TLDR – Sometimes, ugly works better for website sales. Here’s a quick way to determine if “ugly” websites could work for you.
When selecting a website design, it’s tempting to go with something flashy. (I recently had a website user complain about one of my sites saying it needed more “whizz-bang” features.) But the truth is “ugly” website designs often convert better. This allows you to turn more of your visitors into customers… IF you have the right audience.
The question then becomes, “When should your website be ugly, and when should you use a slick design?” The answer depends on who you are targeting.
- Are you targeting people who spend a lot of time online, are comfortable using the internet, and who frequently buy on the internet? (Think millennial audiences.) If this is your audience, including subtle animations, galleries, and other modern design features that improve your website experience could be fine.
- Are you targeting non-digital natives? (These are people who didn’t grow up with the internet, may be a little untrusting of e-commerce, and would get very distracted with “exciting” web design elements.) If your audience is even partially comprised of non-digital natives, ugly site design generally improves conversions.
Why Ugly Design Works
There’s a few good reasons why ugly site design resonates with non-digital natives.
The Design Steps Out of The Way
Good user experience design doesn’t draw attention to itself. Instead, it steps aside and keeps the user’s focus on the message of the website.
With ugly websites, users don’t get distracted by the design. This makes it practically transparent, completely out of the way of the message. You can probably see why this helps boost conversions! The audience is 100% focused on what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, enabling you to control the conversation and make the sale.
Ugly Adds Authenticity
One of the weirdest things subconsciously communicated through ugly design is that the site owner is authentic. “This person must really so passionate about their message, they don’t even care about how their website looks,” users think. “They only care about what they’re saying, so it must be really important.”
Note again that some audiences, especially very young audiences, don’t respond to “ugly” site design as well as audiences over 35. Choose your website design carefully, and even consider testing different designs (if you have the resources).
If you’d like an introduction to testing your website to boost the sales or conversions you can make through your site, subscribe to next month’s issue of the TLDR Marketing Report. We’re including an introduction to website testing – something nearly ALL small business owners fail to do – and giving you 2 “crazy” tests you can run today that might give you more sales.
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