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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    does a site makeover to pretty up a site help conversions?
    Just wondering. Do ugly sites sell better or do pretty sites convert better?

    Is it worth the while to revamp an old site just to improve the look of the site with a better looking template? Would that translate to more sales or would the effect be insignificant?

    Wondering if anyone here has tried improving only the appearance of a site and seen / not seen improvements in conversion rate.

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Whether a change would help, would logically depend on what you're starting with. If you have something that works already, changing it won't work the same as if you're dumping some banner farm or the like.

    Personally I find that a site that's too pretty, won't sell. But, there is a point where a site gets so ugly that it scares the traffic away before they can find the Pay Links, too! It also depends on what you're trying to sell. If you're trying to sell something where its main selling point IS its beauty, that's usually different than if you're pushing some utilitarian thing.

    My overall preference as an aff, is for non-pretty sites that aren't scarily ugly either. And, I try to avoid the "personal homepage" look on sales pages.

    Also check out this post:

    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...5&postcount=10

    I just wrote that post about 5 minutes ago, so rather than cross-post it, there's the link.
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Leader is correct. Look at Google, Same ole Same ole. They haven't changed much over the years. I still believe that keeping it clean ,simple and easy for your visitors to navigate. Banners, frames etc slow it down.

  4. #4
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    I don't buy off truly ugly sites. I figure if it looks that bad, they have an unprofessional operation and I'd rather go elsewhere to hand over my dough.

  5. #5
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    True, but google is a bad example. They already have 100% trust.

    A site makeover works when you deliver content in obvious places, and the put buying links where users click on them...
    Kevin Webster
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  6. #6
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    As leader said, god awful ugly, yes. Otherwise your time can probably be spent better elsewhere. I find people who play with site design too much, tend not to spend enough time on actual content/making money (don't shudder leader, by content i just mean whatever is on the pages.)

    Chet

  7. #7
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    If you're a merchant, it's best to have a nice looking, easy and simple to navigate site. I wouldn't give up my CC info to a site that looks like it's been put together by a third grader.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Trust's definitely right when it comes to a merchant site. The standards are different for merchants; they're the ones the customer actually has to trust with their CC numbers.

    I was referring to affiliate sites in my previous posts. Perhaps people think the pitches are more "real" if they don't look like they're actually coming from some corporation.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
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    Ok, is this considered awful enough to need prettying up.

    www.womanht.com

    It is not a banner farm. There's plenty of content but I did it years ago. Wondering whether I should try make it pretty or just leave the look of it but add new stuff. Conversion rate sucks though.

  10. #10
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    I would change the color scheme - a bit hard on the eyes. Especially the orange.

    Centered text in the center area of each page should be aligned left instead for easier reading.

    Disclaimer: Just my opinion for what it's worth.

  11. #11
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    womanht, you could do wonders just by adding some graphical elements, just changing cell colors, a little layout,losing the centering etc. But if it is working so where you are happy, then it is working...

    this is when stats really help. How do people find your site? Where do they land?
    Interior pages? Home page? Are they able to navigate to other pages?

    While this is a major rewrite, it might give you an idea. When I am testing a new site design, I make every page check for a session cookie, if not existing i set it, each entry goes into a table, then the click out is tracked if it is an affiliate link. This allows me to see the traffic patterns that result in possible sales (of course at this point set a sid etc and then you can track which traffic patterns result in a sale.) Sometimes i keep this running, but often turn it off once I see the pattern. I rarely see the patterns change over time.

    That may be too complicated, but using basic stats you can still get a good feel for how your site is being used, is it being uses like you want, is that okay it isn't? What is making you money, what is confusing?

    Hope that helps.

    Chet

  12. #12
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Spot on Chet
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
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  13. #13
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Conversion rate sucks
    There's the important part right there. The Commission Check (and his sister, the Direct Deposit) are the ONLY arbiters of taste that really count. If the conversion sucks, it's a thumbs-down vote to the current setup.

    So, yes, change it.

    is this considered awful enough to need prettying up.
    My eyes also say change it. There's too many font colors overall, plus they semi-clash, and the light pastel logo on top is too hard to read. There's some picture in the upper right that isn't showing, as well. The font-size 1 links under the logo are cluttersome. And it seems as though you're trying to cram every piece of info you've got onto the front page [it's too long]. Customers are probably long gone before they spot any pay links other than that first banner, if they get that far...

    *Checks an arbitrary product page (MAC eye cosmetics)*

    First, the formatting needs help. It looks newbish due to the images being just "whereever," along with there being some missing bullets in bulleted lists. Some CSS or tables can straighten that formatting out.

    Also, one product on a page is usually a good thing. Or at least, less than what's on that page! There's only a slim chance that people will scroll down to see all the items on a long page. Either break it up, or just put the more dudball items down at the bottom.

