Start Your Project

Good looks don’t bring in sales

Your website is a business tool and making it more visually pleasing won’t always help reach your goals.

Pretty doesn’t count. There are plenty of designers out there capable of providing a brilliant design for your website. It will be beautiful and probably very functional as well. However, form and function don’t always solve underlying problems and meet the clients ultimate goals. In fact, just having a website is not enough to get people to visit it.

The goal for your website or design project probably isn’t to have a beautiful design (even though you might think that at first). It is really to bring in more sales, increase traffic, convert more leads, etc. Your website is a business tool and making it more visually pleasing won’t always help reach your goals.

If you look at some of the most successful websites out there today, not all of them are pretty, but somehow still turn a huge profit. Craigslist, Reddit, and even eBay (until a recent redesign) are almost exclusively focused on function and not aesthetic.

If you ask any designer worth hiring, they will tell you Craigslist is downright ugly. Yet, it generates over 85 million dollars annually. The reason is because Craigslist knows that its visitors come to the site for one reason: to quickly find good local bargains on used items.

While the website may be “ugly”, it has done away with virtually every visual distraction. This leaves only one thing to focus on: the content, which constantly drives visitors toward a list of items they can browse. This is the root of Craigslist’s success and an appropriate design update would likely generate even more revenue.

Good looks alone won’t bring in sales, but make no mistake, a good looking website has value. It instills a sense of trust in your visitors and makes your business look professional. Craigslist’s stark, un-styled web presence likely turns many people away because it feels unsafe at first glance. Your website’s job is to present your business as trustworthy to your visitors and introduce them to points of interest. It directs them to where they want to go and to where you want them to go as well.

Clients/Business Owners: Hire someone who understands your website’s job. This will help produce a result that is not only beautiful and functional, but that works towards meeting your business goals too.

Designers/Developers: When designing a website or application, be sure to focus on more than just the design and code. You must also focus on creating something that will proactively works to meet your client’s goals such as generating more revenue or converting more leads.

About Matt Olpinski
Matt is the President of Matthew’s Design Co. and teachers thousands of freelancers how to succeed through his personal blog and newsletter.