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How much difference does a good design make?

None, some, big?

     
12:54 am on Dec 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Over the past years, I have created informational websites, which rely mostly on Adsense and affiliate programs (Travel) to generate income.

Most of the sites have a design made by myself.
Honestly saying, a very poor design (html tables, css, some graphics).

Some of the sites have a semi-professional design; I paid for the designs, some better graphics and flash were added.

However, I didn't notice any big improvement on revenues from these re-designed sites.

I am considering paying for a professional re-design on all the sites. Possibly investing three to six months of full net income into this project.

My question: what improvement in income should I expect from these new designs? Do professional designs have a big impact on revenues?

1:02 am on Dec 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Rather than focus on the aesthetic design, you should focus on the functional design. The prettiest site in the world is worthless if people can't navigate around or find what they want. Most designers don't understand that- they spend all their time making things look pretty without considering HOW people use the site.
1:07 am on Dec 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi, LiA,

That's what I thought: designers charge too much for a work which is, hummm, a commodity (whereas generating useful unique content is a highly skilled work).
That's why I refrained from keeping investing on design.

But I wonder if going from a really bad design to a really good design could make a significant difference.

1:21 am on Dec 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Try using a heat map report to see what you users are doing and clicking on.
5:19 am on Dec 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

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But I wonder if going from a really bad design to a really good design could make a significant difference.

Have a look around the site below, it will change the way you think about "presentation" - which is what most people are talking about when they say "design." There are many aspects of "design" as mentioned above - visual design is the least important of all these.

link [webpagesthatsuck.com]

Visual design is important, IMO, only in that it presents the appropriate environment for the users to solve their problems.

10:29 am on Dec 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Prettiness doesn't count for much, take webmasterworld as an example. It sure ain't pretty but it is functional and utilitarian.

I don't think I'd say that design work is a commodity. The best designers produce very good work, the problem is that a lot of poor designers lose sight of the goal of the site they are working on and think that design in and of itself is what makes a site successful. That has never been true in anything and certainly not in web design.

I doubt the design of your site makes that much difference unless it obscures the utility of your site.

6:18 pm on Dec 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Look at mint.com. They became successful, in a large part, because they focused on good design and presentation.
3:32 pm on Dec 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There are several threads on WebmasterWorld about ugly sites that make money. Have a search
12:55 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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ugly sites that make money

That's the point: would they make more money if they weren't ugly?

8:07 pm on Dec 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The concept of "ulgy sites sell" is that you can increse sales by making it less pretty. It really has nothing to do with pretty it has more to do with being more useful. Your not tring to make it ugly your just removing pretty things that get in the way. The web is not like TV or Magzines. Most people come to the web with a goal in mind. People use TV and magazines to entertain themnselves and advertisers jump out at them and convince them to do something.