability. First and foremost, your content needs to be readable. You need to choose the right typeface for your purposes; pick one that is easy to read and make it a colour that stands out on the background (ideally, dark blue or dark grey if your background is a pale colour).

Secondly, your website’s colour scheme actually has an effect on your visitors’ moods. You need to choose a colour scheme, ideally two or three colours, that complement one another and accentuates the emotions behind your business or brand. This is not something that should be overlooked.

Well-designed websites make good use of blank space. Minimalism is a trend at the moment and less is more when it comes to design. Keep your website clean and orderly by making use of white space. This will emphasize the important elements on a page, especially visuals and written text.

Lastly, a good website is a user-friendly website. Make sure your navigation is simple, intuitive and responsive. Avoid using annoying popups, but if you must, then take a look at these mistakes and make sure you don’t repeat them. Popups shouldn’t appear as soon as someone clicks on a page. Give them some time to settle in and assimilate before being distracted by a new window. Here are some more ways to make your site more user-friendly through design.

Design tips to make your site more user-friendly

Your visitors shouldn’t need to think too hard about moving around your site. It should come naturally to them and luckily, there are a few things you can do to help them navigate between pages of your site.

Firstly, make use of sticky menu bars and buttons. This is when they remain in the same place on the screen, even when a user scrolls down the page. The menu bar and essential buttons are the first port of call for users looking to click on to a new page of your website, so keep them on screen and in sight, no matter what.

Next, you should be making extensive use of internal linking and anchor text. One of the easiest ways for you to direct a user to a particular page it to include a link on the current page they’re viewing. This is best done through internal linking strategies and anchor text.

Search engines see links as a sign that the information on that page is useful. The more links pointing to a page, the more important the content must be. However, Google also knows when links become spam, so use them only where appropriate and don’t overdo the linking.

Your website should also be mobile-friendly. For the first time ever, more than half of all internet searches were conducted on a smartphone in 2018. That means that more people are using their phones to find your website. If your pages are not optimised for mobile and if they don’t display correctly on a vertical phone screen, you could lose a lot of traffic.

Design plays a critical role in the performance of a site. It can make or break the flow of traffic from one page to another on1 the website. It directly affects search engine rankings so don’t forget to pay attention to the colours, navigation, fonts and use of space when setting up a website. The design is just as important as the SEO and content.


Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.


Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.


Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.


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