"Clean" OR "Cluttered" Site Design?

by abbe77
48 replies
Hi Warriors!!!

What you say about any website design either it should be 'Clean/Minimalitic' or 'Cluttered/Lot More Content on Homepage'?

I noticed that cluttered sites keep visitors engaged more time and increase traffic with new visitors.

What you think?
#clean #cluttered #design #site #traffic
  • Profile picture of the author butters
    I say it is niche dependant, if I am looking for news then I expect it to be cluttered because I wan't all the news at my fingertips. If I am reading a tutorial on how to clean a sink then I only want that, I don't want extra links on how to clean a table. So I would say it is highly dependant on the niche and the information you are offering.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bond1806
    It all depends on your targeted audience. It is design related thing. If you are news oriented site, than cluttered design is OK, but if you are in, for example, art niche then clean design is more suitable.
    Depends on niche and your audience.
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  • Profile picture of the author Victor Edson
    I leave cluttered sites after a few seconds, I hate diggin
    for info I came there for, if you're givin it to me.. let's do
    it or I'm gone.

    If I find what I'm looking for and it was more than I expected
    I'll look around and see what else I can learn before I bounce.

    I don't think I'm the 'average reader mentality' though, I'm
    just one man's opinion. I say content is king in my opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    A cluttered site confuses the visitor about what your site
    is all about EXCEPT it is about clutter. So most people
    would get confused and leave. So generally speaking
    a clean site would work better. But some clutter on
    an otherwise clean site can get the site some ATTENTION
    that it wouldn't otherwise get--hence why copywriters
    often 'mark up' their sales letters.

    But when it come to site design the definitive and seminal
    work is Don't Make Me Think! by Steve Krug

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennisknows
    I've been hearing that cluttered is the way to go but I'm sure it's based on the target market. If I'm not mistaken, John Chow's blog is a bit cluttered. From what I'm hearing, it keeps them engaged and makes them want to search for stuff...

    Me personally, i don't stay on cluttered sites long but could that be because we're internet marketers. We like things clean and organized maybe?

    But to the average consumer/person (which I haven't been for a while), it may be a bit of psychological challenge they thrive for.

    I remember the Myspace days. Most sites were full of clutter because Myspace allowed users to completely customize their pages. We stayed on Myspace for hours. this is when I was an average thinker; working a 9 - 5 and looking to retire in 40 years...

    Dennis
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  • Profile picture of the author ijohnson
    I think CLEAN with SIMPLISTIC design works best ... most of the time. Most people don't want to work too hard to find the information they're after. And a lot of readers don't want to be distracted.

    On the other hand, if someone is just killing time with no purpose, a cluttered site may be their playground.

    It can definitely be niche-dependent though. For instance, you have 3-column sites in magazine style that cater to the latest news in any given niche. Their sites may tend to look cluttered but they can also look "exciting" to the visitor/reader who may find it to be impressive. These "news" type sites want you to spend more time on their site looking for the next best thing to click on.

    Having a cluttered site can be a strategic move on the site owner's part to lower their bounce rate or simply give the visitor lots of options.

    I wonder if there's been any polls or surveys done on this?
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    • Profile picture of the author abbe77
      Originally Posted by ijohnson View Post

      I wonder if there's been any polls or surveys done on this?
      Its a great idea.
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    • Profile picture of the author yakim1
      Originally Posted by ijohnson View Post

      I wonder if there's been any polls or surveys done on this?

      Ryan Diess just put out a report on this subject based on a lot of testing. He did say that a more cluttered blog increased in traffic. However, he also gave a few other reasons for the traffic increase. I don't remember what the other reasons where and I don't remember if he said it increased conversion rate.

      I think it was all about traffic.

      The second thing was to stop blogging and start editing the posts that were arleady there.

