How a "hot blonde" made me realize my UGLY website works...

43 replies
There's always a massive debate on Warrior Forum when it comes to "ugly vs. pretty" websites.

Most of us who are successful with direct marketing, understand that basic and ugly websites usually work a lot better.

However, that doesnt stop your friends and family (and coworkers) from endlessly telling you stuff like "I would never trust that site" or "No one will buy anything on that ugly site".

The amount of crap you get from friends and family when you have an ugly site is pretty overwhelming. I used to be a bit concerned about this, until a "hot blonde" I was talking to at the bar the other night made me realize I was actually right along...

Here's the story...

Last weekend, I'm out with a few of my friends, and I decided to wear a new necklace that I just got. It has a bunch of keys on it, and I wore it over a black v-neck tshirt, so it kind of stood out.

I got the typical "ribbings" from my guy friends that I'm sure most guys are used to getting. Stuff like "nice necklace h*mo" and crap like that...

(Note if you're a girl reading this, they aren't being mean. Guys give their friends **** like this all the time... It's how we bond)

Anyways, later that night I was talking to a few girls I met at the bar, and within 2 minutes of talking to them they were playing with my necklace, being flirty and each one of them complimented me on it...

I started laughing when this happened, and turned to the good looking blonde girl and said "I find it funny you like my necklace, and all my buddies are giving me **** for it"

She immediately smiled and replied "Well you're not trying to take them home, so why do you care what they think?"

Her bluntness quickly threw me for a loop - but after thinking about it I realized she was dead on.

And not only was she dead on about the necklace, but the whole point of the story applies to your website and your marketing as well...

People are always going to tell you that they don't like something on your site, or that your marketing is too hypey... Well guess what? If you're not trying to sell to them, then who cares?

Even if the person complaining to you actually is in your target market, always remember that your own split tests and your own sales stats are all that matter.

Just like how I had 3 girls flirting with me and playing with my necklace - the main thing to remember is the results don't lie!

And that's the only thing we care about in direct marketing is results...I would rather have an ugly site pulling half a million a year than a pretty site that makes my family happy but only makes $200k...

Hell, you can take some of the extra $300k and send your family on a vacation if you want to make 'em happy....

- Justin
#hot blonde #made #realize #ugly #website #works
  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    So, in other words, you bought an ugly necklace?
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    • Profile picture of the author Justin Goff
      Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

      So, in other words, you bought an ugly necklace?
      LOL. Nice.
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  • True, but I would rather have a pretty website making $1 million/yr than an ugly one making $200/yr.

    That could go either way.

    And this:

    "However, that doesnt stop your friends and family (and coworkers) from endlessly telling you stuff like "I would never trust that site" or "No one will buy anything on that ugly site"...

    ...should tell you that you will definitely lose some sales over it. I'm not saying that everybody believes that, and of course they shouldn't, but the fact is that's how a lot of visitors will feel about it.

    If you're site is already converting well then you don't need to do a complete re-vamp, but why not do a couple of small things to make the site more attractive, and seal the deal with those customers, as well?
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    • Profile picture of the author Justin Goff
      Originally Posted by Bradley J Anderson View Post

      True, but I would rather have a pretty website making $1 million/yr than an ugly one making $200/yr.

      That could go either way.

      And this:

      "However, that doesnt stop your friends and family (and coworkers) from endlessly telling you stuff like "I would never trust that site" or "No one will buy anything on that ugly site"...

      ...should tell you that you will definitely lose some sales over it. I'm not saying that everybody believes that, and of course they shouldn't, but the fact is that's how a lot of visitors will feel about it.

      If you're site is already converting well then you don't need to do a complete re-vamp, but why not do a couple of small things to make the site more attractive, and seal the deal with those customers, as well?
      The point is RESULTS are what matter. Not pretty or ugly.
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  • Profile picture of the author BryanC
    Location: Columbus
    Everyone knows there aren't hot blondes in Buckeye country.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by BryanC View Post

      Everyone knows there aren't hot blondes in Buckeye country.
      There could be when Ohio State is playing Michigan at home.
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      • Profile picture of the author somacorellc
        Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

        There could be when Ohio State is playing ANY OTHER TEAM at home.

        fixed that for ya
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Justin Goff View Post

    The point is RESULTS are what matter. Not pretty or ugly.
    The results are whether you took one/all of them home, which you didn't specify.

    Originally Posted by Justin Goff View Post

    People are always going to tell you that they don't like something on your site, or that your marketing is too hypey... Well guess what? If you're not trying to sell to them, then who cares?
    And if you are?

