Sophistication Isn’t Everything


Last week I wrote about the importance (or not) of custom web design, particularly for aesthetic reasons. After thinking about visually awful, but fully functional Craigslist, as well as Twitter’s sparse and Blogger-based informational blog, I’m still clearly in the ‘it depends’ camp when it comes to the importantace of sophisticated web design.

(That said, my sites are looking *awesome* – thanks to Eric Hamm.)

Here’s another example of through-the-roof business growth with funky, homemade media. Morris Rosenthal’s video about his book on laptop repair isn’t fancy, but it’s working.


“The video was made in a single take with my FlipCam, no script, and I never experimented with running different videos. If you sit through the video, you’ll see it really is about the book, there’s no “call to action”, promise of enhanced performance, longer life, improved self esteem, or any of that good stuff.”

But in the post he reports that sales are way up. If you check out his blog (linked above) you’ll see that’s not so pretty either.

Content Marketing Sins and How to Avoid Them

So I guess at least when it comes to laptop repair, it really is all about the content.

Image Credit: notionscapital, Flickr

  • I think as long as you give someone useful, relevant information and it is backed up by some form of social proof (such as your reputation) then visuals don’t matter. They are important (especially for that ‘first impression’) but they don’t matter nearly as much as content. I have bought products of $100’s from people who had a few ugly sentences on a static HTML page, just because I knew that they know what they’re talking about, and was certain I would get lots of value through it. I think building that relationship (or the impression of one) is the most important part – something which is easily done through a video incidentally. The point of diminishing returns is too easily reached when designing a website, yet we always seem to get hung up on it; fiddling with those little tidbits that don’t translate into increased value for the visitor. Focus on the value, and your site design won’t really matter that much.