      The third was to stop sending traffic to sales letters and collect visitor information. (Build a List)

      best regards,
      Steve Yakim
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      • Profile picture of the author ijohnson
        yakim1,

        That's pretty interesting ... I need to check Ryan Diess' latest info out. I believe someone else above mentioned a report Ryan recently create called "Authority Hacks" that addresses this dilemma.
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      • Profile picture of the author edlewis
        Originally Posted by yakim1 View Post

        Ryan Diess just put out a report on this subject based on a lot of testing. He did say that a more cluttered blog increased in traffic. However, he also gave a few other reasons for the traffic increase. I don't remember what the other reasons where and I don't remember if he said it increased conversion rate.

        I think it was all about traffic.

        The second thing was to stop blogging and start editing the posts that were arleady there.

        The third was to stop sending traffic to sales letters and collect visitor information. (Build a List)

        best regards,
        Steve Yakim
        I think you missed the message on this point.

        The point wasn't to edit the content you already have, it was to act as the EDITOR of the site...and go out and find other people to write and create content for you.

        The traffic increases come from the writers who you hire (isn't as expensive as it sound) sharing the link to their "published" content with their followers/friends/subscribers...well, that's one way...
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        • Profile picture of the author thecableguy
          I've heard it mentioned several times the "Zeigarnik Effect". If you're trying to sell a single product like in a salesletter then definitely clean. You leave to many options it distracts from the main purpose of the page.

          "http://www.managetrainlearn.com/page/the-zeigarnik-effect

          In fact some sales letters e-courses used to stress that. Two options, either buy or leave.

          If it's a content type of site that uses content to attract traffic then yes I'd clutter it up as much as possible.
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          • Profile picture of the author yakim1
            Originally Posted by thecableguy View Post

            I've heard it mentioned several times the "Zeigarnik Effect". If you're trying to sell a single product like in a salesletter then definitely clean. You leave to many options it distracts from the main purpose of the page.

            "http://www.managetrainlearn.com/page/the-zeigarnik-effect

            In fact some sales letters e-courses used to stress that. Two options, either buy or leave.

            If it's a content type of site that uses content to attract traffic then yes I'd clutter it up as much as possible.
            I thought Mark Joyner said the Zeigarnik Effect was ending a report or pesentation with the incomplete information that made the the reader want to get the next report in order to get the rest of the information. TV serials are a good example as they show you some previews of the next episode.

            News casts do this by telling what is coming up and then break for a commercial.

            Best regards,
            Steve Yakim
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            • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
              There's a big difference between 'cluttered' and 'lots of content on the front page'. The survival blog linked in this thread looks like the latter.

              Cluttered, to me, means that things are plugged in willy-nilly, with little organization or thought to user experience. Many newspaper sites, in an effort to cram as many forms of monetization in as possible, are cluttered. By the time the sixteenth ad feed has loaded, and the pops popped and the overlays overlaid, you don't know where to look first.

              Within that definition, I'll go with the uncluttered site every time, regardless how much info shows on the home page.
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        • Profile picture of the author yakim1
          Originally Posted by edlewis View Post

          I think you missed the message on this point.

          The point wasn't to edit the content you already have, it was to act as the EDITOR of the site...and go out and find other people to write and create content for you.

          The traffic increases come from the writers who you hire (isn't as expensive as it sound) sharing the link to their "published" content with their followers/friends/subscribers...well, that's one way...
          I believe I was correct in what the report said. He told his bloggers (testers) to stop blogging and edit the posts that were already there. That is hard to miss the point on.

          Since the sites were mostly content and adding more content was not moving the traffic curve, they stopped blogging and began to edit the posts that were already there and the traffic curve shot up immediately.

          The traffic curve spiked in the very beginning but then just flattened out. The editing of current posts was what caused the traffic curve to keep spiking with every edit.

          I hope this make what I said easier to understand,
          Steve Yakim
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          • Profile picture of the author edlewis
            Originally Posted by yakim1 View Post

            I believe I was correct in what the report said. He told his bloggers (testers) to stop blogging and edit the posts that were already there. That is hard to miss the point on.

            Since the sites were mostly content and adding more content was not moving the traffic curve, they stopped blogging and began to edit the posts that were already there and the traffic curve shot up immediately.

