Ugly is best for Landing Pages


Who knew ugly could covert so beautifully? Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ is a prime example. Butt Paste is another. And Craigslist is most definitely puke-worthy. So, what do a rising teen star, an ass ointment, and a classifieds website have in common? Hmmm…that’s a tough one. We’re talking about people, pages, and brands that convert like crazy. But, why on earth are consumers so attracted to this viral decay?

Last week, I read a great article explaining how ‘ugly’ landing pages often times convert better than ‘beautiful’ landing pages (meaning your typical designer’s design). Two very valid statements. However, marketers and designers continue to duke it out over the color of a button and font type. What they need to do is leave their egos at the door and join forces. Landing pages are dynamic creatures and aren’t meant to be aesthetically pleasing. They are meant to be effective.

Create a Checklist

Don’t bank on using a single ad format. Your initial landing page should not look the same after a few months of being live. That’s how you’ll know if you’re doing a good job optimizing and evolving your offer. Landing page creation is not a linear process. In fact, over time you’ll be able to add, remove, and swap out certain elements based on performance. Whatever you do, do not scrap a page that isn’t initially converting, just adapt it. You can start by creating your own checklist specific to each vertical. As I said before, there really is no exact formula that will guarantee conversions. As you’ll see, a combination of elements that works for one page, might bomb for another. Just be mindful of testing minor components on your page, as opposed to a major remodeling.

Keep It Ugly

  • Alignment (let it slide!)
  • Logos (web 2.0!)
  • Call-to-action button (easy to find!)
  • Above the fold (grab their attention!)
  • Overall Design (slap your designer!)
  • Testimonials (proof is in the numbers!)
  • Before & After photos (real results appeal!)
  • Fonts & Colors (goodbye color palettes!)
  • Headlines & Copy (short vs. long!)

Keep It Pretty

  • Load time (decrease drop-off rates!)
  • Customer support (put a face to your brand!)
  • Security verified logos (inject trust!)
  • Browser Compatibility (test your browsers!)
  • Spelling/Grammar (no typos please!)
  • Terms & Conditions (make sure you have them!)

Hold The Ugly…

Keeping it ugly doesn’t mean make your page a total disaster. It means finding a balance between ugly and functional. Unfortunately, humans are inclined to jump on the bandwagon and beat certain concepts to death if they are seeing results. It’s important not to get carried away with ‘uglifying’ your pages. Certain elements like load time and functionality should always run beautifully. Let’s take a look at the landing pages below to see how to properly balance ugly and functional.

iPad Offers

“Keep It Simple & Visual” – Large headlines, Large imagery, and simple sign-up. They convert!


Insurance Offers

“Keep it Drab” – Functional form, minimal colors, play up savings. They convert!


Dating and Weight Loss Offers

“Keep It Real” – Real people, real testimonials, and really ugly designs. They covert!


What’s Your Landing Page Strategy?

In an industry that thrives on measurable results, quantifiable data, and revenue generation, we need to stop thinking that there’s a clear cut formula for top-performing landing pages. We’ve got to start thinking differently. No more cranking out average designs. No more cheapening of brands. And absolutely, no more thinking that huge profits come overnight. Any successful Internet marketer knows that it takes time and effort to make legitimate and steady monetary gains. The question is, how can you secure your long-term success in an industry that breeds money-hungry hounds? With thousands of people like yourselves running offers, optimizing, and looking to increase conversions, you need to ask yourself what it is you are lacking. Take a look at your overall strategy. Is there even one that exists?

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