“This green. It bothers me.”
That’s the first thing I thought when I saw his site.
The background was green on both sides with the main content on a white background in the middle.
But there’s only so much a little white can do against this onslaught of “I don’t feel so good…” green.
That was the first problem I noticed when I first looked at his site.
But there was also the fact that the site was using conventions and design ideas that were at least three years old. This was in 2012.
Move forward three more years to 2015.
We’ve worked together on things all along, but it’s been a bit like moving deck chairs on the Titanic.
No amount of makeup was going to make the core of this site look modern.
But here’s the real question you have to be asking yourself if you run a business that has an online presence:
Did his antiquated design layout and the odd green background color cost him sales?
Put in other words:
How Much Does Web Design Matter?
Well, lucky for you, we recently ran a little 12-month experiment on this client’s site. And the results were very, very clear.
We started with the aforementioned site in all its antiquated glory.
Then, we added in some Google AdWords ads to drive targeted traffic into his site.
Normally, you’d expect to at least get some calls or emails from at least a small percentage of the traffic we drove into his site.
However, we got nothing. Crickets. Zero. Zilch. Not a single lead.
So, after trying this out for a month or two, I proposed the cheapest next step: building out a custom landing page that had its own design. This is definitely cheaper than rebuilding the entire site…but the question was, would it work? Or would the visitors to the landing page still click over to the main site only to find themselves confronted by the harsh reality of nausea green?
He gave the go-ahead. I set up the custom landing page. I specifically did not include green in its design.
We sent the AdWords traffic over to this landing page. And then we waited.
And waited some more.
Still no calls, no emails. No leads.
The power of his antiquated design was unfortunately great. It was dissuading visitors from reaching out to contact my client for his services.
At this point, with the writing fully on the wall, I tried to let my client know that I thought his site design was the problem.
Guess what he said?
He thought his site looked good. Was there anything else we could try?
So we changed the wording on the landing page. I adjusted the landing page design a bit.
We created new AdWords ads.
And then we sat back and watched.
This is the beauty of this online marketing stuff. You get actual data. Your theories collide with actual human beings’ actual behavior.
We released the rewritten and tweaked landing page back into the wild.
And guess what happened?
That’s right, once again all the traffic sent onto this landing page evaporated. Not. A. Single. Lead.
THIS is the power of a bad, ugly, antiquated web design.
So, after we finally had enough data that my client couldn’t ignore the obvious any longer, he asked me about redesigning the site.
It was time for us to run the next leg of our little small business online marketing experiment.
From Zero Leads in Ten Months To…?
Here’s something you should definitely be aware of if you’re running a business that uses a website to generate new leads:
Over 50% of your site visitors will be coming from a mobile device of some kind.
That’s right. Well over half of your site’s visitors will be surfing your site from their phone or tablet.
Often, that number climbs up toward 80%.
In my client’s case, his old 2009-vintage website design was built well before the dominance of mobile in the web traffic game.
His site was in no way optimized for mobile, and therefore his mobile visitors landed on his site and basically had a bad time. Unreadable text, too-small nav menu links, and a lot of enforced gesturing if a mobile visitor wanted to pinch the site into something they could actually read.
The point is this: that gross green color that was splashed all over the background of the site? It was only partly to blame…lack of mobile accessibility was probably much more important in terms of how my client’s site was not pulling in new business.
Drum Roll Please…Let’s Unveil the New Site
So after all that, we quickly executed on a new site design.
In just a few weeks, we put together something not too pricey but thoroughly modern and up to date in terms of mobile web standards.
In addition to a totally new design, we updated the site content as well.
Some of the ideas came from my client, some were my own inspiration.
And so, the rubber-meets-the-road moment arrives: did the new site actually bring in any business?
So let’s go back over the numbers.
In the first 323 days of 2015, my client got literally ZERO leads off of his website including a modest monthly AdWords spend.
In the one month from November 20th to December 19th, he has received a huge uptick in the number of inquiries coming into his business. And he has already converted several of these prospects into paying clients.
He’s getting a 3,000% ROI on his investment in the website redesign even just in the first month since we unveiled the new site.
Even with his modest monthly traffic budget, he’s pulling in new business that is helping him invest further in more traffic, better equipment, and new skills.
If you’re currently doing driving traffic to your site and you’re not seeing the kind of conversions you’d like, gather the lesson from the tale I’m telling you and consider tweaking everything about your site, copy, ads, and offer step by step until you find the combo that starts bringing you the results you’re after.
Some businesses get lucky and hit a home run with the very online strategy they implement.
More often, there is a tweaking and honing period. To maximize your eventual success, take the long view. Tweak, tweak, and tweak some more until you’ve dialed in a powerful combination of all the factors that combine to create your entire online presence and how new prospects find you, get to know you, and hopefully convert into client by requesting your products and services.
Too many clients I’ve worked with don’t have the patience of the gentleman whose story I’ve recounted here.
If we had quit 10 months ago after he wasn’t seeing many results from the traffic he was paying for, he’d be missing out on the most explosive growth his business has ever experienced.
View what you do to build your presence, traffic, and conversions online as an investment. Take a longer-term view of the process, be actively involved in the tweaks and tests until you find what works at each level (Traffic Types, Ad Copy, Landing Page Copy, Website Design, Offer, and First Contact with new prospects).
If you’re curious and would like to learn more about this stuff, contact us. I’d love to share your success story here next.