            The traffic curve spiked in the very beginning but then just flattened out. The editing of current posts was what caused the traffic curve to keep spiking with every edit.

            I hope this make what I said easier to understand,
            Steve Yakim

            Steve,

            With all due respect...you are wrong.

            Frankly, this doesn't even make sense. Why/how would simply "editing" current posts do anything?

            How exactly would this increase traffic...?

            The idea behind the Authority ROI model is to act more like an editor or publisher instead of a blogger.

            I don't see how this is even debatable.

            Sure...on page 12 of the "Authority Hacks" report Hack #2 is "Stop Blogging and Start Editing".

            But nowhere does it say anything about "editing" current posts. What is meant by "editing" is to start acting like an EDITOR would and start finding and publishing other people's content.

            He spends the next 6 pages talking about this concept...and nowhere does he mention "editing" current posts....not even close.
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            • Profile picture of the author yakim1
              Originally Posted by edlewis View Post

              Steve,

              With all due respect...you are wrong.

              Frankly, this doesn't even make sense. Why/how would simply "editing" current posts do anything?

              How exactly would this increase traffic...?

              The idea behind the Authority ROI model is to act more like an editor or publisher instead of a blogger.

              I don't see how this is even debatable.

              Sure...on page 12 of the "Authority Hacks" report Hack #2 is "Stop Blogging and Start Editing".

              But nowhere does it say anything about "editing" current posts. What is meant by "editing" is to start acting like an EDITOR would and start finding and publishing other people's content.

              He spends the next 6 pages talking about this concept...and nowhere does he mention "editing" current posts....not even close.
              I will try to find were I saved this report and reread the part about editting. If you are correct, I will find this thread and say so. I don't mean to mislead anyone. Your point just does not make any sense since the adding of new content was not affecting the curve. I wouldn't think it would matter whos content is added, its still new content and that had no effect on the curve.

              When you edit a post, it pings all over again and they don't get penalized because the content has had major changes. This is my guess as to why editing would affect the curve.

              Best regards,
              Steve Yakim
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              • Profile picture of the author edlewis
                Originally Posted by yakim1 View Post

                I will try to find were I saved this report and reread the part about editting. If you are correct, I will find this thread and say so. I don't mean to mislead anyone. Your point just does not make any sense since the adding of new content was not affecting the curve. I wouldn't think it would matter whos content is added, its still new content and that had no effect on the curve.

                When you edit a post, it pings all over again and they don't get penalized because the content has had major changes. This is my guess as to why editing would affect the curve.

                Best regards,
                Steve Yakim

                No offense, but you really missed the point of the entire launch.


                Originally Posted by yakim1 View Post

                Your point just does not make any sense since the adding of new content was not affecting the curve. I wouldn't think it would matter whos content is added, its still new content and that had no effect on the curve.

                Not true...my point makes perfect sense because the content they started adding was content from "experts" or almost-experts around the internet. People with "reach"...

                It matters whose content it is because those experts then share that they have been published on your site with their followers on social media - Twitter, Facebook - and their blog....this is where the traffic comes from.

                This was the entire basis behind the other report "Free Traffic Loophole".

                Why do you think he talked about sites like Huff Po, Bloomberg, and Breitbart....and talked about Oprah....and "The Expert Aggregator Model"...?



                Originally Posted by yakim1 View Post

                When you edit a post, it pings all over again and they don't get penalized because the content has had major changes. This is my guess as to why editing would affect the curve.
                If this were true...idiots around the internet would be changing posts every 2 minutes to spam the search engines....and software developers would have bots doing this every 2 seconds.

                Sorry, but this has nothing to do with the concept laid out in the Authority ROI pre-launch.


                I think you need to go back and re-read the reports.

                As I said before, you seem to have missed the point. I'm not trying to be rude...just trying to stop the spread of bad info.
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                • Profile picture of the author yakim1
                  Originally Posted by edlewis View Post

                  No offense, but you really missed the point of the entire launch.





