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  1. #1
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    In your opinion does the quality of design affect the overall perception of a site and/or does good design help sales and bad design hurt sales?

    I see a lot of sites on the Internet that are built to sell products or merchandise, but look as if they were designed by Helen Keller.

    Being a webdesigner by trade, I personally get a very negative opinion of a website when the design is amateurish. As a result I would not shop from said site.

    What has been your experience in this area?

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager frankodelic's Avatar
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    IMHO I believe the quality of design is crucial. Combine a quality site with a strong emphisis on the marketing strategies that drive the sale and you're golden.

    Bottom line... dotting those i's and crossing those t's makes the sale. Oh, and I've found that if you have a perfectionistic, anal retentive personality, like yours truely, it's make accomplishing this goal a bit easier.

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I have noticed that over the last year or two, viewers' taste has improved and sites don't seem to need as much beating with the Ugly Stick as they did when I started. So what I'm about to say is different from what I would have said, oh, 4 years ago.

    The site shouldn't be so ugly that it'd scare a NORMAL viewer (Notice! Web design types ARE NOT "normal" viewers!) away. But it shouldn't be overly beautiful either.

    In my experience, if it would win a "web design" award, it won't sell beans. That's because designers do user-UNfriendly things like hiding the links by removing the underlines (or worse, that AND making them the same font and color as unlinked text so truly only a psychic can find them), or they hide the links by sticking them into dropdowns.

    Designers also screw up sales sites by putting so many pretty pictures in them that the viewer is to busy looking at the photo gallery to get down to business. You want the PRODUCTS to wow the viewers, not the site design.

    And, they screw up sites by having it take WAY too many clicks to get to anything. Too-finely sliced categorization is a hallmark of a Web Designer's influence.

    I firmly believe that Beauty is in the Eye of the Commission Check. And the Commission Check likes sites that are:

    Easy to navigate. Links are un-neutered--they have their default blue (or, at least, a color that contrasts with the rest of the text) and underlines, so it does not take another webmaster to have a clue as to where a link should be!!!

    Categorization, if any, is done in such a way that the Final Destination Page is no more than TWO clicks away from whereever the user comes in. One click is even better but that gets hard to manage on a big site.

    Colors are bright. I'll clarify that! Bright like a well-lit store, NOT bright as in psychadelic!! The site's "lighting" should not look closed. Try to avoid having it look like a store does when they've closed while you're still shopping!

    Viewer taste in fonts has improved greatly. Default Font, once the undisputed King of my sites and sales, no longer outsells "nicer" fonts like Verdana. Now, a nice font--preferably sans-serif--is better for sales.

    Layout should be neat and make sense, but NOT go obsessionally overboard on the neatness part by hiding link lists in dropdowns or behind buttons. Hiding your links that way is like putting brick-n-mortar stock on the shelves in plain cardboard boxes!

    Sites should avoid showing too many descriptionless pix, especially if the products look very similar to each other. Let people know what the differences are! Use text along with the pictures.

    Avoid gibberish descriptions (like, "192358 - 1 Piece - 20oz - Made in China") that tell the user nothing important. The customer wants to feel like they're in a real store--not the backroom of a distribution center!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    What Frank said - except - one of my pet bugbears is sites designed by "website designers" who have clearly receieved a fee for building the site and so only care about appearance - load-time, SE optimization and functionality having gone out of the window.

    These are vital, if they're wrong the design is irrelevant as not enough people ever get far enough for it to matter.

    <span class="ev_code_RED">I don't like popcorn, it's like eating expanded polystyrene.</span>

    anal retentive personality - thanks for the reminder, it's the 4th tomorrow - potty time.

  5. #5
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    Good feedback...but in this webdesigner's defense I must say that to me, effective navigation is the key to nice design...not pretty pictures, etc.

    Use my pet project as an example and tell me, in your opinion, is this effective design or design overkill? (before I am accused of looking for a site review, I must tell you that this site is 2 years old and I am NOT interested in redesigning it at this point).

    http://www.amman.com/

    To me, usability is key.

  6. #6
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    How would you like 36,682,486 visits in 24 HOURS?

    Drudge Report
    No color
    Pictures plastered here and there
    Three Column Table

    ...Case Closed
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  7. #7
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    I saw that on his site...those are amazing numbers. I must have accounted for a few hundred of those, as many times as I visited yesterday.

