Creatives and creators tend to give undue attention to flashy looking designs.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea to think about design.
Stanford University found that 75% of people base the credibility of a business on how their website looks. Basically, people tend to quickly evaluate a site based on visual design alone.
But even Stanford admits that the design must be suited to intent or appropriate to the purpose.
And further, this is not connected to any hard stats concerning conversion – leads, customers, or otherwise.
If you don’t care that much about connecting with your audience or making an independent income, then maybe obsessing over design is wise.
Otherwise, I would put more time and energy into what works.
I gave this example in an earlier article, but have a look at author Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Marketing Letter from January 2019:
There’s nothing specifically that stands out about the design of the newsletter. The content, on the other hand, is another matter.
But does it work? Yes! It works much better than your average, run-of-the-mill, nicely designed website.
In No B.S. Direct Marketing (affiliate link), Kennedy says your direct mail ads should look like mail-order advertising. And whoa Nelly, there’s almost nothing that catches your eye about mail-order ads! Have a look at this book summary via Dana Hooshmand to see what I’m talking about.
Yet, they are gangbusters effective.
“Yeah, okay, D.A. But you’re talking about newsletters and ads. Websites are different.”
Are you sure you want to play this game?
Have a look at Medium, which is considered by many the best place to blog online. I can’t disagree. Most days, I get 40+ views on my articles, which I can’t say for other web proprieties I own.
Now, we could say that the way stories are laid out look beautiful. I would agree with that. And Medium is more about the stories than anything.
But their homepage loads slowly, is terribly laid out, and it looks ugly besides. It’s like a poor man’s Entrepreneur. No matter – it funnels people into the content, and Medium is all about the content.
Still not convinced?
Design makes no difference if you aren’t clear on what you’re trying to accomplish. Start with your objectives in mind, and then figure out the design that makes it easier for you to reach your goals.
Take more inspiration from things that work. Worry less about beautiful design. Design is but a tool to achieve meaningful results.
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