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Does style even matter?
Uglier the better?
Brett_Tabke




msg:1463020
 11:08 am on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Put put up AdSense on a new site. Tweaked it to "ok".

A week later I went to make a change and copied the wrong code out of the adsense generator. It was for a leader board format instead of the perty stock format. So the whole site looked a mess with a big ol banner in the middle of every page - some times covering content itself.

I didn't/couldn't check the results and didn't know what had happened until a user wrote me a week later.

Interesting though, that the click through rate doubled overnight. It stayed doubled too... hmmmmm maybe this is what they were talking about putting ads in the middle of the content? Man that is annoying.

 

brandboerge




msg:1463050
 7:43 pm on Aug 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEO expert Shari Thurow says:

"I've seen plenty of ugly (in my opinion) sites generate millions of dollars in sales because the text, layout, color scheme, and information architecture are exactly what the target audience wants to see. I've also seen hot, Flash-based sites generate little or no sales."

[clickz.com...]

dsandall




msg:1463051
 6:52 pm on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

An ugly site can be more trustworthy - "this is made by a person, not a professional company that doesn't do anything without the purpose of taking my money"...

So, ads on ugly pages can similarly be more trustworthy to some users, that think of them aas recommandations from a "little guy".

Also, sites that look "too good" sometimes compromise in respect to usability (pageload, simplicity, navigation, not enough text etc.) - making them "less sticky" than an ugly site.


I disagree with ugly = trustworthy. In fact, so does the research. Dr. Fogg – the author of Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do – reports that "the design look of Web sites was clearly the most prominent issue when people evaluated Web site credibility in this study. Almost 50% of comments about Web credibility contained something about the look of the site, either generally (e.g., ‘looks professional’) or specifically (the layout, the colours, etc.).

You can view his research at [credibility.stanford.edu...]

Now, the research mentioned here doesn't tie in adwords, but does cover the ugly = trustworthy concept off.

Dwayne

Small Website Guy




msg:1463052
 5:17 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

dsandall and brandboerge are both correct.

brandboerge was saying that an ugly site will convince people that it was created by a person, not a big company. This is true.

Will people BUY anything from a little guy? No, people prefer to buy from a big company, not a little guy. Why do you think Walmart is putting all the little stores out of business?

If you want people to buy something directly from your website, it has to look "professional." What looks professional is what people are used to seeing at big websites. What looked professional in 1997 might look amateurish today.

The advantage of the internet is that one person sitting in his bedroom on a Saturday (that's me) can make a website that looks just as respectable as a multi-billion dollar corporation.

brandboerge also said a while back that flash and slow loading pages can turn of people because the website is too much of a pain to navigate. That's true. Keep it simple, but professional. The current state of the web is that a site with NO graphics at all looks unprofessional. You have to at least have a logo at the top of the page.

europeforvisitors




msg:1463053
 5:47 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Will people BUY anything from a little guy? No, people prefer to buy from a big company, not a little guy. Why do you think Walmart is putting all the little stores out of business?

That might be a reasonable observation in an e-commerce forum, or even in WW's Web-design forum, but AdSense isn't about selling things--it's about running ads for other businesses that sell things.

I'm not sure that the statement is true in any case, because in some businesses, personal service is more important than size. In the travel-agency business, for example, users may like dealing with Expedia and Travelocity for air fares and mainstream vacation packages, but most will prefer dealing with specialist agencies or organizers for things like barge cruises and bike tours. In those specialized categories, bigness may actually work against a vendor. The same thing is true for many tangible products, such as grooming supplies for Bearded Collies or electronics equipment for radio amateurs.

As for why Walmart is putting little stores out of business, that's a topic for an economics forum, not a PPC advertising forum at Webmaster World. :-)

Powdork




msg:1463054
 8:21 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hate to tell you this EFV, but your website looks professional.;)

europeforvisitors




msg:1463055
 8:29 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hate to tell you this EFV, but your website looks professional.;)

Thanks, but I wouldn't say it looks pretty. :-)

gopi




msg:1463056
 9:06 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> That might be a reasonable observation in an e-commerce forum, or even in WW's Web-design forum, but AdSense isn't about selling things--it's about running ads for other businesses that sell things

I think for the first time i agree with EFV :) ,ugly is the way to go for a adsense or an affiliate site where the customer click a link to go to final ecom destination!

