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Is Your Website Ugly Enough?

What gives a website owner fuzzy feelings inside is not the same thing that makes the site sell. In fact, it has been proven and shown over and over again that UGLY, but functional sites outsell fancy looking websites designed to win creative awards. Think about the most popular e-commerce sites online: eBay, Amazon, MySpace and Skype, and you’ll see that they are not big on design. But they are simple, clear and very intuitive for the visitor to use. So skip the Flash introductions (or your visitors will!) and all those slide show graphics because they are just distracting at best to what you want to accomplish. When a prospect comes to your site you don’t want to try and win their attention because you ALREADY have their attention. Instead you want to GIVE them attention by making their task easier. Speaking of tasks, people come to your website with a certain aim in mind. You have to build a site that would facilitate the accomplishment of that aim. So if you are promising a free report then show them CLEARLY how they can get the report in the least steps. One characteristic that mark web surfers is that they are impatient. If you website doesn’t satisfy the advertised need, then your competition is just one click away. No driving required, no walking to the next closest store, but just one mouse click and they are gone! Here are some ways in which you can design a website that’s functional:

1. Make your navigation system as intuitive and consistent throughout the website. Same placement, color scheme etc.

2. Watch the layout of your text to make the information readable. Not too many dense paragraphs and use a lot of white space.

3. Make your headline stand out by using a larger font and attention-getting color.

4. Guide the user step-by-step in accomplishing their task. Number these steps if possible. Do not assume too much. What’s obvious to you the owner of the site may not be obvious to a new visitor. (Much like your home.)

5. Label action buttons appropriate, such as: “Click Here To Buy”, “Click Here To Subscribe!” As a copywriter, I’ve found that ‘marked up’ sales letters –yellow highlighting, underlines, bolding, etc. had a higher response than clean looking copy. And what people SAY is often the opposite of what they DO! (Welcome to the human family.) So in other words, the colleagues who tell you that your website looks “pretty” don’t buy from such sites. “Does this site look good?” is a wasted question. “Would this site sell?”--that is the question. Don’t be flattered by the friends who tell you, “WOW, your site looks good!” Aim for the UGLY site that fattens your bank account.


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