Over the past year or two, the Internet marketing community seems to has fallen in…
Why Your Design Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think it DoesAs bloggers we naturally want beautiful, jaw-dropping websites that we are proud to show off. As a result, we are constantly tweaking the design of our web page because we are not happy with the way it looks.
But, have you ever just taken a minute to think about whether your design changes are really making a difference? Because chances are, your design changes may not be helping at all. They might actually be hurting your website…
Pretty or Functional Website?
While designing a website, you have the choice of focusing on either creating an amazing design or creating a design that converts like crazy. To be clear, this is not exactly a one or the other situation, but there likely will be times that you have to make a decision between the two.
For example, have you ever seen the Social Triggers website? Have you noticed how simplistic it is? It has a basic greyscale color scheme, a super simple text logo, and a simple white background.
But this site converts like crazy! Derek Halpern was able to break the 100,000 hits barrier as well as 17,000 subscribers for his blog in just 11 months.
Do you know why Social Triggers converts so well?
Because, since the beginning, Derek’s main focus on Social Triggers has been creating a functional website that both converts and has kick-ass content.
On the other hand, there are websites like Matt Mullenweg’s that focus on the design aspect first. But, let’s be honest… Matt doesn’t have to worry about conversions on his personal blog, he has WordPress!
Art of Blog Case Study
To give you an example of why your design does not matter as much as you think it does, let me give you a case study of how Art of Blog’s new redesign has increased our daily sitewide traffic about 15-20% and also increased traffic to one of our main affiliate pages by 37%!
First, let’s take a look at the old Art of Blog design.
Notice how this website has plenty of color, a light background image, and not a lot of white space. Now, let’s compare that with the new Art of Blog design launched on January 21st, 2013.
Notice how this design uses much less coloring and no background pattern. Also, notice how our optin box is at the top of the home page above the fold. Also, notice our social proof banner with the media logos in it.
This new redesign has helped us increase our traffic between 15-20% in just a few days and has also significantly impacted shares, subscribers, comments, etc. The focus on usability and conversion, as opposed to focusing on design, is the reason we have had these results.
You can choose to have both an awesome looking and high converting website, but be prepared that if you want to run a successful blog… You may need to focus more on conversion.
At Art of Blog, we believe that we were able to draw much more traffic because we focused on:
- Page Speed – It’s no secret that page speed is a metric that metric that Google uses to determine your rankings. When you lower the time it takes for your website to load, you are also indirectly increasing your search rankings.
- Social Proof – We made it a point to include a banner with the major media networks that our authors have been featured in. Because of this we have noticed that our email signups have been increasing.
- Minimalism – Our last design was built using the Chronicl skin for Thesis. While we loved the design, we felt like we could get better conversions by using a minimal design. So we built our own design from the ground up that featured our email signup forms and our best content. Because of this, one of our top performing pages is now seeing over a 50% click-through rate to affiliate offers. Not too shabby, eh?
In the end, blogging for profit is a business, and getting a subscriber or a sale is much more important than someone complimenting on the look of your website.
What Do You Think?
How do you approach the debate between a pretty and functional site? Do you split test to increase your conversions?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts!