Design is the first visual element that new and existing customers notice on your website when they enter your site. As these processes are subconscious—and adding to the challenge, you only have approx 5–7 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention—your design has to be right or your visitor will leave, also known as bounce. Bounce Rate is an online measurement that expresses the percentage of visitors who only see a single page on your website before leaving.
This all starts with hiring the right web designer for your project needs. Most designers simply do not have the innate ability to design good websites, which is why so many websites die a slow death in cyberspace.
Avoid using Flash (a tool for presenting images and text in a graphical format) if it is not required. Flash has no place on an ecommerce website as it’s big, clumsy, loads slowly and can’t be indexed by Google. This in turn means it is bad for SEO. Flash shows off the design skills of the Flash designer but is next to useless when designing a site for profits. There is one exception to this comment: product demo videos produced in Flash can be very useful, but ensure they are compressed using FLV format, so they are quick to load.
Keep the colors clean and pertinent to your positioning and product ranges, and use clean uncluttered text and font styles. Make it easy to read by using lots of background white space, with text headers and items grouped in small boxes or small sizes for quick page scanning. Ultimately, your website has to load Fast, be Functional and be Familiar; this is the 3 F Strategy.