Monday, December 15, 2008

Good & Bad Web Sites – The Difference is Small

We spent this week in class focusing on web design and the various factors that go into it. What I thought was a relatively easy task of creating a good looking web site, actually requires quite a bit of thought and much attention to detail.

I’ve also learned that the difference between a good web site and a bad web site may not be that much and sometimes is just a minor detail. If a detail is off in the eyes of an audience, it can significantly effect the overall performance of a web site and even lead to less sales. If you want to see an example of how a small difference in design can lead to a dramatic difference in results check out the article by Nick Usborne titled “Design Choices Can Cripple a Web Site”. The article shows how a test between two different designs for the same web page generated a 15% increase in sales for one version and a 53% decrease in sales for another version of the same page.

This is amazing considering the biggest difference between the pages is going from a one column format to a two column format. As Usborne states “However compelling the message, however great the copy, however strong the sales argument… the way a page is designed will have a dramatic impact on conversion rates, for better or for worse” (Usborne). Check out the entire article at

Another tip that we learned this week was to make sure a product web page answers four key questions. As Kissane states “Most product pages need to answer these questions:

1. Who is the product for?
2. What is the product?
3. What does the product do for its target user?
4. Why is the product better than the available alternatives?

Stupidly simple, right? But the lack of answers to these questions is what leads to thousands upon thousands of wasted hours (and more money than I want to think about) spent writing, serving, and reading meaningless dreck that doesn’t inform users, promote products, or help anyone” (Kissane).

Think about any of your favorite product web pages and chances are they answer the four questions above. These questions are not only good questions for writing web copy but good questions for writing any type of copy for marketing communications. Sometimes as marketers we over-think and over-communicate therefore unintentionally omit the information the consumer really wants. Mastering this skill will be a key for marketers utilizing the web in the future as more and more companies are relying on the web more for their brand image campaigns and overall sales strategies.

- Patrick


Kissane. Retrieved on December 15, 2008 from

Usborne. Retrieved on December 15, 2008 from

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