    For this next part, I'm writing with the assumption that pages like the MAC Cosmetics page were hand-done.

    It needs more lead-in spin (the text that starts the page, before the product). That initial sentence gives only a no-brainer type statement about the products, and nothing about the merchant! Give your readers some more clues. Who's the merchant? What's special about them? (If MAC itself is the merchant, *that* can be spun as if it's some great thing..."buy direct from the manufacturer!") What is it that makes MAC better than just any ol' brand? Etc.

    Hand-done pages are good for the above kind of spin since you don't have to try to make it fit other merchants or products. It can be done with feed sections, but it's also easy to end up with mismatches with feeds if you get the templates mixed up (ending up with pages that say stuff like "they have the proper radiator for your Labrador Retriever no matter what year your Labrador Retriever was manufactured in!")

    For any type of page generation (hand or machine):

    The product descriptions could use help. If all you have is one or 2 sentences, then you're stuck. But if you can add more to the descriptions, it's better. (That said, I often can't think of 2 sentences to say when I've been looking at a list of items to describe. "These lilies are beautiful. They're...uh...er...well they just are. Buy some." LOL Yes, I'm Pot, and I've met Kettle.)
    But the *ideal* is to have about a paragraph per item, if you can come up with one...

    Formatting again: It looks as if you were trying to work those big pix into a standard sentence structure. They should be set off, with a proper description either below, above, or even flowing around them. But not just BANG plunked smack in the middle of a sentence people are trying to read. Use CSS, tables, or just plain old <br>s, but do get the pix out of the middle of the sentences somehow.

  14. #14
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    The only thing I saw wrong was just too much to look at. I think it might be confusing to know where to go first. I think with changing the layout to be more user friendly that should help your conversions.

  15. #15
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    I'd imagine your target market would be women and women like pretty so I would think that making it prettier would increase conversions...I think the word is ambience...

    my 2 cents,
    Oscar
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  16. #16
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    I, too, think there's just too much going on on the page. It's confusing and could detract someone from continuing to try to figue out what you're trying to do for them.

    Give them a reason to continue ... maybe break up the sections into separate pages, like "woman's health" can lead to a sub section that has all the woman's health stuff and same for clothing and any other catagory. Or lead visitors into the setion they're interested in by directing them to a separate page with listings of sub sections. A clear navigation map would work wonders, too. Both on the main page and in the sub section pages.

    I'd jazz the page up. A few pretty graphics and/or pictures can keep the eyes engaged and women DO like to look at cute little graphics or pictures. Even if it's just a picture of something they can buy by clicking into the sub section. Right now, the page is a bunch of links with Goog ads thrown in, which is just a bunch more links. Your only hope, as it is now, is that someone clicks SOMETHING. Clarity will help a lot. Pretend you're making a site for your grandmother ... she has to be able to figure out and SEE where it is she wants to go and WHY. Engage your visitors so they will want to stay and give them a reason to click a link or click nto your sub sections.

    Considering your conversion rate sucks, I'd say go ahead and change things. There's lots of room to make it better.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by womanht
    Just wondering. Do ugly sites sell better or do pretty sites convert better?

    Is it worth the while to revamp an old site just to improve the look of the site with a better looking template? Would that translate to more sales or would the effect be insignificant?

    Wondering if anyone here has tried improving only the appearance of a site and seen / not seen improvements in conversion rate.
    One thing to consider though is if it is getting good free traffic from the SE's now I'd be careful on too big of a change and losing the listings. If that's not the case then;

    When my sites all got dumped by the search engines it gave me a chance to overhaul a lot of them and believe me I'm the King of ugly sites So far the changes haven't helped much with the SE's but I do notice an increase in return visitors and bookmarks which increased on average of around 10%. which is another reason for an overhaul. JMO of course

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I know most of the design issues have been touched upon, but one thing I want to mention is the content placement. It seems like the header is much too tall and it pushes all the content below the fold. Somebody with a low resolution may find your site and leave before they even scroll down to read anything.

    - Scott
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  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager inflatemouse's Avatar
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    I find your the site difficult to navigate around. On your first page I think there is just too much stuff. Taking out the top Google Ad Bar will likely make your site more immediately inviting to visitors, because they can get to the content of your site much quicker.

  20. #20
    Member Jazz Times's Avatar
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    I think the site needs a more modern layout and spiffy graphics. It would seem too dated to me to stick around long.

    Chet, Rexanne, Snib and Carlos all made good points that I agree with.

  21. #21
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    Yes, that site gets ok free search engine traffic but it doesn't convert. I'll probably do the changes slowly, on the pages with less se traffic.

    I'm really bad at making things look pretty. If you think that is bad, you should see my other sites. womanht.com is one of my better looking sites. I'm too ashamed to show you the rest

    I just bought a template and will use that for the look and feel and navigation of my site. I'll simplify the navigation too.

    Thanks everyone!

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