Ugly Website: do these sites convert better?


“Scary landings convert better than beautiful ones.”

A specialist in Internet marketing and conversion optimization often has to hear something like this. This is a very primitive idea, but it is not always far from the truth. A typical ugly landing looks like it was 10 years ago that some schoolboy who imagines himself to be a computer genius developed it. But despite all its unattractiveness, incredibly popular projects with an impressive conversion rate sometimes come across among them.

Therefore, before you spend 50% of your budget on creating an advanced and modern design, let me explain how and why ugly landing pages are popular with ordinary users.

The main feature of all highly conversion resources

As you probably already guessed, it will be about value – the only thing that can hold and persuade visitors to convert. Any site that claims to be effective should contain a powerful and vibrant offer in order to interest the buyer.

In connection with this, a logical conclusion suggests itself: the more profitable your offer is for users, the better conversion you will receive, regardless of the design level of your resource.

3 Conversion Factors Affected by Design

Although the design of the resource does not affect the value of your proposal, it definitely affects the outcome. Clarity and relevance landings as well as urgency increase the value proposition in the eyes of the client, while distraction and anxiety which visitors can feel, significantly “hinder” the conversion process.

Thus, the design itself affects only 3 factors:

  1. Clarity- is the essence of your offer clearly conveyed? This includes visual consistency, or “eyeflow,” of pages, images, copywriting, and calls to action.
  2. Distraction- how much does the content of your resource distract from the final goal?
  3. Anxiety- what elements of the page raise doubts among visitors on the way to conversion action?

As for urgency, it can also be reflected in design decisions, but mainly it is transmitted through content. Relevance, in turn, is dictated by the visitors you attract and the way you present your main offer.

Clarity and distraction

So, for the successful conversion of an attractive offer alone, it will not be enough – even an interesting proposal must still be able to submit to the target audience. To some extent, competent copywriting can cope with this task, but the design and layout of the landing page are no less important.

Paradoxical as it may sound, clarity and distractions often go hand in hand. High conversion landing directs the visitor from the most important element to the secondary and so on. Landings with a low conversion level leave users in a “suspended” state, forcing them to independently search for valuable information.

The more distractions you have, the less understanding your visitors have. “Beautiful” landing pages use slider, GIF-animations and bright background images with might and main, but contrary to popular belief, such elements only interfere with the conversion of incoming traffic.

The navigation arrows of most “carousels” do not cause a desire to click on them. Clear, meaningful link headers are much more effective to provoke viewing.

To make your landing page look accessible, it should be as simple as possible. In addition, practice shows that the more complex the design and solutions that you embed on the page, the more often visitors encounter errors when loading it. This is mainly because people use outdated or incompatible versions of browsers.

Obviously, if the landing page is not displayed correctly, then visitors will not be able to get acquainted with the value of your offer, no matter how wonderful it is.

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Posted by I Think An Idea on Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Disgusting landings convert well, because they are very minimalistic and contain extremely few distracting factors. They are clearly structured and reveal the essence of the proposal, located in the header and in the center of the page.

Reduce anxiety

There are a lot of design elements that somehow influence the level of doubt and anxiety of users:

  1. Trust seals
  2. Customer testimonials
  3. Images
  4. General impression

Oddly enough, the factor of overall impression plays the most important role when it comes to “beautiful” or “terrible” landing pages. This is a relatively elusive thing, but in the pursuit of high conversion it must be taken into account. So you walk through the gates late at night? Most likely not, because during such walks you are unlikely to feel safe.

Moreover, your resource may not seem like a hot spot, but if it causes even the slightest concern among visitors, it will not affect the conversion in the best way. Believe it or not, but old-school, antediluvian layouts inspire inexperienced users a lot more trust than modern landing pages with many interactive elements.

It turns out that not only older people are afraid of advanced technology. In each age group there is a significant mass of users who feel anxiety while on the Internet. These are very significant figures: about 35% of people aged 18 to 34 years experience discomfort when visiting online resources.

However, even if the simple, unattractive resources really give users a sense of confidence, in some cases the disgusting design only increases anxiety. A lot in this regard depends on the offer itself and how you present your offer to the audience.Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that any project that exists for a long time and brings good profit, converts incoming traffic very effectively. Especially if its design has not changed for a long period of time.


What to choose – beauty or functionality? Is it worth bothering with a spectacular design when frankly ugly landing pages and sites are not inferior to their more attractive counterparts in terms of conversion rates?

One thing is clear: before implementing an expensive design, think about whether it is necessary. If the site already has good traffic, design decisions can increase your income and attract even more attention to the project. However, even resources not shining with creativity can bring considerable profit due to a clear structure and a clear offer.

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