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Google AdSense Forum

Do Ugly Sites Perform Better?
ugly sites, adsense

 11:56 pm on Feb 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was just wondering what people's experience with this is. I just recently did a complete overhaul of one of my sites. It wasn't ugly by any means but was a little boring and bare. Last week I revamped the site and now to me it looks 10 times better but my CTR has dropped by about 40%. It's only been a couple of days so it could just be a fluctuation but it certainly has got me thinking!



 1:05 am on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Could be that people previously found your ads more helpful than your actual content. Now you might just gave them what they are looking for ;)
I've often read that too high quality decreases adsense revenue.

also and of course, if you've really changed your pages a lot, adsense bot may need a while to serve you the best ads again. imperfect ads might cause a dropping ctr


 1:31 am on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Did you change your content? Did you change your ad placement or ad size? What about background and color of the links and so on? Obviously there are a variety of considerations that go into making changes, so its hard to tell if the ugly vs. pretty issue has a bearing.

That said, I'd love to hear what others' experiences have been with ugly/pretty.


 1:41 am on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Take a look at Google.com
Not ugly, but plain and clean looking...no fancy frills.


 2:14 am on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

OK This is something I am VERY familiar with!

Some of my sites are over ten years old, so I can tell you for an absolute fact that looking at the same site for ten years will cause that site to look very ugly to "you" {and just "you") I don't care how pretty it was in the beginning..

I revamp sites when I can give this:

a. Better, crisper graphics
b. Can make a better looking (user friendly) tables array

If I cannot do "a" and "b" then I don't mess with it.

I omitted "adding new content" as a reason to revamp, because you should add new and better content all along, not wait for a spring cleaning.

Now, If you DRAMATICLLY improved the looks of your site with a major overhaul, I have done this too and saw my site tank big time in the serps!

The reason was too much change too fast. Eventually the traffic not only went back to normal, but climbed dramatically from old levels. :)

So yeah your idea is great, just watch out for too much too fast, it will tank you out for a spell if this happens.


 2:32 am on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well my site pages are the same content wise but things around the perimeter have changed and the site is a different color and layout, the links have changed color with it. Actually the old color of my adsense links do match my new layout but as a secondary color instead of the new main one. I have always made my adsense ad links the same as the prominent color of my site with same color background. Has anyone tried using their web sites secondary colors as the color for their adsense ads? If I did that they would still blend somewhat but would definitely stick out more as its a bright color and the rest my links are dark.

Stats are actually looking more normal since this evening so I may have spoke too soon like I thought. I figured I would ask as I have seen other comments saying that a uglier sites get a higher CTR because people are ready to leave after they get (or don't get) what they came for and are more likely to exit on an ad when they get bored.

I believe there might be some truth to that but it doesn't do much to get return visitors and unless you get most traffic from search engines the second you stop driving traffic...


 2:47 am on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)



 5:26 am on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

This may sound a bit strange. I launched a new content site with adsense a few days ago and just noticed that out of the first 127 visitors, 55 bookmarked it according to Awstats. I've seen around 10% clickthrus on the site, but I'm thinking that people bookmarking are not clicking on Adsense ads. I suppose this is some evidence of stickyness, but I want those clickthrus. At least they're not hitting the back button, and I guess that's some consolation.

I'm just beginning to shift a lot of my focus over to Adsense and am wondering if bookmarking negatively impacts Adsense revenues. If so, should I try to make the site a little less sticky?


 2:42 pm on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm just beginning to shift a lot of my focus over to Adsense and am wondering if bookmarking negatively impacts Adsense revenues. If so, should I try to make the site a little less sticky?

The answer probably depends on the type of site (i.e., the type of content) and the type of audience it attracts.

Also, the DoubleClick "Search Before the Purchase" study showed that the typical online buyer conducts a series of research sessions over a period of weeks before making a purchase. So more visits by that prospective buyer could translate into more clicks and (just as important) more other revenue opportunities such as affiliate sales.


 3:23 pm on Feb 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

55 bookmarked it according to Awstats

If you get this from looking at the favicon.ico download figures, I think this figure might be wrong, because Firefox seems to download that icon by default, even if not bookmarked...

See related thread over at HTML and Browsers forum:


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