Did you know that ugly websites tend to perform better than pretty ones?
I know, it sounds ridiculous. That you can spend thousands of dollars on a beautiful, branded website, yet ugly ones work better. There are entire industries built on making websites look beautiful, but maybe they’re unnecessary.
Of course, there is a special “kind” of ugly.
And “work” means “sales”, so if you’re not selling, then you’d need to run some tests to see if it does actually work better for you.
But here’s the thing: Most people won’t even test it. They’ll run away screaming from the idea that they should have a plain text website, because it’s “not professional” enough.
Simple and ugly websites work better for a very simple reason: When you aren’t distracted by what it looks like, you pay attention to what it does.
It’s the same principle as ‘beauty is on the inside’.
When all you have is the content, the words on the page, you have to make sure that it is content is bang-on. This means: Giving value to your readers, make sure that what you have is relevant, and and fantastic (clear and simple) copywriting.
Crazy Egg (a testing platform) wrote more deeply about why ugly website design often works better. As they point out, there are elements on your pages that might be distracting, or causing users anxiety about what you do or offer.
Great copywriting outperforms design, because the content is the reason for the site. Designs can really only affect your reader’s sense of urgency, feelings of distraction (or not), and feelings of anxiety (or not).
The content, on the other hand?
The content is everything.
Imagine if you had a beautiful website with no copywriting. It would be a stunning piece of work, but a totally empty shell.
Knowing this, wouldn’t you rather put your money where it counts?
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