A poorly designed website could be costing you a fortune in lost business.

That’s the view of integrated brand and web design agency Harper James, which says that most people form an impression of a website within a split second of clicking on it.

Billy Evans, managing director of Harper James, said: “Up to 75 per cent of your site traffic will judge a business on its credibility and ability to deliver based on the visual appearance. Put another way, if your website doesn’t look good you could be losing three quarters of any new business.

“A website is your window to the world and if it’s poorly designed we know it does have an impact on conversion rates and repeat customers.”

Evans took over Manchester-based Harper James in 2015 and has previously worked with brands like Neilson, Breville, EasyJet, Brother and Seabrook Crisps.

Harper James’ clients have included UKFast, Red Cow Media; insurance firm Caunce O’Hara; Manchester Camerata and recruitment company MySort.

Evans said some of his clients have enjoyed a 5x increase in traffic after a redesign but stressed the key was working closely with them to fully understand their needs and utilise other channels effectively at the same time.

“At the heart of everything we’re an honest bunch of designers and developers who love creating and building digital experiences,” he told BusinessCloud.

“At Harper James we take the time to understand your business and analyse your existing site first to highlight any current problems to provide a solution that not only looks good but is designed for speed and optimal performance as well.

“Our approach at Harper James is for partnership working so our clients can focus on the things that matter most to them while being safe in the knowledge that our development team is working on their site in the background.”

The 11-strong team is looking to recruit three new staff and has been buoyed by the arrival of Eilidh MacDonald as head of marketing and client services. Previously she worked with the likes of DuPont, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Les Mills and Bausch & Lomb.

Evans said he had five top tips for designing and building a website:

Pick the right agency to work with

“Time and time again we see clients coming to us to fix sites that have been badly built with lots of bugs or even more worryingly don’t work,” he said. “Make sure the agency can prove that they can design and build websites that convert.”

Have a realistic budget

“A good quality website doesn’t have to set you back a lot but make sure the agency and developer you choose can deliver your website within cost,” explained Evans.

Maintain your website

“Websites are like cars, you need to maintain them to ensure they run well,” said Evans. “If you don’t invest in them they breakdown or stop working as efficiently as they used to.” He said regular maintenance of your site is essential for maintaining SEO, speed, performance and uptime.

Driving factors

“How can you measure site performance if you have no traffic being directed to your site?” asked Evans. “Good web design goes hand-in-hand with a good website strategy and an allocated budget for the likes of PPC, social and SEO.”

Partnership approach

Evans said agencies bring added value that not all in-house IT teams can offer. “Working with an agency should be viewed as a partnership and they should come to you with regular updates on site performance and the latest game-changing technology.”