    Many people whose marketing is too hypey are among those who don't test for themselves, but copy what the majority does on the assumption that it "must" work, for so many people to be doing it ... so it becomes self-fulfilling that that's what people copy, and the majority tends to grow just because it's the majority. Just saying ...
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    • Originally Posted by Justin Goff View Post

      The point is RESULTS are what matter. Not pretty or ugly.
      Ahhh, now that I agree with. If my 'pretty' site converts well, I'll stick with it, thanks.
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      • Profile picture of the author skibbz
        This story reminds me of the dating site plentyoffish, I saw someone in a blog making the comment that the site look like it got a beating with the ugly stick...lol

        but guess what? the site is generating about $10million per annum, who cares about what the site looks like when i am raking in the dough. The owner did not change the look of the site for years and its still doing very well
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        • Profile picture of the author im1217
          Just like Craigslist.

          Originally Posted by skibbz View Post

          This story reminds me of the dating site plentyoffish, I saw someone in a blog making the comment that the site look like it got a beating with the ugly stick...lol

          but guess what? the site is generating about $10million per annum, who cares about what the site looks like when i am raking in the dough. The owner did not change the look of the site for years and its still doing very well
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  • Profile picture of the author Ephrils
    I've always been about function over style.

    I want it to work, it can look pretty later. :p This is why I'm not a graphic designer(I suck at it) or anything like that, so I focus on making the website as easy to work and navigate as possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Thats why most of the time you ask for feedback to professionals OR to family members, friends, etc, non related to web design/marketing - they find very easily usability/design problems.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    There's not massive debates - the issue is very simple - does it make money? Yes - it's ok. No? it's not ok.

    Who really cares what it looks like? what matters is whether it does its job and makes money - anything else is pointless distraction.

    It's stupid to think that whether it's ugly or not is what counts - I have ugly sites that bank well and good looking sites that bank well - they both work, it's about where your visitors come from and what your site makes them do that matters.

    Who cares whether it's ugly or not? Unless it's created for branding reasons and not sales - it's about conversions.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    So, was the necklace ugly (as asked above) and did at least one of the girls buy (go home with you, as asked above)?

    Would you have liked the results as much if your guy friends had started playing with the necklace?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    As for the whole pretty/ugly site debate goes, I have had a great deal of success selling very pretty sites. I also have a very ugly sales page that converts (although after being in graphic design for years, I nearly have a nervous breakdown launching an ugly site). I'm so confused. Both work for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author BryanC
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      So, was the necklace ugly (as asked above) and did at least one of the girls buy (go home with you, as asked above)?

      Would you have liked the results as much if your guy friends had started playing with the necklace?

      Inquiring minds want to know.

      As for the whole pretty/ugly site debate goes, I have had a great deal of success selling very pretty sites. I also have a very ugly sales page that converts (although after being in graphic design for years, I nearly have a nervous breakdown launching an ugly site). I'm so confused. Both work for me.
      I was thinking this too. This isn't really a fair analogy unless the ugly necklace converted the sale.
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  • Profile picture of the author g36
    I don't know about you, but websites with better design have better conversion.
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    :)

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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by g36 View Post

      I don't know about you, but websites with better design have better conversion.
      Especially if you define "better", with regard to design, as "converting a higher proportion of visitors": then nobody can possibly argue with this one.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by g36 View Post

      I don't know about you, but websites with better design have better conversion.
      If better means 'prettier' then I would disagree.

      For be 'better' means - achieves its purpose more effectively. In my experience that has almost nothing to do with how pretty it is.
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      nothing to see here.

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      • Profile picture of the author Justin Goff
        Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

        For me 'better' means - achieves its purpose more effectively. In my experience that has almost nothing to do with how pretty it is.
        Yep! The moral of the story was the results are the only thing that matters. Ignore the haters, and focus on the results.

        - J
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        • Profile picture of the author Warrior Markets
          Originally Posted by Justin Goff View Post

          Yep! The moral of the story was the results are the only thing that matters. Ignore the haters, and focus on the results.

          - J
          Hey, Justin

          I get where you're coming from; although it (the fact that it's all about results), might seem to be a given, your need to make that assertion (using your delightful analogy) stems from the fact that some people sometimes question the aesthetic qualities of a website, even though it converts well (i.e. indirectly saying that it's not all about results).

          I think that might clear-up the "Well, who said it's not about results?" sentiment that is rearing its head here.

          We won't go into back-end and OTO offers etc. re the blonde, as long as you got the conversion.
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  • Profile picture of the author LegitIncomes
    Am I the only one that was totally distracted by "hot blonde"....and disappointed to see that there's no pics?
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    • Profile picture of the author doorkicker13
      Originally Posted by LegitIncomes View Post

      Am I the only one that was totally distracted by "hot blonde"....and disappointed to see that there's no pics?
      No sir, you are not alone.