                  Not true...my point makes perfect sense because the content they started adding was content from "experts" or almost-experts around the internet. People with "reach"...

                  It matters whose content it is because those experts then share that they have been published on your site with their followers on social media - Twitter, Facebook - and their blog....this is where the traffic comes from.

                  This was the entire basis behind the other report "Free Traffic Loophole".

                  Why do you think he talked about sites like Huff Po, Bloomberg, and Breitbart....and talked about Oprah....and "The Expert Aggregator Model"...?





                  If this were true...idiots around the internet would be changing posts every 2 minutes to spam the search engines....and software developers would have bots doing this every 2 seconds.

                  Sorry, but this has nothing to do with the concept laid out in the Authority ROI pre-launch.


                  I think you need to go back and re-read the reports.

                  As I said before, you seem to have missed the point. I'm not trying to be rude...just trying to stop the spread of bad info.
                  Hi edlewis,

                  As I said, I would try to find the report and I did. You were absolutely correct. Here is a quote from the report...

                  "...the first step is to identify and associate with the most trusted, authoritative experts in your niche and then seek to aggregate and promote THEIR CONTENT in one place (i.e. your site)."

                  As I said, I did not want to mislead anyone. So the second method of getting more traffic to your blog would be to get other known experts in your niche to post on your blog. This is not easy so Ryan wrote another report explaining how to do this.

                  Best regards,
                  Steve Yakim
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Is this a trick question? Clean of course.
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  • Profile picture of the author abbe77
    Dennis this is exactly the reason that Cluttered sites are more engaging.
    And yes Niche also important to determine the design of any site.

    Personally I also like the 'Clean' design as other IMs do (as IMs are busy creatures and try to be focused ) but I guess common readers engaged in more challenging and time consuming sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author Velant
    Originally Posted by abbe77 View Post

    Hi Warriors!!!

    What you say about any website design either it should be 'Clean/Minimalitic' or 'Cluttered/Lot More Content on Homepage'?

    I noticed that cluttered sites keep visitors engaged more time and increase traffic with new visitors.

    What you think?
    It's not only a matter of niche but also of personal preference. But generally I feel that clarity should always win over clutter - very few people like to be lost and confused all the time trying to find something they need. Clarity doesn't have to be minimalistic though - you can just create a smart navigation and cross-reference structure only showing a small part of information to visitors at a time. To me this is a winning scenario.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bond1806
    Cluttered does not mean that it looks bad. If it is designed nicely and organized than the cluttered can look good and be engaging.
    I come from the design world and know what I am talking about.
    It all depends on your niche and audience.
    Clean can look bad also. If the design is good and organized it does not matter if it is clean or cluttered.
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  • Profile picture of the author jgant
    I have to wonder why monster sites like CNN, Fox News, MSN, Men's Health, Huffington Post, etc. have cluttered sites ... it must work for them.

    Test it. Don't go on any person's say-so. It's relatively simple to change WP themes. You never know what will work best for your site.
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    • Originally Posted by jgant View Post

      I have to wonder why monster sites like CNN, Fox News, MSN, Men's Health, Huffington Post, etc. have cluttered sites ... it must work for them.
      Those are content-heavy sites. They release new content every 5 minutes, thus they're bound to be cluttered.

      In the other hand, response-and-single-call-to-action orientated sites like Google, Twitter are clean and minimalistic.

      Content? cluttered. Call to action? clean and to the point.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Clean has better conversion. However, your mileage may vary. Best to test it out and tell us your experience. It reminds me of Google back in the day when I was doing a lot of ad words advertising and they were angry. Google wanted me to increase my 1% CTR to 2% by adding words like FREE and I said no. What is important to me is how many of the clicks convert into sales and freebie hunters tend to buy zero. All they do is eat up my bandwidth and slow down my server. Clean pages appear more fresh and that attracts buyers as well as looking more pro.
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  • Profile picture of the author troy23
    It's personal preference, but I prefer a clean look myself.
    I'm not keen on seeing animated gifs and banners everywhere.
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  • Profile picture of the author glennshep
    I don't like a cluttered site. If it's jumbled and confusing it isn't going to make me want to search for stuff, it's just going to frustrate me and put me off. However, a site can have lots on it but not necessarily be cluttered. Personally, so long as the content is relevant, the site offers plenty of value and is well organised then I am happy to spend time there going through a lot of stuff and, at least to me, it gives the impression of an attempt to engage the visitor,. Again, if a simplistic site gives loads of good, relevant info then I don't mind that approach either.

