When the majority of people first come on the internet business scene, one of their first tasks is to make a nice 2.0 looking website no matter what niche or demographic they are selling towards. A LOT of time and money is spent on designing “pretty” looking websites, landing pages and creatives. But for what reason? Why is there always an assumption that the prettier the design the better it will sell?
Ugly designs sell. Really well.
Yes ugly is a subjective term, so let me give you some examples of my definition.
RyanAir.com – Most popular European airline
Craigslist.com – Number one online classifieds directory.
PlentyOfFish.com - Number one free dating site. (I’m sorry Markus)
DrugeReport.com – Popular news site (Alexa 791)
Do you think these websites would of been as successful if a pretty design was on top of their lists?
As affiliate marketers we are surrounded by people who use the internet everyday and are confident with buying and selling things. However a lot of us forget what it’s like for people who don’t use the as internet frequently as we do. A large amount of internet users are still afraid of the whole idea internet idea.
This is exactly why ugly websites work.
People trust things more when they look like they were done for the love of it rather than the focusing on sheer profits.
Ugly designs also allow a more personal interaction. It gives the feeling your dealing with a family run business or an individual, instead of a corporation. They are all very simple yet still functional.
Taking note of all of this ugliness should not be a rule that applies to all websites. The sites do well focus on the product, or action they want a user to take first and leave design as an afterthought.
“Ok Mr Green we are technically the smartest bunch of readers on the interweb, we know this already. But how can we put these ideas into use with affiliate marketing.“
Ok well lets start at banner design. Pick which banner you think has the best design.
Most of you will chose banner 1. It’s aesthetically pleasing, good composition, an all round clean design. But think about the reason for having a banner? We shouldn’t give a flying shizen whether the design is “pretty”. For affiliate marketers its for clicks to our landing pages. CTR is the name of the game.
Banner 1: 11,388 impressions, 79 clicks, 0.07% CTR
Banner 2: 13,437 impressions, 147 clicks, 0.11% CTR
Banner 2 out preformed banner 1 by a decent amount. Even though banner 2 was the ugliest design it was the best design in terms of performance. Why did it out preform? Banner 1 is typical. People are more inclined to be banner blind towards designs that are expected. Banner 2, has terrible composition. The title is cluttered, and the main text is skewed to the right. It is unexpected.
“Ugly” banner designs also look less “ad” like and more like a classified. Whats the difference? Ads are mainly run by companies, classifieds are run by individuals. It’s more personal.
Plenty Of Fish are great at this too:
Affiliate Landing Pages:
E-books were around before dinosaurs. On ClickBank.com alone, e-books have generated $1.5 Billion. Here are 3 of the top 5 earners on ClickBank:
TheDietSolution: This lander is based around watching the entire video in order to get sold. You can’t scroll down to find out anymore information. There is a little hidden link to buy now. The website looks extremely default, certainly no Picasso here.
TruthAboutAbs – This lander has been running absolutely everywhere for over a year. It looks like a typical Dreamweaver template with an odd uninspiring banner.
RapidMassTraffic - More of the same here. Ugly as it gets. They love the use of red to black gradients as well as the glorious yellow outer glow effect.
The three landing pages above are responsible for multi-million dollars worth of revenue. However none of them would pass in a freshman year web design class. I’m not saying the ugly designs are responsible for their businesses success, but it’s interesting how successful you can be with ugly designs.
Keep that in mind when you testing new landing pages. Try both ugly and pretty designs and see what sticks.
What is the design quality of your landing pages like? Do you go for ugly or pretty?
P.S. Look how disgusting POF was back in 2003. ( Sorry again Markus)