      I agree that it's all in the testing though, not to mention it depends on your niche and your target audience.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ephrils
      Originally Posted by LegitIncomes View Post

      Am I the only one that was totally distracted by "hot blonde"....and disappointed to see that there's no pics?
      Haha, maybe :p I run a fan site for a hot blonde in my signature if that will hold you over My association with her definitely made me click to see what this thread was all about.

      On topic: My sites CAN look pretty and I almost always alter templates, but if it doesn't function they'll go somewhere else. This is why the look of the site is 2nd, at best, to me. Look at CraigsList or The Drudge Report. Ugly, ugly sites, but it doesn't matter.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    For this to be truly scientific info. you need to go back next week with a pretty necklace and see if you attract six blondes.
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  • Profile picture of the author christopher jon
    Anyways, later that night I was talking to a few girls I met at the bar, and within 2 minutes of talking to them they were playing with my necklace, being flirty and each one of them complimented me on it...
    It's called peacocking and it's a popular pick-up technique in the PUA world. Guess they are on to something.

    Not sure what any of that has to do with an ugly site vs. a pretty site. So some girls played with your necklace, would they have done the same if you were 350 lbs and suffering from extreme acne?

    The truth is, which you finally hit at the end of your post, for the best results you need to split test and tighten up your shot group. Ugly and pretty are irrelevant.

    For be 'better' means - achieves its purpose more effectively.
    Andy gets it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Linda_C
      Originally Posted by christopher jon View Post

      Not sure what any of that has to do with an ugly site vs. a pretty site. So some girls played with your necklace, would they have done the same if you were 350 lbs and suffering from extreme acne?
      The necklace is a conversation piece. Put the same necklace on an obese-drooling-Quasimodo-type vs an attractive guy and we can talk pretty vs ugly.



      Brad & Andy are spot on... there are both ugly/pretty sites that convert and ugly/pretty sites that don't convert. It's not about pretty vs ugly. It's about
      1. converting vs not converting (which comes from)
      2. credible vs not credible
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    Did you send your good looking friend to the table next without your necklace to see if he pulled more, quicker?

    How was customer retention?

    It seems like the target market actually thought the necklace actually looked good (not ugly)...you will need to continue the experiement to get a conclusion:

    Would you still where the necklace if you were trying to pick up one of your mates, even though they thought it was ugly?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnsonML
    I think all the people saying "my ugly website makes lots of money so it must be the technique to use" are making a logical fallacy... Would the same website make MORE money if it was prettier, or uglier? If so, what would be the difference and is that difference worth the extra effort/resources put into making a site prettier?

    -and just to be clear, I don't necessarily mean "prettier" aesthetically - I mean all the basic principles of web design as far as the TOTAL combination of function, aesthetics, etc...

    Does anyone know where somebody's posted their own split tests and statistics?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sheryl Polomka
    What about long term customer base. Is the blonde a keeper or is she just after a one night stand???

    I would prefer a pretty website that kept customers coming back for more sales than an ugly website that maybe got a one off sale.

    Or does it really matter if the website is pretty or ugly, but rather just how many ugly necklaces it contains
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    • Profile picture of the author KateHunter
      pretty or not doesn't matter for your website, what matters is do you have what they are looking for, can they find it fast, can you convince them it is what they are looking for, and can you get them there in the first place.
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  • Profile picture of the author .X.
    The funny thing is it's easy to tell who's
    talking **** here and who knows what
    they're talking about.

    Yeah, it really is that obvious. ;-)

    X
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  • Profile picture of the author Gregg
    I think the point was "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and in this case the "beholder" is buying so don't muck it up… so to speak.

    I meant to say that in a really nice way so imaging a smiley face...
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    • Profile picture of the author VegasVince
      Just posted an interview with the legendary Jim Straw 30 minutes ago or so.... who you might say he has had "some success".

      $400,000,000 and counting over a career spanning 50 glorious years. That's four hundred million and counting.

      Jim's site is "ugly." Jim's site makes a LOT OF MONEY. In fact, being privy to his numbers I can tell you that in a given week Jim's "ugly site" probably makes more then a lot of peeps make in a calender year. True.

      In the end.....what ever works.....but I loved Jim Straw's reply to those who email him monthly about his "ugly site."

      It's in the interview...only face to face one available on the net.....and gotta love his response.

      Let's just say Jim Straw was a millionaire long before most of us were a gleam in our daddies eyes.

      Results are All that matters.....and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      Quality information delivered consistently......trumps the site that is pimped out....and delivers hype, pomp, and circumstance.


      peace, Vegas Vince
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        Originally Posted by VegasVince View Post


        Jim's site is "ugly." Jim's site makes a LOT OF MONEY. In fact, being privy to his numbers I can tell you that in a given week Jim's "ugly site" probably makes more then a lot of peeps make in a calender year. True.
        Hey Vince,

        Jim's a good guy for sure, but the point here is that Jim's not doing well BECAUSE his site is ugly. He's doing well because his message is powerful and appropriate for his audience.

