Yes, being a copywriter I’m slightly biased on this one and, if pushed, would have to say it’s the copy on your website, but that’s not what this post is about.

That’s right, I’m not going to talk about copywriting.

The one thing that makes a website successful is the one thing that’s constantly over looked.

Thousands of websites are missing the point completely – they’re trying to be pretty.

Yes, I agree that an attractive website is going to make people stop and look, but if you want them to find you and buy from you there’s a bit more to it than that.

Function vs looks

Too many businesses want their website’s to look beautiful. Design is at the top of their must-have list, but often at the expense of its functionality.

One of the biggest and most successful websites on the internet is Amazon.

Is it beautiful?


Does it use jaw-droppingly gorgeous design?


Is it easy to use?


And that’s why it’s so successful. People go to Amazon because they can easily find what they need, they can read reviews to help them decide which product to buy and it offers a simple checkout process.

In other words it’s been designed for the user. That’s why functionality that meets the needs of your customers should always come before beautiful design.


Once your website has been launched it’s not the end of the story.

Every aspect of it – from its images, navigation, order forms and graphics – must be tested to make sure you get the best performance.

The smallest changes can make the biggest difference. Just look at Dell, by changing one call to action from “Learn more” to “Help me choose” they increased their sales by a whopping $25 million.

Does testing mean downtime?

As I mentioned above, testing doesn’t have to mean big changes. It could just be tweaking a call to action (as in the Dell example), or changing the colour of your ‘buy’ button neither of which need your website to be off line.

By making little changes and monitoring your analytics, you’ll see what’s working and what’s not so you can keep tweaking until you get the results you want.

What are my top 3 takeaways?

  1. Make function your number one concern
  2. Test everything
  3. Make small changes to minimise downtime