It’s Not You, It’s Your Design


In today’s episode of Treehouse 51‘s marketing secrets, tips, hacks, and cracks we will be diving into the world of design.

The only way I know how to properly get my point across about design is to take your hand and travel back in time — back to when you were in high school (for some, maybe even further back). We’re looking for that moment in life when you found your first love. Ohhh, yessss whats-her-name. Channel that moment. Hold onto that memory, perhaps grab a chilled glass of wine and play some Aerosmith in the background because this is going to hurt like hell. But in the end, you’ll understand the true value of your design.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Design…

Remember your first crush? Remember how much you wanted their attention, to hold their hand, sneak a kiss? The rush was everything. But to get from point A to Z took a learning curve and some dumb luck. For guys, we struggled with — “How much will my folks embarrass me driving us to the movies?” For girls, “What did it mean, when he just said ‘hey’ instead of hello.” It was everything to us.

Marketing is a lot like having a crush. Leads — those are the crushes. And your website, well that’s you. When I was younger I had a 7 step process to asking a girl out. Yes, 7 steps. I figured if I could work my way through those stages the odds of her saying yes would be in my favor. Keep reading to see what I learned…

1. It Doesn’t Matter How Great Your Product Is — If Your Design Sucks, So Do You.

“But Kirk, you just told me it wasn’t me?! It was my design.”  

This is just something one says to ease the pain. I know this isn’t fun to hear. And I don’t enjoy saying it. But here’s the reality… You’re never going to buy anything from a website that looks like it’s been through a meat grinder.

You may skim it. You may think, “Jeez, if only this site didn’t look like it was going to steal my personal identity, maybe I would buy something.” Guess what? You’re no different from buyers. They think the same way. If your site looks like it was made in the 80’s, has broken links and jacked up images, they will pick up on it and drop you for something better. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

It does NOT matter if you spend a million dollars on outside marketing efforts, if your site looks like crap people will notice and they won’t buy. No matter how much I say this, brands will still think, “It’s fine. We’re getting business.” Don’t be that brand. It’s never fine when businesses pass you by for fear of catching a disease. The cure is simple: You can capture way more business with a modern look and feel.

2. Don’t Complain When You Get An “Almost Kiss”

Getting dumped hurts. Having your heart shattered is painful. But getting that date and having those good vibes only to get an inch away from securing that first kiss — whew man, that is death. That is an almost kiss.

Nothing and I mean nothing, will lose a sale faster than an almost kiss. How does this translate to business? You spend all this money on marketing,  you do all this work on the planning, you bring traffic to your site and the energy fades. They see how dated your brand is, find your baggage aka broken links, can’t connect with the website because you’re hung on on Pepsi Blue and that’s just out of style folks. So they LEAVE — wouldn’t you?

BONUS TIP: For brands with modern designs, they use this as a chance to leverage remarketing. That has pretty high conversions if done right. Brands whom websites are to blame for the bounce — remarketing won’t do much. Traffic will go to your site regardless but if they’re not buying because of a poorly selected image or lazy copy that’s a silly issue that does NOT need to be a problem. And now you have no excuses to not address it.

3. Things You Can Do To Improve Your Design Today

A) Update Your Images

Your website is defined by looks. It is by far the biggest change you can make to your site and for those on a budget, it will have the most impact on your brand.

A terrible cellphone picture can’t compete with a professional photographer or even a stock image. Look at your current design, if it’s filled with dated, low-quality images, update the site with some pictures.

B) Move Your Site To A Faster Server

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An overlooked element of design has to do with site speed. I know, I know, tip one was about looks, now we’re talking about what makes your site click.

Slow sites lower SEO Rankings and increase bounce rates. Sometimes a well-designed website won’t stand a chance if you decided to host your website on a server that costs $10 a month. In most cases, with servers, you get what you pay for. Don’t expect the world when you pay $10 a month.

Servers that are worth your time are ones that are dedicated to only your domain. Often times, $10 plans are called shared plans meaning you and a dozen other websites are on the same server which slows down your site speed.

At some point, you need your site to fly solo.

C)  Rebuild Your Website

The top two tips are really money hacks. The brand owner took what they thought was a cost effective solution and ran with it. When it comes to your digital presence do you really want to cut corners and save a buck?

Brands that are looking to spend $300-500 on a website aren’t serious about their brand. They’re looking for that quick turnaround but not confident to invest in their product the right way. Those sites are poorly manufactured and cluttered with bugs.

A decent (not the best) but decent website budget is around $4,500 — a development company can do a lot with that type of budget. They can’t do everything. And remember you get what you pay for. More funds means more tricks.

Final Thoughts…

Look at your site and give it the old “High School Boy Jump Test”. That is to say, if you were a high school boy and your website a cute female, would she make you jump within 30 seconds? If not, your website needs work.


PS.  When you’re done updating your design I imagine you’ll have questions about content creation, maybe blog writing? Check out this guide where we give away actionable blog creation tips.

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