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Bells And Whistles - Does Your Site Really Need Them?

by Tim Whiston


Summary : Current graphics technology is awesome, and I love a good video game. But market testing has proven Websites that go overboard with graphic design and special effects actually convert far fewer sales than sites with clean, attractive layouts that do not interfere with the most important element – the content!

Current graphics technology is awesome, and I love a good video game. But market testing has proven Websites that go overboard with graphic design and special effects actually convert far fewer sales than sites with clean, attractive layouts that do not interfere with the most important element – the content!

I hate it when I come to a site looking for a product or service and I can’t get past the streaming video intro. I also hate it when a fat audio file loads on every page I navigate, or when the flash elements and high-tech animations make it hard to find the order button.

Believe it or not I’m saying this as a guy who used to be a professional Web designer. And guess what?

According to multiple independent studies the average Internet consumer agrees with me!

It’s a fact – sites with too many bells and whistles will actually drive your customers away before they have a chance to soak up your offer or at least subscribe to your opt-in list. As a rule, I don’t even recommend flash as a viable media for direct response marketing.

Look at some of the most productive retail sites in any niche and you’ll find clean, appealing graphics. But these visual creatives will not overshadow the site’s content!

Unless you are marketing a video game, a movie, or sophisticated animation software/design service, it’s the content that generates sales and not the bells and whistles that turn your site into a digital carnival.

Don’t get me wrong, both audio and video elements can have a tremendous impact on your conversions; but not if these features are presented in place of quality sales copy and plenty of solid consumer information.

High-tech design solutions should be applied in a way that compliments your content. Your marketing message should never be upstaged by visual theatrics or dazzling sound effects unless you’re in the business of selling such effects to site owners who don’t know any better.

Regardless of how far technology advances it is highly unlikely the average consumer will ever stop demanding quality content prior to his or her purchase of your product or service. So lead with your message and let the special effects blend in and compliment your content delivery.

Keep the balance between graphic design and strong copy, and your visitors will be far more likely to stick around and give you the chance to close the deal.



Tim Whiston is a professional entrepreneur who enjoys helping other entrepreneurs achieve success. Check out more of his articles on Entrepreneurship or download his Web Design Course.