Layman SpeakObservations

A gorgeous website doesn’t help your business

By July 16, 2015 September 27th, 2017 No Comments



You mean an aesthetically pleasing website doesn’t help my online business?


Coming from a design and photo professional of 15 years, this is like… a defection. A traitorship !!




First, a reference to the situation that inspired this article.

Then, 7 points to consider when building an e-commerce site. Many of which are relevant to a business website too.


The Prelude

I’m in charge of marketing and copywriting (copy) for a retail e-commerce site.

After knowing in depth about the rationale, core value and target audience of the business, I went on to craft out the copy for the About Us and other pages. After the first draft is out, the client feels it’s too long for the sake of the web design.


The Resistance!

It’s perfectly normal for copywriters to edit and shorten the copy.


As long as the essence and story flow are intact.


But now, the client wants also to remove messages that seem duplicated (repetition is usually required to embed a point) and the little rapport building efforts.

Having these edit to make the copy looks nice for the overall design? Hmm.


How Now?

Challenge accepted. I reworked on the copy to almost bare minimal. The main points are still there, but the company core essence is diluted.


Now it feels a bit like many other competitors. Normal but trying hard to connect with the audience.


It’s like reading a movie review as compared to watching the movie itself. You get the idea of the film, but you won’t experience the emotions.


How do you sell value to an emotionally detached prospect?


The next compromising logical step

Is axing the copy to bare minimal a solution?

Only if you want to make the designer happy.


Is it going to help the business to convert traffic to sales?

Probably Not.


To reconcile the marketing and design heads, we come to this solution.

Have a short copy for the About Us with a Read More option that reveals the whole story.


So, why is the copy so important, particularly for online presence (website, landing page, online ads, email etc)?


Point 1 – People buy with emotion

Ever regretted buying something, especially on impulse during sales?

Was the motivation logical or emotional?

Or would you buy from a shop that makes you feel good or one that makes you feel like a 3rd class citizen?


Antonio Damasio, a neuroscience professor, has discovered that we make many decisions based on emotion, not logic.


Even with what seems to be a logical decision, the very point of choice is always based on emotion.


Now, on a website, we have less than 10 seconds to get a prospect’s attention.

After getting drawn in by the image and headline, the one that seals the emotional deal would be the copy. (Yes, there are 3 other elements that can also evoke the right emotion to seal the deal. Special offer, for example)


A copy is where the conversation takes place, especially when your e-commerce site is not as well known as Amazon or Lazada. And you are targeting a niche market.


Talk about your beliefs, your core, your motivation in the Home page or the About Us section.


That’s where your prospects try to understand you a little more while you try to woo them to your side.


Can a fresh design or photo do that?


Don’t get me wrong.


A user-friendly design helps to make the experience better for sure. It even provides a certain level of trust and feel-good factor. It can prevent bad user experience by making it easy to find what they want.


But, can it talk about your core belief and sell your products as well as the copy?


Unfortunately, no.


Emotion sells.


You’ll need the right copy to evoke the right emotion which ultimately influences the decision to buy.



Point 2 – For the sake of SEO.

I’m not an SEO specialist, but we would still want to have keywords tactfully embedded in the content to be picked up by the search engine.

That helps in the ranking. 1st-page ranking which people pay to get there.

Shorter content would mean lesser opportunity for keywords to be included. Squeezing 3-5 keywords into it a single paragraph about your company?


How mechanical is that?


It’s like going on a blind date, and you only have 1 min to talk about yourself. What are you going to say to impress?


Now, compare that to 1 full hour.


Or even 30mins.


Which has a higher chance to proceed further into a meaningful relationship?

Compare the number of keywords in the 2 instances below

From a page long rapport building story (Left) to a 2 paragraph summary (Right).

From a page long rapport building story (Left) to a 2 paragraph summary (Right).

 It’s very obvious which gets picked up faster by the search engine.



Summary, in 7 points.

Where online e-commerce site for niche market is concerned,

1. Spend time crafting out the content to pull in and evoke the right emotion from your prospects.

Otherwise, you will be the same as your competitors who also have pretty websites and standard tacky stock images.


2. With more content, you will be able to place in relatively more keywords and yet doesn’t look like a hard sell.

Help the search engine to help prospects find you.


3. Good design is good for the first impression but don’t let it rule over your sales copy.

The designer should help solve the copy-space problem, never the other way round.

Beautiful web design by itself doesn’t sell your product.


4. Give some thought to the content flow so that the most important information that matters comes first.


5. The attractive photo can lead the eyeballs to an article or support a point. But that’s all.

In this case, a perfect design does not help your business get sales. Just like a photo doesn’t tell a thousand word about your company!

There’s an exception: A great photo of your product (e.g. watch, gadgets, interior design etc.) will sell by itself.


6. Use a strong headline to call out and pull in the intended target audience.


7. Craft copy wisely to reveal the hidden wants, desire and a solid Call-To-Action to an irresistible offer.


Now that you know what may have caused a high bounce rate (not responding or converting) on your website, do you feel it’s time to review the copy or even the design?


Contact us. We can help.

Kok Wai

Author Kok Wai

Kok Wai is a content producing marketer, media trainer at Kelvin Sng Productions, a dad of two and photography contributor to multiple magazines. A sponsor of B60 Charity Run 2017, Kok Wai's goal is to help busy and ambitious business owner focus on running their business even with their limited time and lack of marketing know-how. He especially loves kids, playing the guitar, and exploring with software. You'll find him pondering on the exhilaration of securing two more good clients on a retainer basis. Connect with him on Facebook (thePF)

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