        I'd bet he'd be doing pretty well even if he had a nicer looking site

        It's a simple subject really and all about what works - finding what works and making it work even better is what it's all about - looks are subjective and I've seen many awarding winning great looking sites that suck when it comes to achieving their objective of making money.

        Some of my best sales pages have zero graphics except on the buy button, so if anyone is still unclear about this issue - they should just test for themselves.

        At the end of the day what works for YOU is really what matters anyway.

        Andy
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        nothing to see here.

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        • Profile picture of the author VegasVince
          Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

          Hey Vince,

          Jim's a good guy for sure, but the point here is that Jim's not doing well BECAUSE his site is ugly. He's doing well because his message is powerful and appropriate for his audience.

          I'd bet he'd be doing pretty well even if he had a nicer looking site

          It's a simple subject really and all about what works - finding what works and making it work even better is what it's all about - looks are subjective and I've seen many awarding winning great looking sites that suck when it comes to achieving their objective of making money.

          Some of my best sales pages have zero graphics except on the buy button, so if anyone is still unclear about this issue - they should just test for themselves.

          At the end of the day what works for YOU is really what matters anyway.

          Andy


          Sorry Andy...the acid is still dripping in my stomach over my other issue...but for sure I agree with you......that was kinda my point. Jim's site works because of it's content...and because his customer base isn't the get rich overnight crowd et al........and his words regarding the site are in the video I taped......now closed for reasons unknown to me. You're spot on......for sure. Peace, VV
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    I think a lot of it can be about your target audience to if they will like an ugly site or pretty site.

    But then again, it's still all about your own testing and success rates.

    I find it funny everyone is really over-analyzing the necklace story. It was just an analogy, people!
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  • Profile picture of the author Cool Hand Luke
    Originally Posted by Justin Goff View Post

    There's always a massive debate on Warrior Forum when it comes to "ugly vs. pretty" websites.

    Most of us who are successful with direct marketing, understand that basic and ugly websites usually work a lot better.

    However, that doesnt stop your friends and family (and coworkers) from endlessly telling you stuff like "I would never trust that site" or "No one will buy anything on that ugly site".

    The amount of crap you get from friends and family when you have an ugly site is pretty overwhelming. I used to be a bit concerned about this, until a "hot blonde" I was talking to at the bar the other night made me realize I was actually right along...

    Here's the story...

    Last weekend, I'm out with a few of my friends, and I decided to wear a new necklace that I just got. It has a bunch of keys on it, and I wore it over a black v-neck tshirt, so it kind of stood out.

    I got the typical "ribbings" from my guy friends that I'm sure most guys are used to getting. Stuff like "nice necklace h*mo" and crap like that...

    (Note if you're a girl reading this, they aren't being mean. Guys give their friends **** like this all the time... It's how we bond)

    Anyways, later that night I was talking to a few girls I met at the bar, and within 2 minutes of talking to them they were playing with my necklace, being flirty and each one of them complimented me on it...

    I started laughing when this happened, and turned to the good looking blonde girl and said "I find it funny you like my necklace, and all my buddies are giving me **** for it"

    She immediately smiled and replied "Well you're not trying to take them home, so why do you care what they think?"

    Her bluntness quickly threw me for a loop - but after thinking about it I realized she was dead on.

    And not only was she dead on about the necklace, but the whole point of the story applies to your website and your marketing as well...

    People are always going to tell you that they don't like something on your site, or that your marketing is too hypey... Well guess what? If you're not trying to sell to them, then who cares?

    Even if the person complaining to you actually is in your target market, always remember that your own split tests and your own sales stats are all that matter.

    Just like how I had 3 girls flirting with me and playing with my necklace - the main thing to remember is the results don't lie!

    And that's the only thing we care about in direct marketing is results...I would rather have an ugly site pulling half a million a year than a pretty site that makes my family happy but only makes $200k...

    Hell, you can take some of the extra $300k and send your family on a vacation if you want to make 'em happy....

    - Justin
    Obvious bragging thread is obviously bragging.
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  • Profile picture of the author KennethYu
    I think the niche matters as well. Aesthetics-driven industries like beauty, luxury and property requires nicer looking graphics, don't you think? I mean... You won't book a hotel in some far-flung land on the basis of an ugly-ass website right? No matter how compelling the copy is.

    The industry matters. Info-publishing is not one of those where looks matter.

    Having said that however... with the over-saturation of info marketers, sometimes nicer looking graphics can make you stand out from all that clutter, with copy being equal.

    What do you think?
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  • Profile picture of the author Kal Sallam
    Well I believe it all depends on the audience type...so test test and test
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