Back when I started with an affiliate marketer in around 2008 I had the ugliest websites you could ever imagine. Mostly because I was using free HTML templates and didn’t know much about website design at all. If I knew how to create a nicer looking website I probably would have, but the funny thing is the ugly websites were converting like crazy.
I’m not sure if they were converting better than nice looking sites, but back in 2008 people didn’t seem to care what the website looked like. They were just looking for their information and once they read what I had to say they would listen to my recommendations, click my affiliate links, and I would make money.
Now a days things are a bit different. I still have some ugly websites out there and they aren’t converting as well as they used to.
As the Internet has become increasingly more popular so have online scams and my thinking is that people searching the web are more protective in who they trust and who they listen to online. If you’re reading something like an authority site like CNN you are much more to trust what they say and click their links than if you were to land on an ugly website that looked like it was from the 90s or created by a teenager.
If you have a “professional looking” website it instantly gives people the reception that you’re a legit company.
The mistake that a lot of people make these days with “professional looking” websites is that they try to make them too fancy that it takes away from the main goal – to make money. Often companies will have so many different moving parts on their website that their visitors really won’t know what to do next.
The ideal website now a days, in my opinion, is something that looks nice and professional but also makes it clear what you want the visitor to do. If your goal is to grab their email address so you can market to them via email you will want your optin box to stand out. If you have an opt-in box on the right hand side but you have a bunch of different images and videos on the website as well that hide the opt-in box you are probably losing money.
If you’re not an expert at creating websites my advice is to pick yourself a high converting template like one of these wordpress themes from FlyTonic that focus on conversions. Don’t worry about paying $5,000+ for a custom website that looks fancy. As long as it looks like a professional designed it and it focuses on your conversions that’s what is going to make you money.
I should note that one of the most important factors these days is “responsiveness”, which means how your website looks or responds when opened on mobile devices or tablets. You NEED to make sure you have a mobile friendly website. Over 50% of traffic on all my websites are coming from mobile. Most “ugly”, old websites aren’t mobile friendly at all. That is maybe the main reason my conversions have slowly decline on my old templates.
So in summary, ugly websites can convert, but in my testing they don’t convert as well as nicer, professional looking websites. The theory that “ugly sites convert best” that I used to hear around 2009 isn’t as relevant today. You’re better off having a nice look theme that focuses on conversions and is mobile friendly.