    From a purely aesthetic point of view I know that I'm tiring of all the cookie cutter, sterile, Apple-esque sites that are all over the place. I just find them boring and bland. But I think the thing of most importance, whichever approach is used, is that the site provides good content that's presented in a clear, non-confusing way
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  • Profile picture of the author GuruGazette
    In my experience, clean and focused drives sales; cluttered or busy drives clicks and activity.

    I just finished revamping my main site because I was sick of the bloated trends in WP themes. I'm currently trying a two-tier approach: clean and focused above the fold, more options as you scroll down. Haven't decided if the "busy" area is still too much but time will tell.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
    Actually, I just finished reading (about 5 minutes ago) Ryan Deiss' new report called "Authority Hacks" and he shows an example where he had a clean site in the survival niche that wasn't getting hardly any traffic, so he changed it to a cluttered site and the traffic skyrocketed.

    As someone else mentioned above, I don't know if this is niche dependent or not. He does place a huge emphasis on becoming an authority by leveraging the knowledge of other experts and focusing on building a list.
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  • Profile picture of the author sanhal
    According to Ryan Deiss in his latest report cluttered sites win hands down.

    Cluttered does not mean disorganized though.

    Sandy
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Whatever brings conversions.
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  • Profile picture of the author m00d
    Originally Posted by abbe77 View Post

    Hi Warriors!!!

    What you say about any website design either it should be 'Clean/Minimalitic' or 'Cluttered/Lot More Content on Homepage'?

    I noticed that cluttered sites keep visitors engaged more time and increase traffic with new visitors.

    What you think?
    I haven't done any testing at all between the two but for me it's clean all the way. I haven't been there in a while but icq.com used to be the worst example of a cluttered site. Look at Google, nuff said...
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidSaaf
    It depends on your niche, but why don't combine Content + Clean design?!
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  • Profile picture of the author Curtis2011
    It depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the website.

    For instance, a made-for-adsense website will probably want to have a super clean look with the only clutter being the ads, so they get more attention.

    A more cluttered website tends to look more professional like a "real" website though, as long as it is organized well.
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  • Profile picture of the author edlewis
    I know Ryan Deiss uses the word "cluttered" to describe these sites, but it depends on your defintion of "cluttered".

    His very own site that he mentions, Survival Life - It's your life. Prepare to survive. , isn't all that "cluttered" if you ask me. It's running the "Max Mag" theme and has just ONE ad and a small newsletter optin form.

    That one ad opens a popup for a free report.

    So if by "cluttered", you mean "cluttered" with CONTENT....then I guess that is so...

    It's just not cluttered with ADS...

    The site actually has CONTENT and instead of pushing it's visitors OFF the site with ads and affiliate links, it's a magnet for visitors that collects email addresses AKA leads.

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out it's monetized thru email marketing. I know for a fact that site and another he runs funnel leads into a private premium newsletter that re-bills customers @ $20/month.

    And the trust and authority of this site is thru the roof because it's almost 100% content...no ads, no affiliate links, etc. You can bet that plays a factor in increasing conversions for the monthly newsletter backend.

    Not to mention these are the sites Google loves. The last thing you can call it is a "thin affiliate" site, yet it's still making money....what a concept.
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  • Profile picture of the author george b
    In general my life has always been cluttered, messy house, messy car, messy shed.

    I think this transfers over to my websites, I always think they look to cluttered and messy.