    The most visits I ever had in 24 hours was 50,000 for my VSPN parody of ESPN.com a few years back.

  8. #8
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Abu Gabby:
    Use my pet project as an example and tell me, in your opinion, is this effective design or design overkill?

    http://www.amman.com/

    To me, usability is key. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Great Site! It is visually appealing and works well. Colors are good. The pictures make me want to explore more - I like it!

    Loved the article on Petra. I would love to go there someday!

    Have your site bookmarked - very nice.

    Ebudae


  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Good feedback...but in this webdesigner's defense I must say that to me, effective navigation is the key to nice design...not pretty pictures, etc. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    As you have shown, no reason why you can't have both! A site doesn't have to be ugly to be functional.

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>in this webdesigner's defense I must say that to me, effective navigation is the key to nice design...not pretty pictures, etc.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    *Falls off chair*

    You must be the first webdesigner I know, to show a lick of sense. Sooo many think "design" = museum-quality visuals, without regard to usability...

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Use my pet project as an example and tell me, in your opinion, is this effective design or design overkill? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    THAT depends. Does the Commission Check like it? What's the Conversion Ratio--and what percentage of visitors actually click through to the merchant?

    THERE is the only verdict that counts. Asthetically, it's beautiful. The navigation is wonderful, too. And--it does have great pix. But if the people don't buy like they could be, then sorry--it is overkill, at least for a sales site.

    As for the *looks* of your site--VERY, very nice! The c*ntent sites I have "wish" I'd do something like that...


    But it's too low-key on the sales division IMO. I like to be more "in your face" on my sales sites. If people think I'm just trying to be helpful on one of my SALES sites, I'm not selling the item(s) hard enough

    Overall, it's the type of design I'd love to use on c*ntent sites, but wouldn't dream of using on sales sites, at least not for most categories. I wouldn't want my viewers to be so wowed that they wanted to stay on my site instead of clicking over to the merchant site!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  11. #11
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Abu,

    Only read your first post and Leaders last one so forgive me if I missed or over quoted.

    First let's define somethings:
    <UL TYPE=SQUARE>
    <LI>Web designer = someone who makes a sales site that keeps the buyer there to go through the cart.
    <LI>Good web designer = makes the user also bookmark
    <LI>Great web designer = has bookmark link on all pages because end user is in buying mode and needs to be reminded to bookmark.[/list]

    If it's on the net and not earning, I don't give a bloody damn how pretty it is ... it's loosing money and should be culled.

    If it's on the net and doesn't let me buy in less than 3minutes F'it - I don't care what it looks like ... it's obtuse.

    Useability with a cart is king pretty is superfulous to useability.

    [looked at the amman site and saw the background was off quite a few pixels to the template] - that would kill a 'web designer' but NOT a web sales site.

    Sorry if I didn't answer your Q.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  12. #12
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>In your opinion does the quality of design affect the overall perception of a site and/or does good design help sales and bad design hurt sales? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    aaaaccchhhhuuuu. Yes it matters. Matters even more on the site where the customer is actually taking out their credit card. I consider usability part of web design along with a lot of other things. JMO of course.

  13. #13
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    I agree on the low-key sales but it has great potential!!

    For instance - every page should have some books from Amazon to go with the subject!!! Sites like this are great for books sales.

    Also - what about some travel related items? Things a visitor would need in their travel - camera, electric adaptors, travel guides, etc..

    Posters - find some great art to go with the subject.

    Music - any good Cd's of related music?

    Again - cook books for native dishes along with an article.

    Plus, you have to think of the kind of PR a site like this can transfer to other sites. And, spin off sales sites that deal with similar interests.

    This works - or at least works very well for me.
    Ebudae


  14. #14
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AFP aka Ms. B:
    aaaaccchhhhuuuu. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    God Bless you, need a hankie? ROTFLOL
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  15. #15
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    <sniffle> Puff with aloe vera plz.

    Seriously, it can increase sales.

