The visual design of your website plays a critical role in engaging users. Visuals refers to the images, graphics, colours and fonts you use. It’s one pillar in the Formula for Effective Online Presence for Charities, and can make the difference between a potential contributor donating or not. Here’s three reasons why:
 

1. Visuals Set Your Brand Image

 
These days, potential donors are demanding more accountability from the dollars they give. Good visuals help impart a sense of professionalism and legitimacy that may aid their decision to choose your charity. In fact, a study from a Standford study on Web Credibility found that 46.1% of users assess credibility of a website based on visual design. It makes common sense that a donor would feel more at ease giving to a charity with more credibility.
 

2. Grabs User Attention

 
Web surfers have notoriously short attention spans. For example, when it comes to loading time for pages, a 2010 Gomez study found that 32% of visitors will leave slow sites between 1 to 5 seconds. That’s why it’s so important to grab your visitors attention within that small window. A visually attractive site will help you achieve this, whereas an unattractive site may go unnoticed regardless of the quality of your content. Of course, if people don’t engage with your website, you won’t be able to ask for donations.
 

3. Enhances Time on Site

 
Visual elements can also engage users in your content. YouTube videos, infographics, and images are some examples of elements that achieve this. SEOmoz, an expert on Internet Marketing, looked at how aesthetics impacted time on site. Upon adding more related images and photos, their results showed increases in time on site between 10%-150%. The longer you can keep a user on your site, the more time you have to get them on board with your charity’s mission and donate. However, ensure that the elements you use relate to your content or message, or it actually can have negative impact.
 
Visuals go a long way in improving your charity’s online presence and can even enhance your fundraising. If you don’t have the in-house expertise or the budget to invest in your visuals, I recommend building your site on WordPress, which has tons of free website themes for you to use. If you have the budget and are looking to upgrade your website, you should read this article on how to Get the Best Website for your Budget.

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