    By the end of 2013 I want to be able to create clean, tidy, websites.
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  • Profile picture of the author bobcath
    I agree with edlewis, it depends on the inference of the word cluttered. Cluttered in most peoples' minds means messy and almost impossible to navigate with ease. However some may say the BBC News site is cluttered; it's not it just has lots of info on same page but is very well organised and easy to navigate. So if you want to promote ONE product I'd say 'clean and simple' and if you promote several products in same niche, then lots of info as long as its neat is ok.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by abbe77 View Post

    I noticed that cluttered sites keep visitors engaged more time and increase traffic with new visitors.
    Traffic from "cluttered" sites doesn't matter. I would much rather have a simple pitch page site that makes me $1,000 a month, with only 40 hits per day..... as opposed to a huge (cluttered) site that makes me $100 a month with 500 hits per day.
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  • Profile picture of the author CollegeCEO
    I really prefer a clean layout for sites. You can have a good amount of information on a site and still have it look organized. As someone else mentioned, when people think of the word "cluttered" they think of disorganized and messy.

    News sites and Online Magazine sites are notorious for having a ton of information on the home page, but as long as it's easy to navigate it's not too much of an issue. You have to strike a good balance. You don't want too much empty space, but you don't want a disorganized mess either.
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  • Cluttered if organised well then its ok, if things are all over the shant I am out of there I don't want to be looking around where to click or feel like everything on the site is shouting out at me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Prady N
    I think minimal, clean , focused site works best.
    If you want to sell something from your site minimal design with
    good call to action is great way to create trust & increase conversion
    Regarding Survivallife:
    In my opinion survivallife is not cluttered at all
    they have nice magazine theme layout which works great
    for these type of sites where people want to quickly go through
    all important posts.
    They are focused on lead generation & have great call to action.
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  • Profile picture of the author wesawu
    Focus more on the content rather than the design!
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  • Profile picture of the author Bond1806
    To bump this discussion a bit.
    Here is my second site, Magazine Designing. This is my expertise since I am an magazine art director.
    As you can see it is pretty clean and neatly designed. My targeted audience are art directors and designers in general. In design "less is more" almost always.

    So, what am I trying to say?

    Your site can be clean or cluttered, it does not matter. It is your niche and your audience that are most important. Your design should reflect what would they want to see.
    In my case, design is important but to present information in clear way is even more important.
    I hope I have achieved that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Backlinko
    Originally Posted by abbe77 View Post

    Hi Warriors!!!

    What you say about any website design either it should be 'Clean/Minimalitic' or 'Cluttered/Lot More Content on Homepage'?
    No doubt it's Clean/Minimalitic.

    I get weekly compliments from my readers -- not that my site's design look pretty -- but that it's clean and easy to read.

    Just look at the top blogs in any niche (let's use IM as an example)

    QuickSprout
    SocialTriggers
    ThinkTraffic
    Viperchill

    ALL of them have clean design.

    Remember: you want people to zero in on your content. And they can't do that if you have a million nasty banner ads everywhere. It's your content that keeps people on your site.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Bond1806 View Post

      To bump this discussion a bit.
      Here is my second site, Magazine Designing. This is my expertise since I am an magazine art director.

      ...

      In my case, design is important but to present information in clear way is even more important.
      I hope I have achieved that.
      Even though you have a ton of content on the home page, I would call the a clean design. Well organized, easy to find things, easy to read. If this site had been aimed at older readers, I'd have bumped the text font a point or so, but that's just my preference.

      The part I put in bold is really the essence of site design, IMO. If someone's reaction to your site is to run to a forum and ask what the theme is rather than consuming the content, you're design is wasted.
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      • Profile picture of the author Bond1806
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        If someone's reaction to your site is to run to a forum and ask what the theme is rather than consuming the content, you're design is wasted.
        Exactly. In my business, publishing, content and design have to work together. One without the other cannot exist and succeed.
        Although in my experience I can say that the content is more important. If you have the most beautiful design in the world and no valuable content, you will lose readers. Slowly but steadily.

        On the other hand, if your content is great, readers will ignore bad design. When I say bad, I mean not attractive design. If it is so horrible that affects readability than you are doomed.
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