  16. #16
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Ok I will let my little secret out of the bag. Build ugly sites and force the users to get off the site by clicking adsense....
    MSB God Bless
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  17. #17
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> First let's define somethings:

    [Haiko's opinions on web designs]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Uh-oh!! I'd better clarify!!! When *I* talk about a "web designer," I MEAN:

    DEFINITION:

    Web Designer = Someone who cares more about winning web design awards, or with aesthetic beauty, than whether a site can sell anything or make sales!

    In other words, a person who typically makes a beautiful site--that couldn't sell a heater in Alaska.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  18. #18
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Leader,

    my definitions weren't aimed at your response ... just to show what I've learned as real in 'AM' terms to answer the Q.

    Abu is a great web desiner in your and the traditional definition - you should see some of the other stuff Abu has made :faint:
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  19. #19
    Sgt. Joe Friday frank3iii's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Abu Gabby:
    I see a lot of sites on the Internet that are built to sell products or merchandise, but look as if they were designed by Helen Keller.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You have been peeking over my shoulder.

    There may be a slightly different take on specific niche sites. A site selling one and only one product.

    My experience is limited, but my ugly sites do work. The shopper is looking for my one product. The title and description lure them to click in from the SE. If I have done my sales pitch right, they click the 'buy now' button.

    No navigation required. The only image is of the product.

    Perhaps some of the shoppers do throw up in their socks just before hitting the back button. Hard for me to tell.

    My stats for the month (on my best seller) show that 35% of the visitors spend from 30 seconds to 5 minutes on the site. If they hated it they wouldn't stay for 30 seconds to back out.

    I'd love to learn better, or at least some, design skills. Right now it's cash flow that is king.

    I salute all of you with the abilities to make great sites.

    Frank
    "Just the facts, Ma'am." Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet

  20. #20
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    I think Leader's post was spot on.

    Affiliate sites should be simple and easy to use. A typical affiliate page should really have the basic information, some pre-sell of the product and easy-to-use links through to related products to help the visitor find what they want. It shouldn't be ugly, but a nice clean layout with a good logo is usually ideal.

    Merchant sites are a little different, and I think more "designed" sites can help with conversion as long as it's not over-done.

    Probably the best reference for site design is Amazon - although there's a *lot* going on on those pages, most of the "above the fold" page is given to product information. Site navigation is always consistent and clear. The "Add to Shopping Basket" control is prominent, and the ancillary information is all there but lower down so you can read on if interested. The only thing I don't like about Amazon is the links for browsing similar categories which are stuck right at the bottom...

    ..overall, there's more going on with an Amazon page than an affiliate site, but you can see they've made an effort not to over-design it and keep it as simple as possible.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  21. #21
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    On your main, big, real sites, quality is important for many reasons - one being the PRIDE value - you can tell people "I did that"!

    But I have sites, and I have sub-affiliates with sites - that look like they were done by a 4-year old.

    BUT... they consistently earn money! And that's why we do this!

    They pull in TARGETED customers from search engines and from TARGETED recip links, and then immediatley send the customer off to the TARGETED merchant.

    One of these sites (for the first 2 days of November) is making more sales then my MAIN site!!!

  22. #22
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>On your main, big, real sites, quality is important for many reasons - one being the PRIDE value - you can tell people "I did that"! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    So true!

    Actually, there's another point with design. I guess there are two types of affiliate site, one of which is just a "click through" site where it's basically just important to get the visitor to click on the link, and the other one is a "branded" site where you aim to make it "sticky" and get repeat visitors.
    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Jane's Avatar
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    Good design takes time. I have to admit that I would be ashamed to show my web design customers most of my affiliate sites. They certainly aren't my best work, but they aren't so bad you would scream and hit the back button to escape.

  24. #24
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    Thanks for all nice comments and the constructive feedback.

    I never really approached the Amman.com site as a sales tool...I lived there and my first child was born there and I basically maintain the site as a hobby. I never thought of it as a means to make money until very recently.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador darkstar7's Avatar
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    If there is one thing I've learned is that it depends on the product being sold. For content sites its almost anything goes. For Commercial sites, I recommend a lot of what Leader says. Keep it simple, bright and easy to navigate.

    Too many trick designs will comfused the average guy in the street. They want to find it easy. Easy is the key word. One way to bring repeat visitors is to entertain them with fun information or cool products.

    A good design will bring trust and comfort for both the merchant and the customer. Equals repeat $$$$
    Luke
    Have you promoted your brand name today?

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