Small Website Guy




msg:1463057
 11:24 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with the people who responded to my last post. I was thinking of adding another post right after I wrote it in fact.

If you want people just to click on the affiliate link or the Adsense ad, then it doesn't matter how trustworthy your site looks.

In fact, maybe the best Adsense page would just be a blank page with nothing but the Adsense ads on it. The user would have nothing to do except click on the Back button, or click one of the ads.

Of course, getting people to visit the page would be difficult. And the Adsense would just show PSAs without any other text on the page. I was just writing from a theoretical viewpoint.

j4mes




msg:1463058
 5:49 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why do you think Walmart is putting all the little stores out of business?

Major retailers put smaller stores out of business by selling KVIs (Known Value Items) at no profit, and sometimes even at a loss, in order to convince consumers that they are better value all round, which is often untrue. Once the small businesses are gone, Walmart et al are free to charge what they like.

[corporatewatch.org.uk...]

The advantage of the internet is that one person sitting in his bedroom on a Saturday (that's me) can make a website that looks just as respectable as a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Which is what makes Internet retail such a wonderful thing!

(that's me)

Lol! Me too :)

[Edit]
>> As for why Walmart is putting little stores out of business, that's a topic for an economics forum, not a PPC advertising forum at Webmaster World. :-)
Sorry, little off topic!
[/Edit]

Small Website Guy




msg:1463059
 10:58 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

As for why Walmart is putting little stores out of business, that's a topic for an economics forum, not a PPC advertising forum at Webmaster World.

I think the issue of what makes people want to buy from one source and not another is very relevant to Webmaster World in general. A lot of the webmasters are selling products or services.

On the other hand, maybe it belongs under a different forum, since Adsense is not about selling stuff directly, but just getting people to click on the links.

But it was an interesting discussion comparing the philsophies of the two types of sites--Adsenses sites vs. sites directly selling something.

oldskool79




msg:1463060
 11:32 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

People want to buy from someone they trust. For most products, people have more trust in larger, established companies. They have more faith that a large corporation isn't going to rip them off more than a small mom and pop store. (Of course, this isn't true for every product or every company, but for the most part its true).

Most large companies have well designed websites, so if you want to seem like a large company, make your website look like one.

Of course, this only applies to those who are selling products. When it comes to recommending products (aka, adsense) consumers don't want to hear from the big companies, they want to hear recommendations from people like them. A recommendation that a new soft drink tastes great means a lot more coming from a friend then from an display inside the supermarket.

For this reason, the uglier homepage style websites have higher clickthrough rates. People feel like they are getting a recommendation from a real person, not a company thats just looking to profit.

So my recommendation is if you are selling products, make it look professional. If you are using adsense, make it look like a homepage (aka 'ugly')

Small Website Guy




msg:1463061
 12:03 am on Aug 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

When it comes to recommending products (aka, adsense) consumers don't want to hear from the big companies, they want to hear recommendations from people like them.

Recommending that someone click the Adsense ad violates the terms of service.

I don't think that the average web surfer thinks that much about the meaning of the ads. They'll click on it if it looks interesting.

If a web page looks really ugly, the Adsense ad may be the most interesting thing on the page to look at. Thus the higher CTR.

BUT, how to you get people to link to your site if it's so ugly?

oldskool79




msg:1463062
 7:06 pm on Aug 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I didn't mean explicitly recommending that a user clicks a link. I just meant that many users will see an ad on a site as a recommendation.

As far as links go, people will link to you if you have good content, even if your site is 'ugly'.

Ugly doesn't necessarily mean bad design, it just means simple and straightforward, without lots of flashy graphics/animations, etc.

LSagnette




msg:1463063
 4:14 pm on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I personally think a great design is one that presents all of your info on as few pages as possible. I've spent a lot of time navigating through sites simply trying to find the price for the object.

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