You’ve heard that content is the key to your credibility on the web. Another equally important factor can make or break your success: Design. No matter how good your content, if your page is creating sore eyes, your visitors will leave. Your design must engender trust in order for your words to be read and believed. It has to be great. It has to be beautiful. It has to be visually interesting.

The internet is a visual medium and when it comes to what we look at, it’s all about design. Your eyes see the page before your mind engages with paragraphs of content. If you don’t like what you see, you might click off the site before you even get to the content. Remember the days of underlined blue text?

As important as what you write about is how you present it. To get visitors to engage and to trust what they see, the design must instill confidence with just a brief glance. As challenging as that may seem, getting content and design right goes further than visits, follows, likes and comments to establish credibility.

Recently attorney Kevin O’Keefe wrote about the importance of design in building trust and credibility and in motivating readers to return to your site. In his article, Law Blog Design Second Only to Content in Establishing Credibility O’Keefe refers to a recent study which showed that a site’s design is eight times more important than traffic to the site. According to O’Keefe, bad design is a killer.

A lawyer’s greatest assets are trust and credibility. While content is “king” design is the “palace.” Consider both to be the most important factors in establishing a blog, a site, a presence that generates trust. Bad design has the opposite effect.

Content and design are a package deal. It’s why lawyers wear nice suits when we go to court. How things look is the key to your credibility. Make it your best impression.

–Susan Kayler is an attorney, author, web guru and technology fan-girl. You can reach her by clicking here.